Do You Want to Be Made Whole?
"Him [Jesus Christ] we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect [complete, mature] in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily."1
When Jesus spoke to the man at the pool of Bethesda who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years, he said to him, "Do you want to be made whole [or made well]?"2
Obviously he did—his was an active faith—because Jesus healed him immediately. The key word here is "want." To illustrate this point I often ask people in classes I teach how many want to weigh less than they do? There are always hands raised, so I then ask, "Well why don't you?" Not all, but many of us could weigh much less if we actually wanted to by doing something about it. Many people, who say they want to weigh less, but don't do anything about it, merely wish to weigh less. And a "wish" is never a "want" until I do something about it.
For years I kept physically fit by hiking in the mountains near where I used to live, and by riding my mountain bike several times a week up and down steep hills where I currently live. A couple of years back I hurt my leg which forced me to stop riding my bike. Consequently, I put on a few extra pounds. So how am I wanting to lose those extra pounds? By going to the local gym three times a week and maintaining a reasonable diet. Do I enjoy going to the gym? Not really, but I know that I need to if I am going to meet my goal to weigh less. Fortunately, I'm already half-way to meeting my goal.
The fact is that Jesus never asked anyone, "Do you wish to be made whole or do you wish to get well?" If we are going to be made whole or made well, we have to genuinely want it by doing what we need to do in order to see it happen. For instance, if I want God to heal me of a sickness that is caused by an unresolved resentment, it is imperative that I forgive the person who I feel has hurt me, in order to clear the way for my healing. And if, in any way, I am living out of harmony with God's will, I need to clean up my act if I want to be made whole/well.
As today's Scripture points out, God's goal for each of us is not just physical well-being but also that we are made "perfect [complete, mature] in Christ Jesus." The ideal model is to become like Jesus who "grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men."3 That is, he grew intellectually, physically, and relationally (that is, emotionally).
The reality is that only to the degree that we are made whole will our lifestyle, our actions, our behavior, our attitudes, our motives, and our relationships be wholesome. This is available for all who truly want it, and do their part in helping to make it happen.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for your Word that teaches principles for wholesome and healthy living. Please give me a love for learning what your Word teaches, and help me to live in harmony with all its life-principles. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus name, amen."
1. Colossians 1:28-29 (NKJV).
2. John 5:6 (KJV).
3. Luke 2:52 (NKJV).