You’re Only Human

How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News

By James Jeffery

Author: Kelly Kapic

Publisher: Brazos Press

Year: 2022

It seems that we live in an age of ‘how-to’ books, in which even many Christian books present the ’10 steps to achieve X,’ laying yet another burden on the never-ending list of tasks to do. However, there are few books that leave us praising God for our inadequacies and limitations. If you are looking for such a book, You’re Only Humanis the one. It’s the sort of book you take off your ‘to-read’ list and just start reading.

In You’re Only Human, Kapic offers a refreshing perspective on what it means to be a creature. He argues that only when we recognise ourselves as creatures can we truly flourish, both in our relationship with God and one another. Among the many reasons this book is worth reading, here are just three:

  1. Human Finitude isn’t a Curse

The first liberating truth Kapic highlights is the reality that it’s not sinful we are creatures with limitations. Indeed, Kapicdigs deep into the tendency of our hearts to live in perpetual guilt that we are not doing enough. Similarly, he sheds light on our propensity to experience shame because we cannot meet the expectations of others. Kapic writes:

“Denying our finitude cripples us in ways we don’t realize. It also distorts our view of God and what Christian spirituality should look like” (p. 6).

Indeed, Kapic argues that only when we come to recognise God as Sustainer — and therefore, our creatureliness — can we begin to rest as dependent beings. Contrary to the zeitgeist of our productivity-driven age, our ability to entrust ourselves to God depends upon an honest understanding of what it means to be imago dei (‘image of God’).

  • Identity that isn’t Self-Generated

Second, Kapic recognises the trend — particularly across the Western world — to find our identity by exploring who we are. This, he argues, always leads to confusion, pressure, and the atomisation of society. Instead, he argues that identity can only be understood through the lens of union with Christ. He writes:

“The fact that my identity must be in Christ doesn’t change the fact that I am this person and not that one…when our search for identity in Christ includes a healthy view of creaturely finitude and particularity, then we see something truly beautiful and unique take shape” (p. 73).

This reminder is much needed in our modern psychological age in which self-fulfilment is implicitly the goal of life. Kapic reorients us to Christ as the source of our identity and worth as unique creatures made in the image of God.

  • We Need our Church Community

Kapic points out an obvious but often forgotten truth: we grow as Christians when we live in community with God’s people. He presents the Biblical alternative to individualism, which upholds individual dignity whilst simultaneously affirming our identity as members of the body of Christ. He draws out the practical implications of this reality as it pertains to gathering with God’s people. For starters, he highlights that we cannot grow as Christians in isolation from the people of God. Kapic writes:

“It takes the whole church to be the one body of Christ. Serving and depending on others constitutes a twofold dynamic that builds up the community in faith, hope, and love. The diversity within the church’s unity displays God’s presence and action in this world” (p. 167).

Combatting our tendency to live in isolation, Kapic recognises that Christian maturity cannot happen unless we are invested in the covenant community God has established. In its most basic sense, this means being involved in the life of a healthy local church.

The Bottom Line

You’re Only Humanis a timely reminder that our worth is not determined by our performance, the opinions of others, or our feelings. Instead, liberty can only be experienced when we view ourselves as creatures of the living God. Regardless of how long you have been walking with Christ, I suspect this book will transform how you consider your creatureliness. Kapic communicates the great truth that rest can only be found when we find our security and assurance in Jesus Christ, for only in Him can we finally accept that it’s a good thing we’re only human.