JOURNEYING to the Heart of God

STOP.  Right now.  Right where you are.  Don’t change a thing.  Don’t close a tab on your browser.  Don’t close a book.  Don’t delete a message you’re writing.

LOOK.  Look around you.  Look at what you’re doing.  What you’re writing.  What you’re playing.  What you’re saying.

ASK.  Ask yourself, “What does God think of me, right now, right where I’m at, doing what I’m doing, thinking what I’m thinking?”

ANSWER.  Go on.  Really answer the question.  Not the glib Sunday School answer – the answer that’s deep in your heart.  What does God think of you?

And now,

COMPARE. Did your mind fill with condemnation, judgment and wrath?  Or of friendship, acceptance and love?  You, who were created in the image of God, are God’s workmanship.  You are a new creature in Christ – one accepted, justified, redeemed and forgiven.  He calls you friend, and sees you as chosen, holy and blameless.  You are loved.  And you are adopted – fully, legally, joyfully, with all rights and privileges of His firstborn.

All who call upon Jesus – trusting in His name, His love, His grace and His forgiveness – all are made new.  God does not look upon you with wrath and divine anger, but with love.  He desires to give you life – full, abundant life.

It saddens me that God’s heart, and Jesus’ loving sacrifice on the cross is too often reduced to nothing more than a case of penal substitution – a legal debt to be paid – a wrathful God that must be appeased.  Can I find joy and peace and love in the Son of God standing between me and an angry, wrathful God?

I can’t – nor can I justify such a view when the entirety of scripture and God’s heart is considered.  Certainly such a view offers relief that I’m not somehow damned to eternal torture in hell – but joy?  Love?  Full, abundant life?  Hardly.

This type of god isn’t one I’d want to meet in a dark alley.  He is a dead-end god who is one-dimensional, without hope, un-relational, bi-polar, and no one I’d ever want to spend time with, much less adore and worship.

But this god is not the God of Scripture.

The God of Scripture declares, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”  The God of Scripture chooses and adopts us as beloved daughters and sons, giving us a new identity, lavishing us in love.  God, the Adopter, is relational, hopeful, present-and-future-oriented, and truly One I’m drawn to know better.  After all, now I’m one of His – I’m part of His family.  He has given me all the rights and privileges of the One who is a birth child. This is true joy. This is true hope. This is true healing.

I, you, we are not just free from wrath when we trust in Jesus.  We aren’t just freed from judgment.  We are known, named, called, and welcomed.  We are given hope and salvation through the precious act of adoption.

Perhaps you have only known an angry god from whose wrath you have been freed.  I invite you today to journey to the heart of God who offers you hope and salvation, a future and a full, abundant life as an adopted child of God.

While we can never fully glimpse the heart of God, I think this video comes awfully close: