Heart puzzle, banner image for On Being Whole
Bible Study,  Soul Care

On Being Whole

Do you like the idea of being whole? Do you feel less than whole? Fractured? Wounded? Are there areas of your life where you’ve lost hope of being healed? I’m there with you. I carry some wounds. I’ve lost people and haven’t quite come to terms with the losses. I run up against some weaknesses, especially as an introvert, that seem to keep me from doing and being what I want to do and be.

In July I’ll be publishing a book about Jesus and his Shepherd heart toward his children. More than once I talk about wholeness, that Jesus makes people whole. While I believe that’s true, I never quite defend the term in the book, and it might need some defense, because the Bible never explicit says God makes people whole.

The Bible speaks

I’m going to keep this simple, and I’m going to let the Bible speak for me. And, because I love the Psalms, I’m going to start there. Check out these verses:

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:17-18

He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds. Ps. 147:3

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
     he refreshes my soul.  Ps. 23:1-3

Now let’s jump to Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn… Is. 61:1-2

The term whole isn’t there, but look what is. God wants me to lack nothing. I am never alone or crushed. He binds my wounds, frees me from what holds me, and sets me in the light. He comforts me.

Now the New Testament

Now let’s see what Jesus has to say about his hopes for us:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Mt. 11:28

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

And then Peter, who was so close to Jesus, has his say:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you... And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:6, 7, 10

Being rested. Having a full life. No, the term whole still isn’t there, but haven’t we defined it? If my wounds are healed, and I am rested, and I am living fully restored, surrounded by light in the presence of God’s love and comfort… What more could I ask? This is a life of wholeness, completion, a life without lack.

It has to do with the soul, of course. Jesus worries about the state of my soul first and foremost. But it’s more. Those verses deal with many aspects of life. I love that Jesus sees me as a whole person, and he wants good for all of me.

An ulterior motive

However, our wholeness has a purpose. Jesus healed people and then gave them things to do. Some he told to go see the priests. Some he told to go to their towns and share. Others he told to turn from sin and live in obedience.

Wholeness allows us to do what Jesus needs for us to do. We have purposes in the kingdom of God, and those depend on us being able to do them. For that we need some level of wholeness.

Note I don’t limit this to healing. Jesus doesn’t heal all of our wounds. I’m a type 1 diabetic. I have been for 20+ years. Does that mean God has failed me? Can I be whole? If wholeness has to do with resting in Jesus and being able to live for him, then yes. I am whole.

So wholeness isn’t a life without problems. We all have problems. Wholeness is a life of obedience where Jesus, who loves me, equips me and holds me as I do what he wants me to do. It’s a life of reward and intimacy with Jesus as we work together on the projects he lays out for me.

Green pastures, cool water, restoration

A sweet, pure offering

It’s also a life of surrender. A life of offering. Jesus heals and restores parts of me, and I turn right around and lay my improved self on the altar as an offering. As I live into those improvements, he continues to make me more and more healed and whole.

A woman at my church said it this way a week ago:

[God’s] asking for our whole soul, our whole self. There’s nothing that can replace whole-self devotion to God. The reason you can’t give anything in exchange for your soul is that your soul is immeasurably valuable, more precious than anything you could own. In following Jesus, in giving your whole self to Jesus, in being willing to follow Jesus to death, you are indeed gaining your whole self and more.

Emily Mahoney

Jesus makes me whole because he loves me. He makes me whole so I can be my most useful self in his kingdom. And as I lay myself down as an offering, he gives me what I need to restore me to what he always intended me to be.

Is life ever easy? No. And I will be wounded along the way. But Jesus steps in and restores and draws close and walks with me, so I am always, every step of the way, moving to be whole, complete and without flaw as Jesus’s beloved daughter and friend.

Interested in more about an intimate walk down life’s roads with Jesus? Check out Seen and Invited: Meeting Jesus on the Dusty Roads.

One Comment

  • Karen Russell Hussar

    Loved this article on wholeness. I’ve been on a healing journey for many years and have struggled with this idea for years. This has brought much clarity. Thank you Jill!

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