Does it ever feel like you are not complete?
Today we’re going to talk about our completeness, our wholeness, as children of God, and the fact that this wholeness, this completeness, already exists. We just need to open our hearts to it. The simple fact is you are already complete.
There was something missing
For most of my childhood and into my early adult years, in the back corner of my mind, I felt like there was often something missing in my life, that I wasn’t complete.
When I was in fourth grade, one of the popular kids in my class, Tim, had this really cool red shirt. He got most of the other guys in the class to wear a red shirt on a certain day once a week or so. I felt totally left out because I didn’t have a red shirt. I felt incomplete.
I came home from school one day, after having seen so many of the guys in red shirts, and told my mom that I had to have a red shirt. I don’t remember if I told her why I wanted it or not. But she heard my heart and got me a red shirt.
The next time there was a red shirt day, I had mine on. And for a day or so, and maybe even the next red shirt day, I felt like I was part of things. I felt complete.
But guess what! This feeling did not last.
I couldn’t have articulated it then, but I sort of intuitively realized that a red shirt, or something external, would never make me complete. I didn’t realize at the time. It was really about the way I saw myself, that I saw myself as incomplete on the inside.
Bible to the rescue
When I got serious about my faith in high school, I started to think about the idea that God had made me whole and complete. One of the Bible verses that meant a great deal to me then, and still does is
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: Genesis 1:26 KJV
I thought, “Well, if God is complete and whole, and I am made in God’s image and likeness, then that means I reflect God’s completeness and wholeness.”
It made perfect sense intellectually and spiritually, but I don’t think the truth of it penetrated all at once into my heart.
Over the years I have gotten an increasingly deeper awareness that my spiritual completeness and wholeness come directly from God’s wholeness. But I still had to work through some of these things.
But I still felt incomplete
After I got married and was a full-time stay-at-home dad for about ten years, it was pretty challenging for me to read about men and women, who were the same age as I was at the time, who had started their own businesses or were CEOs of multi-million dollar companies. And here I was changing diapers and taking my kids to play in the park. I felt like such a loser. I felt there was something missing from my life. I did not feel complete.
But the more I prayed about this, the more I realized that I was complete. Instead of comparing what I was doing to someone else, I started to think of my role of being a full-time stay-at-home dad as my current career. I started to find a sense of completeness in me and brought that to what I was doing with my kids. It was a big mindset shift for me.
I had still been thinking, to some degree, that my completeness was dependent on external things or circumstances. I was beginning to see that my wholeness was already intact and complete because I was made in the image and likeness of God.
I wasn’t aspiring to work up to being God’s image and likeness. I already was. I just had to accept it and live out from that truth.
And let me just say, I came to see my role of stay-at-home dad and full-time care giver of three very active children, as the most important and valuable thing I could be doing at the time.
Is there something missing in your life?
It’s all too easy to look at our lives and believe there’s something missing, that we lack something.
It could be a lack of external things, like money, a career, good relationships, or health. But more often it seems to be a lack of internal things like self-confidence, self-worth, faith, or love.
Whenever I start to feel there’s a lack of something in my life, I try to come back to this powerful fact that I am made in the image and likeness of God. God’s completeness is the source of my completeness.
I love this verse from Psalms
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing. Psalm 34:10 NLT
Jesus sees wholeness
There are lots of stories in the Bible that bring out the fact that God gives us the things we need, both the external things like health, food, money, or whatever. But there are also times when God provides the internal things we need to feel complete on a deeper level.
One time a woman, who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years, sneaked up behind Jesus as he was walking through the crowds. She earnestly believed if she touched the hem of his clothes, she would be healed. And that’s exactly what happened.
For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. Mark 5:28, 29, 34 KJV
Now, I’ve quoted the KJV here because it uses the word whole. Other translations use the word healed, or an equivalent.
The Greek word here is sōzō. It means “to save one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health.” The word is often translated whole, healed, or saved.
I think it’s interesting in this healing that the woman is healed physically the moment she touches Jesus’s clothes. But in verse 34 Jesus is implying there’s more to the healing. There’s a mental or spiritual wholeness as well. Even after she’s been healed physically, he tells her to be whole of the plague. He didn’t want any thoughts about the illness to linger in her thinking about how she saw herself.
Jesus saw, and wanted her to see, her wholeness and completeness on a spiritual level, as a child of God.
Here’s another example of Jesus bringing someone’s wholeness to light.
Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you [Greek: sōzō;KJV: made you whole].” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. Mark 10:46-52 NIV
What’s really going on here? Is there a man who, at one point in his life could see, but later became blind, then could see again, when Jesus told him his faith made him whole?
If it was just the blind man’s faith that healed him, why couldn’t he be healed without asking Jesus for help?
Jesus obviously had something to do with this healing. It was what Jesus saw, or rather how Jesus saw this man.
How Jesus saw people
I’ve mentioned this idea before on The Bible Speaks to You Podcast, so you may know where I’m going with this if you’ve been listening for a while.
How did Jesus see this blind man? There are two basic aspects.
Beginning and throughout his ministry, Jesus emphasized that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17 ESV)
As his time on earth was drawing to a close, Jesus told Pilate that his purpose was “to bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37 ESV)
The truth Jesus came to bear witness to was that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. In this kingdom of heaven at hand, there is no sickness or disease or blindness. Everyone is complete and whole.
Jesus saw this so clearly that he brought that heavenly truth to bear on the human circumstances, in this case the woman who touched his clothes and Bartimaeus.
Now, look at the language with Bartimaeus. Jesus said “Your faith has made you whole,” like it’s already happened. And once that fact has been established that it’s already happened, that it’s already true, then he’s healed.
Jesus was bearing witness to what was true about this man and the woman who touched his clothes.
Jesus saw their completeness in heaven
Their wholeness already existed in heaven. Jesus could see that wholeness in heaven and could see that heaven was present right then.
It was like he turned on a light switch that allowed everyone present to see the wholeness of these two people. To everyone else, it appeared as a healing. But from the perspective of what was already true in heaven, nothing changed. Their completeness was just made obvious here on earth.
Now if this is a new way to look at these healings, you may be wondering, James, how can you make those kind of assumptions? The Bible clearly says those folks had problems and Jesus healed them.
Well, let’s look at another example, which has given me some insights as to how Jesus saw and healed people.
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. Luke 13:10-13 ESV
Verb tense makes a difference
This is where an analysis of the text gives us some clues.
In verse 12, Jesus says, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” The Greek verb here “freed” is in the perfect tense, which describes an action which has been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated.
Jesus is actually saying, before she is healed physically that she has already been freed from her disability. He could see her completeness as already a fact. He could see what was true about her in the kingdom of heaven and he brought that to light so everyone there could see it too. The woman was healed.
Her spiritual wholeness, or completeness, already existed in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus basically told her she was already free from the problem. When that light dawned on her, she was healed.
Perspective makes a difference
When we look at things from the perspective of what’s true on earth, we see all sorts of problems, challenges, good and evil warring with each other, and evil sometimes appearing to be winning.
But when we look at things from the perspective of what’s going on in the kingdom of heaven, the view is very different.
We see what Jesus saw. We see wholeness and completeness. We see pure love and peace and the supremacy of good.
You are complete in Christ
So how does all this apply to you and me? How can we bear witness to the truth of our own completeness in the kingdom of heaven and bring that to light here on earth?
Well, there may be lots of ways to approach this, but I like to start with getting a better sense of the nature of Christ and his relationship to God.
Paul says in Colossians,
For in Christ lives all the fullness of God…. So you also are complete through your union with Christ… Colossians 2:9, 10 NLT
Christ represents the fullness of God. All God’s fullness is in Christ. This isn’t just a Bible verse we need to memorize and quote. It’s a deep spiritual truth that we need to ponder over and over, and let it sink down into our hearts.
When you truly embrace this idea that Christ embodies the fullness, the full nature, of God, then, as verse 10 says, “you also are complete through your union with Christ.”
To the degree we are conscious of, and live in relationship with, Christ, we become conscious of our completeness, which is in and from God.
And this awareness has practical implications in our daily lives.
Is there anything incomplete in your life?
Take a moment right now and think of an area in your life where it looks like you lack something or there is incompleteness.
It may be lack of fulfillment in your career. It may be a failing relationship. It could be lack of inspiration for a project you’re working on. It could be a lack of time to do all you need or want to do. Maybe you believe you lack certain talents, ability, and knowledge. Maybe you feel incomplete inside as a person.
If you come up with more than one, just ask God which one to focus on. It could be the most obvious one or the most seemingly insignificant one. Just pick one and ask yourself, “What is true about me and/or this situation in the kingdom of heaven?
Remember Jesus’s promise that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. In heaven, which is here and now, there is no lack or incompleteness – or anything superimposed on you that God didn’t create – in you or anything you’re involved in.
In heaven, you are complete already
Ponder deeply your completeness in heaven.
Let’s say you feel you have an incomplete education and don’t know everything you need to for what you want to do and be in your life. What’s true about you in heaven?
In the kingdom of heaven, because of your relationship to God through Christ, who is the representation of God’s completeness, you have at this very moment, all you need from God.
A prayer of completeness
You can pray a prayer of affirmation and declaration: “As the image an likeness of God, I have every thought and ability I need.” Make a list of everything that’s true about you in the kingdom of heaven. “I have all love, all wisdom, all grace, all strength, from God.” Etc. You get the idea.
This is not just positive or wishful thinking for what you hope is true or the so-called law of attraction that some people talk about. It’s following the example of Jesus bearing witness to what is true in heaven. It’s discerning what is already true in heaven.
This moment, every moment, you are complete in heaven. This completeness cannot be depleted or deflected, dissolved or destroyed. It is as eternal as God.
As you ponder these ideas, I hope you get a fresh new awareness of your completeness, not just in heaven, but bring that completeness to all you do here on earth.
When challenges come
But let’s be honest here. I’m speaking from personal experience. Sometimes I’ll have an epiphany and be conscious of my completeness more than ever before. But then, at some point, something happens and I lose that inspiration.
The book of James gives me a lot of hope in those situations.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 ESV
The challenges and trials we face, actually strengthen us, even if it seems like we aren’t always as steadfast as we could be. Each time we face and meet a challenge, we grow stronger and get a better glimpse of our completeness and that we lack nothing. We have all God’s love to meet every situation. The answer to any and every problem is God’s infinite, unfailing, and always available love.
Start with your completeness
From earth’s perspective, it’s a step by step process. But from the perspective that Jesus looked at things, that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, you are already perfect. You are already complete. And you know it.
One other idea I’ve found helpful: Thanks God right now for your completeness. Thank Him for maintaining your completeness. Even if you don’t feel it, or understand it, or see it, or discern it, it is there. Go ahead, and thank God in advance for revealing it to you.
Instead of trying to work up to your completeness. Start with it. And be open to all God reveals to you.
Photo Credit: Nicole Avagliano on unsplash.com
James Early, the Jesus Mindset Coach, is a Bible teacher, speaker, and podcaster. He conducts Bible workshops online and in person. His focus is on getting back to the original Christianity of Jesus by embracing the mindset of Christ in daily life. Contact him here.
Genesis 1:26 KJV
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:
Psalm 34:10 NLT
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.
Mark 5:28, 29, 34 KJV
28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
Mark 10:46-52 NIV
52 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging.
47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you [Greek: sōzō;KJV: made you whole].” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Matthew 4:17 ESV
17 Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
John 18:37 ESV
37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
Luke 13:10-13 ESV
10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.
12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.”
13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.
Colossians 2:9, 10 NLT
9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.
10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
James 1:2-4 ESV
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.