The Longing to Be Wholehearted
"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." Mark 12:30
Wholehearted devotion, love, and purpose captivate us. As a culture we cling to stories like Romeo and Juliet, Gone with the Wind, Don Quixote, The Count of Monte Cristo and Les Miserables for the wholehearted actions of the characters. These stories evoke within each of us a desire to be equally wholehearted in our own lives. We long to give ourselves completely to something or someone that our lives might have true purpose.
Humanity is captivated by wholeheartedness because we were created for it. God created us with a longing to be wholehearted that he might satisfy that longing with his plans. The Bible is the ultimate story of wholeheartedness. It’s the story of God coming down to us and giving himself completely for us to the point of death. Defeating death, he now desires to use us as wholehearted children to lead the whole world to salvation and freedom that our lives would impact eternity.
You were made to be wholehearted, but oftentimes church is the last place you think of as passionate and wholehearted. So often, we in vocational ministry are scared to lose our volunteers and congregation by asking too much of them, so we never present them with an opportunity to live as passionately as God intends. The truth is that God wants all of you. He’s calling you to a life of wholehearted, passionate surrender everywhere you go. He doesn’t want to meet you just at church, at a gathering of believers, or even in your personal times; he wants you all day every day. God’s calling you to a life of adventure in which the outcome is only known by him. He’s calling you to step out of everyday living to a life of staggering surrender so great that this world will no longer feel like home. The call is worthwhile. His presence is worth the cost. God has a story for the ages prepared just for you—a story with real, eternal impact. But it will cost you everything to live it.
If this truth sounds radical to you, it’s because it is. So many Christians will never live out the fullness of what God planned for them because of how radical it sounds. Fear grips us; we choose the comfortable path with minimal impact. But if we follow this compromise to its end, we will live passionless, mediocre lives in which we are never fully satisfied. We will live in this gap where one moment we worship God and the next we seek satisfaction in sin. We will live vicariously through the stories we hear in movies, books, and television of people who lived wholeheartedly. And at the end of our lives, we will look back and wish we had another chance to live for what really matters.
But you have a choice today. A radical life of wholehearted love for God awaits you. It’s waiting for you right now. It doesn’t mean you have to pack your bags and head out on the mission field. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to lead someone to Jesus today. It could be as simple as opening your heart fully to God and allowing him to fill you with his love to overflowing. Commit your life to him in full surrender today. Respond to his leadership with a continual “yes” in your heart. Give yourself to him completely that your life would be marked by a wholehearted pursuit of the perfect, pleasing and powerful plans of your heavenly Father.
1. Take a minute to meditate on Jesus’s wholehearted pursuit of you.Think about how he lived and died to make a way for relationship with you.
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10
2. Now ask God to reveal to you how he wants you to live wholeheartedly today. He has a plan each day for you; one that will give you joy, passion, and peace on a whole new level you’ve yet to experience. There’s more for you everyday.
3. Ask the Spirit to help you live the life God has shown you. Ask him to fill you with a desire to be obedient and wholehearted in response to God’s love. Ask him to help you be aware of what he’s speaking to you and to walk in full obedience to it. Take time to rest in the presence of God.
You have an enemy that has been lying to you about who you are. Satan tells us we are weak, fearful, and unable to live sold out to anything but comfort. He pinpoints our fears and flaws in attempt to keep us from responding to the call of God. But greater is he that is in you (1 John 4:4)! If God calls you to something, he has and will continue to see you through it. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). The Bible is full of stories of men and women who were weak and felt unprepared but chose to believe God at his word rather than give in to reservation. Whatever lie you’ve been told, trust God and ask him to correct it. Choose to believe God’s word over that which contradicts it. And watch as his plans for you come to wholehearted fulfillment.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
Extended Reading: 1 John 4