Becoming Whole and Holy Becoming Whole and Holy

Posted by Guest Blogger on April 4, 2019 in Faith, Freedom, Guest Blogger, Happiness

If there’s one thing I have learned from following God these past 30 years, it’s this hard-learned truth:

The word relentless describes Him and not me.

In the last few years my family and I have moved cities and left everything known to follow God’s call into the unknown. Now, almost three years, we are pulling up our freshly grown roots to follow Him back to the place we left, into a new season that feels both known and unknown all over again.

When we left our home, family, jobs, and friends, I felt fairly certain of what God was doing and going to do through us. We were off to plant a church in a new city, bring His kingdom to our neighborhood…basically change the world.

While some of those things happened in varying degrees, what I realized through a year of massive transition punctuated by hospital stays, chronic illness, anxiety attacks, and a variety of other disappointments, was that God had a different plan than mine.

He seemed less interested in my “doing” and more interested in my “being transformed” from the inside out.

I’m a person who loves to know the plan. I love to make plans. If you ever come to my house you’ll find that my day planner has a prime spot, spread out over the kitchen counter at all times. This is the hub of our family life — planning central. When I don’t know the plan I often feel anxious or even dig my heels in. But once I know the plan, it’s easy for me to participate and engage with it.

During that first year of our move, while my good plan was coming unraveled, God’s beautiful plan began to come into focus.

And this is it…

“Long before he laid the earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, TO BE MADE WHOLE AND HOLY BY HIS LOVE.” (Ephesians 1:4 – MSG).

Cue light bulb.

I realized that all of the things happening in and around me were not in the way of “the plan”. He was using circumstances to bring me deeper and further than I would have ever chosen to go on my own.

God isn’t committed to bringing about my comfort, my control, or even my happiness. But, He is relentless in making me whole and holy, like his Son, Jesus.

God is extravagantly committed to this plan. He’s unrelenting, unstopping, and unceasing in bringing us into the freedom and life purchased by Jesus.

God is so much more committed than I am or ever could be. 

My stamina runs out quickly. My good intentions give way. And if I’m honest, as much as I want freedom and wholeness in Christ, I also really love comfort, security and being strong. He isn’t satisfied with just fixing our external behaviors and sins; He is always going another layer deeper and further.

If you have ever renovated or restored a home, you know that the end result is going to be beautiful and worth it. But the in between period is messy, uncomfortable, and often looks and feels worse than what you started with.

Our transformation can feel the same, and we need to know that we can trust that God is committed to seeing His plan through to the end.

Hebrews 7:25 says this best when it says of Jesus,

“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him…”

I love that word uttermost.

He’s thorough in His work and His ways. God isn’t interested in just cleaning us up on the outside and making us a little bit better. A cleaned up, nicer version of ourselves isn’t His intention here. He’s after our complete and utter transformation. Wholeheartedly committed to conforming us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).  This is a work of God in us and something we cannot force or manufacture.

Yet, we certainly get to participate by surrendering to His plan.

The glorious truth is that today, even now, you and I can ask and invite Him to do his work, His way.

What we see in the gospel account of Jesus’ life is curious. Everywhere Jesus went He was making people whole and holy. That was His aim.

However, we also see that He did not force this healing on people. Jesus had an odd habit of asking some interesting questions to crippled, blind, hurting people, who with just a glance were obviously not whole.

To a man who had been unable to walk for 38 years he asks, “Do you want to be healed?” (John 5:6) To a blind man he asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51)

This should cause us to sit up a little and take note.

It seems to beg the question — What do I want? Do I want to be made whole and holy?

If we are willing to surrender and trust in God’s glorious renovation of our lives, we have a sure and solid promise of God’s unwavering commitment to stay with us ‘til the end.

“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” (Philippians 1:6 – MSG)

Lori Riley—Loriann Riley

Lori is a wife and mom of three who loves to spend her days in wonder enjoying the outdoors and laughing with friends. She’s originally from Visalia, CA and currently living in Sacramento, CA. Lori has spent over 10 years in public education working as a School Psychologist, but in this season of life is currently a stay-at-home mom. Lori loves the local church and is living on mission with her husband and family to see the Kingdom of God expand through her daily rhythms of life. In her spare time Lori will be found tending her garden or watercoloring painting.

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2 comments... (add a comment)

  1. Monique

    This is a very timely word for me in so many ways… “God is so much more committed than I am.” I am so very thankful for this truth. My desire above all else is Wholeness and Holiness, but my flesh is weak.Thankful that you touched upon different seasons of life and how often times they surprise us, but often produce (if we let them) exactly what is needed. I have a background in Psychology and working in schools, nice to share this connection. I also have family in Sacramento, California. Nice to know there are fellow believers their being the light of Jesus.

  2. Connie

    Lori- Thank you for sharing your journey and what you have learned along the way. May we all be people who have a “yes” in our hearts when God poses the question “Do you want to be made whole and holy?” Thank you for being a living example of what it means to walk in obedience to Jesus, even when the journey doesn’t seem to make sense. He is always worth it. Love you friend!

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