Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Change Agent: Why I'm Optimistic - Pt. 2 "Made Whole"

I’m optimistic because God makes me whole.

“…and heals all your diseases… (Psalm 103:3) 

In Christ, God takes all that is broken, polluted and diluted within me and he makes it whole, pure and fresh again. Because the Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing (Ps. 23:1). In Christ I have everything I need. In Christ I know who I am, who’s I am, where I come from, why I am here and where I am going. This is what it means to be healed by God.

Because God is my all in all I’m set free from needing the approval of this world. No one and nothing can imprison me because the One who is the way, the truth and the life has set me free.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Throughout His Word, God teaches us that in Christ we are holy people, called to live holy lives. Holiness and healing are closely related.  As a matter of fact, healing, as the psalmist uses it in psalm 103, is part of holiness.

Holiness is three dimensional. It’s separateness, purity and wholeness. When we say God is holy, in part, what we are saying is that He is separate from His creation. He is not part of the cosmos as some eastern religious philosophies teach. A tree is not god nor is it part of god. He is present in His creation, but He is wholly other and independent from it.

Likewise, Christ-followers are called to be sanctified or set apart unto God. We live in this world, but we are not of it. We have died to this world and been born afresh into a new realm, the Kingdom of God.

“.."We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life" (Rom. 6:2-4).

Jesus prayed, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:15-17).

"…he (God) has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Col. 1:13). 

While we live on this planet, our citizenship is in Heaven (Phil. 3:20).  Like the Father of our faith Abraham we are sojourners in this world. Our hearts long to be home with God and we look forward to that day. “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).

Holiness is also pureness. To be pure means to be unmixed. If you have pure gold, that means it’s one-hundred-percent gold.  Nothing else is mixed with it. The Apostle John teaches us that “God is (pure) light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).  Light here is a metaphor for righteousness or holiness.  God is purely righteous and holy.  He is not, nor can he be tainted by corruption or anything that falls even one-micro-ounce short of pure righteousness.

“When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone” (James 1:13).

God can be in the presence of unrighteous, as Jesus often was when he put on flesh and dwelt among us during his earthly ministry (John 1:14) or when his Spirit, who lives within the heart of very Chris-follower, convicts our wandering hearts and calls us to wake up and repent. But God never engages in sin.  His very nature is pure righteousness. Our understanding of what righteousness is—flows from Him.

Likewise, Christ-followers are called to be in the world but not of it. We are called to let our light shine in dark places. In deed if we hide our light and never interact with people who do not know Christ, or who are trapped in dark circumstances, we’re useless to the Kingdom of God. At the very same time, as we walk in dark places our Lord commands us to remain pure in our devotion to Him.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Mat. 5:14-16).

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness” (2 Cor. 6:14)?

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (Eph. 5:8).

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life” “Phil. 2:14-16).

Finally, holiness is wholeness.  God is completely whole. He lacks nothing. He does not need us or anything we offer. Because He lacks nothing, he is incorruptible . He cannot be tempted by anything because he lacks nothing (James 1:13).

This facet of holiness goes to the heart of what the psalmist means when he say that God heals all our diseases (Ps. 103:3).  While this healing absolutely includes physical healing, its meaning is gargantuanly larger in scope. In Christ we are made whole. We’re forgiven (1 John 1:9), restored (Ps. 23:3), redeemed (Titus 2:14) and regenerated (John 3:5-8, Titus 3:5-6). Because the Lord is our shepherd, we lack nothing (Ps. 23:1). As the Apostle Paul put it, “…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Cor. 5:17, NLT) God’s love fills all of my cracks. His grace supplies all of my needs. (Phil. 4:13 & 19). I am whole in Christ.

Of course, this side of heaven, my old sin nature will never stop waging war against my Spirit, (Gal. 5:17) but as a child of God in Christ, I have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). His Spirit lives in me (Rom. 5:5, Eph. 1:13). And by that same Spirit living in me I have divine power to utterly demolish and defeat whatever comes against me!

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5).

I’m optimistic because in Christ, God who made me whole will never let me go!

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