Being Made Whole
“It’s impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature” – Peter Scazzero
For centuries, mankind has tried to create an improved version of ourselves. There seems to be a widespread assumption that in order to find ultimate fulfillment in life, we must find a way to become “better.” Self-help books are flying off the shelves like never before. Researchers have discovered that today’s younger generations are far more spiritually curious than their forefathers, although much less interested in organized religion. New churches are springing up every week, promising innovative methods to help their members find health and happiness. And for some, the promise of change is founded on the development of their human potential.
Despite all of this momentum toward self-improvement, the prevalence of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness in American culture has reached an all-time high. In fact, a study conducted by US News and World Report found the United States to be “one of the most depressed countries in the world.” So, what’s the disconnect? Are all the churches and preachers and teachers and books and podcasts all getting it wrong? Or could there possibly be an underlying flaw in the way we as civilized, intelligent human beings believe “wholeness” is found?
Only Jesus Can Make Us Whole
The Bible teaches that, in the words of the apostle Paul, a new life is the result of “belonging” to Jesus Christ.
”This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT).
Many, many Christians, let alone numerous churches and doctrinal perspectives, have fallen prey to the false belief that when a person makes the decision to believe in Jesus, God then does all the work from that point forward. All we have to do is simply say “yes” to Jesus and everything about us becomes new and different! And He assures us health, abundance, and happiness in our lives.
Kevin, a longtime friend and mentor, once told me: “Following Jesus is simple; it’s just not easy.” In other words, he was telling his young, newly saved friend that to follow Jesus was not complicated. But it would be a challenging journey that would span a lifetime.
My pastor and virtual mentor, Kyle Idleman, wrote in his book not a fan, “There is no way to follow Jesus without Him interfering in your life. Following Jesus will cost you something. Following Jesus always costs you something.”
Why is it that way? Well, I’ve learned that in order to follow Jesus – to be His disciple and to experience authentic life change – there is one huge obstacle I must get past. ME. It took me many years to accept the fact that I don’t possess the solution to my problems. I am my problem! And since becoming aware of this painful yet freeing reality, my life has discovered a genuine faith and love and grace and hope and purpose that I never knew were possible.
Couldn’t God have chosen to just deliver us from the hurts of our past, and save us from the pain of having to work through them? Absolutely He could have. And in some people’s lives He probably has. But I don’t believe that’s His typical MO. His greater desire is to use all of the experiences of our life to progressively mold us into the character and nature of Jesus. This transformation requires a process. A journey. Turning from the brokenness of life. Turning toward wholeness in Christ.
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