What Does Spiritual Wholeness Look Like?

African man wearing backpack standing on forest trailWhen I consider what it might look like to walk whole, images of some of the great men and women of the ages come to mind. Men like William Wilberforce, who were willing to endure great opposition in order to fulfill their purpose.  Wilberforce had few allies when he began his quest to abolish the slave trade in England. His burden for slaves burned in his soul, his health nearly destroyed by it. His passion would not be silenced until many years later, when he succeeded in his mission, even his one-time enemies couldn’t help but commend his dedication.

I also think of heroes of the faith like Joseph, who, though betrayed and abused by his closest friends and family, had the courage to forgive, choose restoration and let the healing in.

I think of the apostle Paul, who was able to endure unimaginable hardship, and yet was able to deal with his thoughts and emotions in a healthy way;  a man who, though he owned nothing of this world, had a knowledge of being significant, accepted, loved and secure.

There is, however, no greater example of what walking whole looks like than that of our Lord Jesus Christ. He modeled for us how to agree with our true identity. He was not deterred in the least when the influential men of his day not only denied his true identity, but mocked and abused him for claiming to be who He is. He remained emotionally and mentally sound and stable, even when He resisted temptation to the point of sweating drops of blood.

As I sit down to write this blog entry, it reminds me of when my husband set out to build a deck onto our house. He dug down deep into the ground, pouring the footings that would one day give stability and a strong foundation to the deck above it. If we are to be successful in growing in our ability to walk whole, we need realistic expectations; what does that look like and what does it NOT look like.

Just as our deck needed a strong foundation, so do our lives. In a spiritual sense, we “pour the footings” of wholeness on the day that we are born again.  It is in taking this step onto the solid Rock that we begin the process of walking whole; and it is a process. If we have the perception that salvation is supposed to be some instant portal into spiritual maturity and stability, we will likely find ourselves disillusioned with God.

If my husband had considered the building of our deck complete after laying the footings, we would have had a hard landing every time we stepped out the patio door. Just as he needed to use the tools he had to give us a complete deck, comprising all its parts, we as believers need to use all the tools God has given us at salvation to cooperate with Him in the restoration process. Just as my husband’s understanding of the need to build on the foundation saved us many crash landings, our understanding of the need to take up the tools God has given us will save us from unnecessary spiritual crash landings. Luke 6:47-48 says, “As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.”

God has given every believer a well-stocked toolbox to equip us to walk whole. So, in practical terms, what do these spiritual “tools” look like? You’ve probably heard about some of these. The challenge I set before you today is to look on these tools in a new way today; consider how you might put them into use in a more intentional way than you may have in the past.  I hope you will enjoy reading more about tools for restoring wholeness explored on my blog, including: Identity in Christ, the Armor of God, Restoring trust, Spiritual gifts, Purpose, Dealing effectively with our emotions, Knowing God, and Principles of prayer.

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