The Passionate God Created us with a Need to be Wholehearted

Our wholehearted God loves and gives Himself to us with all His heart. He designed us to be like Him. We were created with a longing to be wholehearted and passionate. If we have nothing to die for, then we have nothing to live for. We cannot function properly until we passionately give our heart to God. We long to love God without defilement or compromise. We soar to the heights of our human potential only when we fully love God.

Jesus prophesied that God would have a people who love Him with all of their strength.

37 Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart…” (Mt. 22:37)

God created us for love. He will empower us to receive and then give His affections back to Him which overflows for others. Our greatest reward is to feel and receive love, and then to overflow in love for others. We carry this reward within our hearts. Our desire for God is His gift to us.

God measures our success not by how big our ministry is, but by how big our heart is. In other words, it is how much we have grown in the anointing to receive and return God’s love.

THE CHRISTIAN PARADIGM OF GOD

The Christian paradigm of God is a God with deep feelings of love. The revelation of God as a Father was a new idea in religious history (see William Barclay’s comments on Heb. 4). To the Jewish tradition, the primary idea of God, emphasized the fact that He was holy in the sense of being totally separate from sin. They did not think of a holy God as sharing human experience.

They thought of Him as being incapable of sharing it just because He was God. He was in every sense above sharing the human dilemma by the very definition of being God.

The Greek philosophers saw God as emotionally distant from humans. The most prominent Greek thinkers were the Stoics. They saw the main attribute of God as being apatheia, by which they meant God’s inability to feel anything. They reasoned that if God felt something then He would be influenced by what He felt, thus He could possibly be controlled by it. The stoics argued that those who felt sorrow or joy were vulnerable to being hurt and thus controlled by those they had feelings for. Therefore, the one who brought joy or pain must, at least for that moment, be greater than the one they impacted. If you feel for someone then you might possibly be hurt by them. Therefore, in that limited sense they control us.

The stoic believed that no person was able to affect God’s emotions for that would make that person greater than God for that moment. They reasoned that by the definition of who God is, He can’t feel emotions or He would be controlled. They believed in a God completely beyond all feeling. To them God, could not be sad or glad by what humans did. He was completely indifferent in order to be the God who controls all.

A well respected Greek philosopher named Plutarch, preached that it was blasphemous to think of God as lowering Himself to be concerned and impacted by the affairs of this lower world.

Another Greek school was called the Epicureans. They believed that the gods lived in eternal joy and bliss. They lived in the intermediate world or in the spaces between the worlds. Thus, the gods were not aware of any events that occurred in the world below. They were totally detached from humans and their affairs as they lived in great happiness and glory.

The Jews had a paradigm of a holy God driven by religious rules; the Stoics, had a paradigm of feelingless gods; the Epicureans, believed in completely detached gods. Into that context of the history of religious thought came the Christian paradigm of a God who deliberately embraced every human experience. This was an incredible new idea of a God who had deliberately undergone every human experience, and deliberately subjected Himself to pain and weakness.

It was inconceivable to the religious mindset of the first century that a holy God wrapped Himself in the garments of humanity and then experienced God’s wrath on a cross.

It is difficult to fully realize how dramatic the Christian paradigm of God is. For century after century the human race had been deceived with the idea of the untouchable God. Jesus came as the One who had gone through everything that we go through.

Two significant implications that Jesus emphasized was a God who felt passionate desire for His people, and who had the quality of sympathetic understanding or mercy.

THE RAVISHED HEART OF GOD

9 You have ravished My heart, My sister, My spouse; you have ravished My heart (Song 4:9).

Religion has taught the Church that we are not to concern ourselves with experiencing God’s pleasure for us. Some have reduced the message of holiness to gritting one’s teeth to try harder. The revelation of God’s heart being ravished equips us for 100-fold obedience.

A working definition of the ravished heart of God is: To overcome with emotions of joy or delight. Unusually attractive, pleasing or striking (Webster’s 9th New Collegiate Dictionary).
A summary of the Hebrew definition and its English equivalent of the word “ravished” is to overwhelm with emotions of delight because of one who is unusually beautiful or pleasing.

God describes His heart as overcome with emotions of delight for His people. He feels delight even toward immature believers. Many find difficulty in grasping the reality of a passionate God.
10 I am my Beloved’s, and His desire is toward me. (Song 7:10)

Salvation is more than a legal exchange effecting our position before God. Salvation includes the exchange of deep affections between our heart and God’s. An intellectual understanding of the legal aspects alone is not enough. Why? Because we will never have more passion for God than we understand He has for us. As God communicates His longing and affections for us, then we respond in a similar way. As John said, We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).




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