The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
We are fractured people: Our bodies are fractured from our souls, our souls from our spirit. Our bodies grow old and sick, our souls lose hope and suffer depression whilst our spirits, hidden from view most of the time, are deeply yearning for relationship with their creator and the person they truly are.
Of course, for much of the time, this brokenness is invisible, both to ourselves and to those around. For a start, we develop coping mechanisms: medicines and cosmetics for the body, busy-ness, CBT and more medicines for our soul, Eastern mysticism, new-age, religion for our spirit. It makes the underlying malaise feels normal, to be expected, just part of life.
But Paul, writing to his friends in Rome, points to something profound. It isn’t ‘part of life’ it’s a form of death. Life isn’t supposed to be a constant round of patching up or covering over or enduring the brokenness.
In the Bible, righteousness means ‘the state that is acceptable to God’ and peace (shalom) means wholeness. Brokenness is not a state that God intended for us nor one in which He is content to leave us. Something much better has been won for us through Jesus. In His life on earth He experienced first-hand the full extent of that brokenness. Through His death and resurrection, He broke brokenness and killed death. ‘By his stripes, we are healed’
When the love of God comes in to our life, healing comes. Increasingly we are knit back together; body, soul and spirit. Then the life-giving, strengthening joy of God can flow once more. Through our souls, through our bodies and cause our spirit to soar.