In the previous post, we stated that living in wholeness is something we must learn—especially if a difficult and/or abusive past has been experienced. We also identified the source of our wholeness as Jesus, citing Scripture that indicates him as the One who frees captives and binds up the brokenhearted. In a later post, we will discuss how these truths are fulfilled through the gospel. For today, we will look at 4 qualities of wholeness as demonstrated by those Jesus healed.
A Sound Mind
In 2 Timothy 1:7, the Apostle Paul wrote these words to his brother in Christ: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” However, the KJV renders self-control as “a sound mind.” When I researched this a bit closer, I found that the Greek word, sophronismos, is from the word sophroneo, meaning “to be temperate or moderate, to be rational and have understanding and good judgment” (www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1979/01/word-power). In short, to think rightly.
But of this one point, let’s be certain- right thinking is based on God’s truth and is under the direction of the Holy Spirit. This is at the very heart of a sound mind.* When we focus on the eternal hope found in Christ and meditate on his Word, we are filled with wisdom from above. James describes this wisdom as “pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17).
Surely, a mind filled with such wisdom is sound.**
When Jesus healed the demoniac in Mark 5, one marker of his healing was that he was “clothed, sitting, and in his right mind.” (Mark 5:15). No more roaming, crying, or cutting himself. Rather, he was calm and rational, thinking rightly, and completely at ease. He had been given a sound mind—and this was not of himself, but through Christ.
Filled With Joy in the Lord
Another aspect of wholeness is joy. But let’s first clarify that joy is not merely the emotion of happiness, but is, in fact, something much deeper. Just as a sound mind results from a mind set on Christ and his Word, so joy is given by the Spirit when we set our minds on the work and promises of God. John Piper put it this way, “Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world” (www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-do-you-define-joy). I think that’s a fantastic definition of joy!
Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. His unchanging character is the reason we can have joy, even in the midst of trials and suffering. And because his promises are sure, we can have joy in both what he is doing now and what he will do in the future. His character and promises are the basis for rejoicing in the Lord always, as commanded by Paul through the Holy Spirit in Philippians 4:4 and 1 Thessalonians 5:16.
When reading the historical accounts of Jesus’ healings in the gospels, we notice a theme emerge: those who were healed, and those who witnessed the healing, went away rejoicing. This was certainly the case with the paralytic (Mark 3:11), the woman with the disabling spirit (Luke 13:17) and the thankful leper (Luke 17:15-16). And yet, we know the miracles performed by Christ were meant to authenticate what he can do in the spiritual realm. While the recipients of the miracles just mentioned were overcome with joy at their physical healing, how much more will we be overcome by joy when we contemplate what Christ has done in our own hearts?
Confidence in God’s Love
In our brokenness, we often believe that we are, at best, alone, and at worst, unlovable. Wholeness says the opposite. Wholeness says: You are loved by God and in Christ you are forgiven. You are a wanted child of the Most High God! This is the truth that heals our hearts, the anchor that steadies us in the storms of doubt and insecurity. The authoritative Word of God clearly tells us we can place our trust in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. One of my favorite verses, Ephesians 1:7, says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” In short, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the source of our confidence in God’s love and forgiveness.
Happily, Scripture is replete with the message of God’s complete and perfect love for us. So great is His love that He promises to not only save those who believe in His Son, but to finish the good work He has started in us. To the Church at Philippi, Paul wrote, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6). God’s grace to us is immeasurable, and He leaves nothing undone. We can have confidence in the completeness of our salvation because we have a completely sufficient Savior.
Consider the woman at the well. After coming face to face with Jesus, this woman who had had 5 husbands (and was living with a man who was not her husband) left her water jar to tell the entire town that she had just met the Christ. In Jesus, she had found living water, a wellspring of eternal life. Rather than remain in her identity as an outcast, she could confidently live in her new identity as a forgiven child of God.
Another indicator of wholeness is peace. But peace also covers a lot of ground! For instance, we desire peace with God, peace with others, and peace within ourselves. Let’s quickly define each. To have peace with God is to have a reconciled relationship with Him; a relationship that is restored to friendly terms. To have peace with others is to live in harmony and fellowship, filled with feelings of goodwill. And to have peace within is to possess the rest and tranquility, which results from trusting in the promises of God.
The peace mentioned above that we all so strongly desire is not something that we can conjure up within ourselves. True peace is the work of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Throughout Scripture, we see that peace is applied to each person of the Godhead. In Philippians 4:7 and 9, God the Father is called “the God of peace.” Likewise, the prophet Isaiah identified one of the names of Jesus as “the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6). Galatians 5:22 tells us that peace is a fruit produced by the Holy Spirit. Only through our triune God we can have peace with Him, peace with others, and peace within.
Jesus spent a lot of time interacting with the most despised people in first century Jewish culture- tax collectors. Yet, he chose to love them, to bring them into his kingdom. When Matthew was called by Jesus to follow him, he immediately left his tax booth. According to Luke 5:29, he then made Jesus a great feast at his home. Mathew, this sinful, unrighteous man, was brought into peaceful fellowship with Jesus and the other disciples. Likewise, after encountering Jesus, Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, hosted Jesus in his home. He then declared he would restore fourfold what he had stolen and was called a son of Abraham. There’s no doubt in my mind that Matthew and Zacchaeus intimately knew the peace of God.
In concluding this post on wholeness, it’s my great desire we see this one thing:
Wholeness is not something we can develop from within- it is the work of Christ in us. He alone gives us a sound mind, joy in the Lord, confidence in the Father’s love, and peace. As the series continues, we will look at how the Gospel of Christ accomplishes wholeness within us, as well as practical ways to live this out.
*If you have a few moments, I encourage you to check out the short article “What Does the Bible Mean When it Refers to a Sound Mind?” at https://www.gotquestions.org/sound-mind.html. This is a great website, and this article touched on some wonderful points regarding this topic!
**For those who have experienced trauma and difficult life situations, it’s common to develop a troubled or anxious mind. Such minds often think several steps ahead, accounting for any possible negative happenings. These minds quickly perceive threats to one’s safety and are often on “high alert.” As a counselor, I see the tremendous benefit of processing trauma and learning skills to re-train the brain’s sympathetic nervous system. I truly believe God uses skilled clinicians to bring healing to the mind and body! If you would like to engage in the counseling process, I strongly encourage you to seek out a biblical counselor who combines evidenced based trauma therapy practices with biblical truths.