It’s hard to tell what’s really going on in people’s lives. For instance, at church on Sunday mornings, people smile, greet friends, and tend to look their best. But what if we could see the truth of their interior lives manifested in their physical bodies? We would discover that many of our fellow churchgoers are walking around crippled by pain. We’d know instantly if something was wrong and would do whatever we could to help them.
That’s probably how Jesus perceived people as He sought to minister to them. Although their physical ailments were more obvious, He also discerned the spiritual darkness and emotional hurts that left them fractured within. And while Christ always intervened to heal them physically, His main purpose was to save them from sin and give abundant life (John 10:10).
I wonder how many believers today could honestly say they enjoy that great gift. Sure, they’ve been saved and are going to heaven, but life seems more like a dry desert than an overflowing, vibrant stream. What causes a believer to live this way? It’s certainly not what Christ intends for His followers.
Fragmentation is the result of sin.
Brokenness began when sin entered the world through Adam and Eve. It created an immediate separation between mankind and God, produced discord between people, and resulted in illness and death. Because of our fallen environment, we suffer the emotional damage of painful childhoods, broken relationships, and devastating circumstances. However, sometimes we suffer not because of what has happened to us but as a result of our own poor choices. If we allow sin in our lives, we’ll experience internal conflict and division.
The Lord's desire is to put the pieces back together, and seal them with His love and grace.
Whatever the cause of our fragmentation, it negatively affects every area of our lives—job performance, relationships, health, thought patterns, attitudes, and emotions. The tragedy of this situation is that we’ll never have the abundant life Christ promised if we settle for something less. How the Lord must grieve over the brokenness sin causes. His desire is to heal the fractured areas, put the pieces back together, and seal them with His love and grace.
Jesus came to make us whole.
As we consider what it means to be complete, we must first understand that the Lord created people as trichotomous or “three-part” beings composed of spirit, soul, and body. The spirit enables us to relate to and interact with God. The soul is our innermost being that consists of the mind, will, and emotions. And the body is the physical part of us. When Jesus ministered to people, He dealt with all three aspects of their humanity.
The Spirit. In His encounter with Nicodemus, the Lord explained that the only way to enter the kingdom of heaven was to be born of the Spirit (John 3:5-6). Since we are all born spiritually dead in our trespasses, the only way to be made alive is to receive Christ’s forgiveness (Eph. 2:1-5). Until that need is met, we will never be whole. However, once we are born of the Spirit, He comes to live within us forever. As we yield to His leadership and let Him fill us, the Holy Spirit produces fruit in our character (Gal. 5:22-23).
The Soul. Jesus also focused on the internal issues of the soul. In John 4, the Samaritan woman’s failed marriages and current extramarital affair revealed her deep emotional hurt. Christ offered her living water, the only thing that could truly satisfy and spring up into eternal life (vv. 10, 14). Believing in Him resulted not only in forgiveness but also in her transformation. After she encountered Jesus, her testimony caused many others in that city to believe in Him (v. 39). Christ desires the same for His followers today—He wants to transform us into people who can grow spiritually and become emotionally healthy.
Jesus began restoring us to wholeness with His first coming and, when He comes again, will complete the good work He began.
Do you feel alone, isolated, or out of place even when you’re with others? Do you see yourself as unloved or think no one really cares about you? Are you struggling with feelings of inadequacy or inferiority? If you answered yes to any of these questions, know that you don’t have to live in bondage. Jesus wants to heal your soul so you can live abundantly, fulfilling His plan for your life.
Just consider what He’s already done for you. First of all, He has made you a citizen of His kingdom, a member of God’s family, and a part of His body, the church. No matter what you’ve experienced, you belong to the Lord forever, and He delights in you. Moreover, He sent His Spirit to live within you as your comforter and helper. He walks beside you every moment, giving you the ability and confidence to accomplish whatever He requires of you.
The Body. Ever since Adam and Eve’s disobedience, mankind has suffered with infirmity, sickness, and death. No one can avoid it. Perhaps the question that so often haunts us is why the sick aren’t healed. After all, wherever Christ went, He ministered to physical needs. The Gospels are filled with stories of the blind gaining their sight, the lame walking, and the sick being made well.
The truth is, we don’t always know what causes sickness or why the Lord doesn’t cure every ailment. Although Jesus did restore many people to health, He didn’t heal everyone in Israel. His purpose was to give people a taste of His future kingdom, when He will come to rule on earth as King of Kings. Constant good health isn’t promised in this life. Only after we receive our glorified bodies will we be made completely whole—spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
Christ will accomplish His work.
Jesus began restoring us to wholeness with His first coming and, when He comes again, will complete the good work He began. At the moment of salvation, He gives life to our spirits. Then He works to restore our souls through the process of sanctification, whereby He progressively transforms us into His image. The final stage will be glorification, when we are given new bodies that never age, suffer illness, or die (Phil. 3:20-21).
However, until that day arrives, we will continue to deal with brokenness. But we have hope because the Lord never gives up on sanctifying us. His goal is that our spirit, soul, and body “be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23). And as He works in our lives, we discover the boundless joy that comes from being children of the King.
Adapted from the sermon “The Whole Person” by Charles F. Stanley