This year I celebrated my 70th birthday. Next year I will celebrate my spiritual birthday – fifty years of being a disciple of Christ. There have been ebbs and flows, highs and lows, but my desire remains – to live wholehearted for my whole life.
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to son-ship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved…we wait for it patiently.” Rom. 8:22 – 25
We wait eagerly. We wait patiently. Wholeheartedly.
Expectancy is a part of everyone’s life; so is waiting. It requires a wholehearted focus to balance what appear to be competing forces within us over the course of a lifetime.
How do we keep our faith strong? We have a solid down payment – a guarantee from God Himself.
God “sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” 2 Cor. 1:22 We have “tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit.” Heb. 6:4
“Foretaste” – a small anticipatory sample of something that will happen in the future to a greater degree. We possess a divine download. We already possess a spirit of adoption (sonship) but are keenly aware of a longing for the fullness of our union with God.
Caleb: A Wholehearted Follower
We know Caleb and Joshua famously as the two spies who had faith, versus the ten spies who did not. There are six passages of scripture that refer to God’s pleasure in wholehearted faith. Num. 14: 24; 32: 11-12; Deut. 1: 36; Josh. 14: 8, 9 and 14.
The reference in Num. 32:11-12 makes a direct comparison. There are those who did NOT follow in a wholehearted fashion and those that DID. Wholehearted is defined as being devoted, completely sincere and committed.
The call is not to perfection but to wholeheartedness.
“But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, (internal dimension) I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” (external dimension) Numbers 14:24
There were the actual giants in the Promised Land + the giants within the people, that made them shrink back. I’ve been tumbled from the inside before. I know how it goes down. That’s why we must be resilient and set ourselves to be wholehearted.
God desires that we become like Him, within ourselves. Conquering the giants within, healing the wounds, breaking habits, transformation of character, renewing the mind, etc…
God desires that we become like Him in our expression of Christ to the world around us, our assignments. Your job, being a parent, ministry labors, prayer, etc…
Caleb waited eagerly and patiently didn’t he? Forty years of keeping the promise alive in his heart while he watched a generation die off.
What happens around me must not control what happens within me.
A Long Obedience
One of my favorites books that has inspired me to be wholehearted for a lifetime, is A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson. A few years ago I wrote a blog based on this book. (Read HERE)
A quote: “We are people who spend our lives apprenticed to our master, Jesus Christ. We are in a growing-learning relationship, always. A disciple is a learner, but not in the academic setting of a schoolroom, rather at the work site of a craftsman. We do not acquire information about God but skills in faith.”
Wholehearted for your whole life is not about perfection. Let’s remove the pressure. God’s expectation:
Grow and learn to the best of your ability. Be My apprentice on the work site. Even in your brokenness, your whole heart is all I ask.