When Jesus says, “Your faith has made you whole,” what does he mean? Among most Christians today, there are two competing interpretations.
On the one hand are those who emphasize the power of one’s faith. The more faith you have, the more likely you are to receive a miracle. But Hebrews 11, the “Hall of Faith,” makes it clear that some who have tremendous faith still suffer and die.
On the other hand are those who put the emphasis on the object of one’s faith. It’s not about the amount of faith you have, it’s all about the One in whom you place it. While I agree with this theology and find the former to be spiritually harmful, I still don’t think either train of thought catches the full meaning of what Jesus was getting at.
If faith is an acceptance of something divine and supernatural that lies beyond what is merely physical, then it stands to reason that growing our faith is a way of expanding our perception and understanding of who God is and what God is doing. And I would argue that there is a strong correlation between our faith and our wholeness.
We tend to compartmentalize life far too much, as though the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and perhaps relational realms of life are disconnected from one another. But I’m a whole person, and so are you. Any kind of healing we might need will always be holistic in nature. It will involve the whole person.
My faith, in and of itself, doesn’t have supernatural power the way God does. So it isn’t my faith that performs any kind of healing. But it is my faith that opens me up to perceive and understand the healing work of God in my life.
I think Jesus was saying, in effect, Your willingness to exercise faith and open yourself up to what God is doing in your life is going to contribute significantly to your healing in a holistic way and to your being restored to the whole YOU that God created and desires for you to be.
I could be wrong. I wrestle with these kinds of mysteries all the time and rarely feel full certainty. But I can testify, personally, that as my faith in who God is and what God can do grows, I get healthier. I feel whole. I experience peace. I become more of the me that God intended me to be.
If I’m right, then this week’s sermon idea (see below) might just have some powerful insight for everyone.
PS – There are only a few days left to register for The Church Mental Health Summit, which is free and all online and will definitely make a difference in any church’s ability to minister to people’s mental health needs.
This Week’s Big Sermon Idea
The Connection Between Your Faith and Your Wholeness
Based on Luke 17:11-19
We are all invited to be made whole from the inside out by rejecting the lie that we are unacceptable and receiving the truth that God freely invites us to be completely changed. When we come out of isolation and approach God in a spirit of openness and faith, we’ll experience deep healing and wholeness. But God forces no one’s eyes open. It’s up to you.
Creative Sermon Series Ideas from MinistryPass
My favorite resource for sermon series and message ideas, complete series graphics, and video bumpers (but NOT full notes) to get you started is MinistryPass! Each week, I’ll feature a series I would recommend checking out for the upcoming season of the church year. This week:
From the Description:
The Gospel of Luke can be summed up in one phrase: It’s all about Jesus, and Jesus is for everyone. Throughout the book of Luke, Jesus is constantly reaching out to people pushed aside by the society of that time. Women, a thief, gentiles, fishermen, and “sinners”—they’re all here, and they’re all seen. This 12-week series offers a snapshot of Luke, touching on some of the major topics in the gospel. This series can be taken as is, or expanded by individual churches to cover more of the book of Luke. Each week comes with a text reference, big idea, as well as message information and illustrations to spark ideas and creativity in your sermon planning process.
The Church Mental Health Summit
October 10, 2022 (Online)
This one-day virtual event equipping the church to support mental health in their communities has perhaps never been more relevant than now. The church is, too often, ill-equipped to handle the concerns people share about their own struggles with mental health issues. We need to remove the stigma and invite people to bring their hardest struggles to Christ and his body for help.
A Conference for Church Communications Leaders
October 18-19, 2022 (Charlotte, NC)
The Church Communicator Conference is specially designed for the accidental church communicator, the one that wears many hats and may have stumbled upon this role without a plan. Lead pastors and executive pastors will also benefit from this conference as it will introduce principles and concepts that will assist with creating a unified communication strategy that aligns with the vision and mission of the church.
Exiles in Babylon: Theology in the Raw Conference
March 23-25, 2022 (Boise, ID)
To be a Christian is to be an exile. The Bible has a name for the country we’ve been exiled to: Babylon. As exiles living in Babylon, we need to think biblically, Christianly, indeed exilically—not partisanly—through cultural and political issues. This year, our topics include: The Future of the Church, Disability and the Church, Multiethnic Perspectives of American Christianity, a conversational debate on the Problem of Evil, and a pre-conference symposium on Women in Leadership!
Links and Resources for Pastors and Church Leaders
Books, articles, and blog posts I’ve been reading and other helpful resources along the way…
- ARTICLE: 3 Startling Preaching Blunders Too Many Preachers Commit
By Brandon Kelley (Preach and Lead)
- BOOK: The Everyday Contemplative: The Way of Prayerful Living
By L. Rogers Owens
- ARTICLE: 4 Reasons Self-Awareness is Essential for Leaders
By Jenni Catron (The 4Sight Group)
- ANNOUNCEMENT: Will Smith’s ‘Emancipation’ Inspired by True Story of ‘Whipped Peter,’ Escaped Slave With Scarred Back
By Nicola Menzie (Faithfully Magazine)
- ARTICLE: How to Help Your Members Remember God’s Word
By Rick Warren (Pastors.com)
- ARTICLE: Every Second Counts: The Power of the Pause in Preaching and Life
By Rev. Eric L. Miller (Backstory Preaching)
- ARTICLE: 4 Below-The-Radar Disciplines That Can Make Or Break Your Leadership
By Scott Cochrane
- ARTICLE: Have You Lost Faith in Your Ability to Make a Difference?
By Genessa Newberry (Help One Now)
- NEWS: Music Legend Loretta Lynn, Dead at 90, Clung to Jesus as Her ‘Friend’
By Stephanie Martin (Church Leaders)
Miss an Issue?
Read The Reflectionary Archives!
About the Cover Art: JESUS MAFA. Healing of the ten lepers, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.