What Does it Mean to be Wholehearted?
Have you ever been to a ball game and looked around at all the screaming fans and thought, “Man, they sure are overloaded at work.”?
No, when you see an excited fan, you know they only have one thing on their mind: their overwhelming desire for their team to win! They aren’t thinking about their garage that needs to be cleaned, or something they forgot to do at work, or how the kids are doing at their friends house. They are one hundred percent locked in on the game and cheering on their team.
As a Christian, this is the kind of wholehearted devotion we should put on display for the world to see (not as an actor in a play, but showcasing a changed life because it is our identity). If we aren’t excited about Christ, what message are we communicating to others?
I am struck with how often the Apostle Paul refers to us being “in Christ,” with the emphasis that being “in Christ” is our new identity. For example, in 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Paul refers to what it means to be “in Christ” over 80 times in his letters.
The person we were apart from Christ has died, and we are one with Christ and controlled by new desires that please the Lord. But how does that happen? I have been a Christian for quite some time, and I can definitively say that my desires have not always been solely to please the Lord. So how do our desires change?
It begins by new life in Christ.
At the point of salvation, we exchange our filthy rags (sin) for the righteousness of Christ. Positionally we are made new.
We are increasingly sanctified through the reading of the Word and the work of the Holy Spirit.
If we aren’t in the Word on a regular basis (more than a couple of times a week), it will be very difficult for new nature to be fed or flourish. Apart from the Word, the weeds of our sin nature will begin to take over. We have to abide “in Christ” through consistent, regular time in the Word and in prayer to allow the Holy Spirit to transform our words, thoughts and desires.
Our love for the Lord is evident.
As with the opening ballgame example, when we are excited about something, it shows! As we grow in our understanding of what Christ has done for us, it is hard to keep it to ourselves.
In Deuteronomy 6 where Moses has just finished outlining the Ten Commandments, he gives the greatest commandment in verse 5: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
Is there anything in life that doesn’t involve our heart, soul or might? No, this is all encompassing. This affects every area of our lives and often requires us to do or say things that will make no sense to the world. But we do it for an audience of one: Jesus Christ.
What has your heart? Is it your family, friends, your hobbies, career, or even your ministry? Maybe it’s a passion for art, travel, music, entertainment, or food. It’s easy to find ourselves living with half-hearted devotion to God.
Let us pray with the Psalmist, “Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.” Ps. 119:34