The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted …
Luke 4:18 – Jesus
I must confess that when I read these words over the years the part about “healing the brokenhearted” did not really mean much to me. I suppose I thought it meant that Jesus would comfort people who were somehow sad, maybe due to a broken relationship, or something like that. I thought it probably was not talking about me. I was wrong about that.
No words of Jesus are wasted. Jesus NEVER wastes words. Therefore, in something as important as Jesus’ declaration about what his mission from God was and is all about, we should really pay attention to every phrase.
We have been taught many times in church and through books – I know I was – that when we are BORN AGAIN our spirits are made perfect and complete, and nothing can affect them. Our only problem now, we are told, is that we need the renewal of our minds so that we can be aware of who we really are now. It is believed that if our minds, which are part of our soul actually – if our minds are renewed then we will be as complete and perfect as we can be in this life. Some would suggest that all our problems would most likely go away also.
While I am a great fan of renewing the mind, I do not believe that this renewing alone does everything that our hearts and lives require for full restoration of what was lost at the Fall of Man. Neither does the born-again experience alone solve all our spiritual problems, as important as it is.
If we understand that the HEART refers to both the spirit and soul of man, then we will also understand that when Jesus offers healing to the brokenhearted He is most definitely proclaiming the need for the healing of our spirits as well.
Proverbs 18:14 says “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”
There is such a thing as a “wounded spirit” and apparently it leads to a lot of pain – not only for the person who has it, but also for those who are close to that person or get around him (or her).
If your spirit is wounded, you will find it difficult or impossible to rejoice. This is difficult, because God actually commands us to rejoice! That command might seem very unreasonable indeed to a person with a wounded spirit. I know it seemed unreasonable to me for many years, in spite of all my earnestness in the things of God.
You can do many things in God and know many things and still have a wounded spirit. This will affect your ability to receive God’s love and rejoice in God or even in God’s Creation. I’m sure many of us today have wounded spirits and need to ask God for a healing of our spirits. The Good News is that this is possible because Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. If Jesus said it, we can believe it. He wants to do it. We just need to call out in all honesty to Him for this aspect of salvation to work in our inner lives. It will result in a huge transformation.
If it is indeed possible to be a born again Christian and yet have a wounded or damaged spirit, then this makes it clear why Paul said he prayed in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 as follows:
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This implies that the spirit of a Christian – and the Thessalonians were certainly Christians – the spirit of a Christian might NOT be preserved blameless at all times. If it was automatically going to happen in every case, why pray for it? Perhaps the healing and sanctification and preservation of our spirits is something we ought to attend to after all! Maybe we can’t just assume that the only thing we need to do now is “renew our minds” for example through “meditating on the Word”. Maybe there is something along the lines of healing for our broken hearts that we need to receive as a gift from the Lord.
If our hearts are broken, at least in part, how can we love the Lord our God with ALL our hearts? The wholehearted response God is looking for just won’t be forthcoming from someone who has a broken heart.
How Does a Broken Spirit or Broken Heart Happen?
Proverbs 15:13 says:
“A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”
I used to hate this Scripture, because I felt it somehow revealed me as defective. I did not naturally smile much. Nowadays I do. But it was not always so. If I had been willing to face up to things earlier, my life may have gone better. I thank God for the life I have had, but as with most of us, things might have gone better. I might have been a far more uplifting person to others had I taken hold of more of God’s provision earlier on.
The Bible reveals that by SORROW of the HEART the spirit is broken. Is your heart SORROWFUL? Are you sad? This isn’t God’s best for you. In fact, it is quite literally dangerous to your spiritual health.
God wants to give us the Oil of Joy for mourning – see Isaiah 61. This is actually a continuation of the Luke 4 quote that Jesus referred to from the Book of Isaiah. The Spirit of the Lord is given:
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. The way we are going to receive this “oil of joy” is by receiving the full gospel or full good news message of God’s restoration for us – spirit, soul, body and in our relationships. There are a few additional key elements to this which are all related. These are, in my understanding
SPIRITUAL BEAUTY – SANCTIFICATION and HOLINESS
COMFORT – often through receiving forgiveness and learning to forgive others.
God commands thanksgiving, praise and sanctification through His Spirit. He does this not for His own sake only, but also for OUR sake. These things are vital to our spiritual wellbeing in God’s world.
If nothing else, you can begin as a discipline to give thanks to God for every detail of your life and circumstances as often as you can. This the will of God for you and me according to 1 Thessalonians 5:18. And it lays an excellent foundation for our own personal happiness. In addition to this, we can certainly trust the promise of Jesus that He was sent to heal the broken hearted. This means you and me, in our innermost being! Whoever CALLS upon the name of the Lord will be saved in this respect also.
I’m sure this subject is much bigger than what I have put in this article. But this is a start. I am not keen to go beyond was is written in the Scripture on this subject. No doubt there are large tomes you can read on the subject of the wounded spirit and all this. Let us at least begin with the Scriptural basics, and take hold of the promise of God for the healing of our spirits. This is something for us to receive, to rejoice in, and thank God for. I believe it can make the difference in many, many aspects of our lives – even down to our ability to also receive physical healing from the Lord.
God bless you.