Recently I was at one of my son’s baseball games. It was the 12U Colorado state championship and the kids were focused, excited, and passionate. Everyone was mentally, physically, and emotionally engaged. What a blessing as a father to watch such skilled and disciplined twelve year olds play their hearts out.
Interesting word choice—play their hearts out. Can you play your heart out? Is that just a word from our cultural vernacular or does it actually have meaning? We often say such things, “he is all heart (which usually means very little talent),” “it was heart felt,” “his heart was all in it.” We admire passionate people.
The word I prefer is wholehearted. Wholehearted is my favorite word these days. I’m preparing messages for a men’s retreat called “Wholeheart Advance.” Wholehearted describes what Jesus was trying to communicate to the religious legalists of his day when he was asked the ultimate question,
“Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. (Mark 12:28~30)
Jesus was saying that the days of mindless ritualistic religion were done. It was over. It was and now is, a new day, a new dispensation, a new kind of love. The time has now come for people to follow God with wholehearted love, a radical passionate devotion for intimacy.
Wholehearted is the message to the church today.
Wholehearted love for Jesus is what it means to be a disciple. Loyal devoted love is what frees us from the boredom of freeze-dried platitudes, cold hearts, and legalized religion. We cannot fully function as humans until we experience the passion of giving our whole heart to Jesus.
We bring God the greatest glory when we are wholehearted. Saint Irenaeus said it best, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” We are fully alive when we are wholehearted. We soar to our human potential when our hearts are fully in love with Jesus. The church needs a fresh glimpse of wholehearted love.
On the road,