As we have entered the Lenten season, i have been doing a bit of reading on the whole idea of fasting. One book i am reading is called The Rewards of Fasting by Mike Bickle. In it he writes:

The Bridegroom message is a call to active intimacy with God. Paul taught that the Spirit searches the deep things of God, so that He might reveal them to us (1 Cor. 2:10-12). God has invited each of us to experience the deep things of His heart. He has opened Himself up for us to understand and feel His emotions, desires and affections. This is foundational to what Paul prayed for the Church when he asked that we would be able to comprehend the depth of God’s love (Eph. 3:18-19). It is as we discover the depths of God’s affection, little by little, combined with the grace of fasting, that we begin to touch the internal rewards promised to us by Jesus (Matt. 6:17-18). We become exhilarated on the inside in the wake of this reality.

What is the depth of His love? What are Jesus’ emotions? First, let’s consider that He is filled with tender mercy. In other words, He is gentle with us in our weakness. He is tender with us in our spiritual immaturity. Some people confuse immaturity with rebellion. In their immaturity, they imagine God is angry with them as if they were rebellious. It is true that God is angry at rebellion, but He has a heart of tenderness toward sincere believers who, though immature and weak, seek to obey Him. He enjoys us even in our weakness. This is a profound truth we must grasp. During the time of his youth, David said that God delivered him because He delighted in him (Ps. 18:19). David was not a spiritually mature mand when he wrote Psalm 18. In the same Psalm, he proclaimed that God’s gentleness made him great (Ps. 18:35). David did not fear that God would treat him harshly because of his weaknesses. God actually enjoys us in our weakness; He feels pleasure over us while we are growing, not just after we’ve matured.

Second, Jesus’ heart is filled with gladness. He has a happy heart, a heart happier than any man in history. God anointed Jesus with the oil of gladness more than any of His companions or His fellow human beings (Heb. 1:9). Traditionally, many people have viewed God as being mostly mad or mostly sad when He relates to them. The truth confounds us – Jesus is mostly glad when He interacts with sincere believers. Even in our weakness we can approach Him and be confident that He is glad to relate to us.

Third, Jesus’ emotions are filled with fiery affections for us. Jesus feels about us the same way the Father feels about Him (John 15:9). This is stunning! The second Person of the Trinity feels about broken human beings the same way that the first Person of the Trinity feels about Him. The depth of the Father’s love for Jesus is unfathomable, and we share in the very same love. It seems unthinkable, but the Bible tells us it is true.

Fourth, Jesus the Bridegroom is zealous. Love is not passive and the God of affection is an all-consuming fire (Deut. 4:24). His jealousy for us is as demanding as the grave, a most powerful flame, the very flame of God (Song. 8:6-7). With fierce zeal He consumes all that hinders love in us, everything that gets in the way. He will not have only a portion of our hearts. He wants the entirety of our hearts and He will continue to jealously pursue every aspect of our lives until we are fully His. Out of His zeal come His judgments, which destroy all that opposes love and all that injures His Church (Prov. 6:34; Ezek. 38:18-19; Zech. 1:14, 8:2; Rev. 19:2). The Lord is zealous for His people with great zeal and great fervor (Zech. 8:1-2).

I have been gripped by this short passage. It is hard to learn that God is not dissappointed with me. He delights in me, even in my weakness and immaturity. His love for me consumes everything He does. Jesus feels about me the same way the Father feels about Him. This means I (and you) are His favorite one.

I pray that God will continue to pursue me with fiery jealousy and zealous love towards me. I pray that I will be able to grasp the depth of these emotions Jesus has for me. I pray the same for you, that you might experience the fullness of the intimacy He wants to enjoy with you. Not that you or i view God as angry, but that we see His gentleness in our weakness and immaturity.

Amen.

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