The Desire of Our Hearts

 

I love Ephesians. It is such a lovely book. It’s got everything in there it seems. From our identity in Christ, to glorification, to the big picture view, to spiritual warfare and family rules. But my favorite part is Ephesians 5:31-32,

‘”For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mysteryβ€”but I am talking about Christ and the church.’

My dad and I were in our Greek class last week reading through Ephesians 1 and our instructor was talking about the Koine Greek phrase that we translate as “in Chirst.” The phrase and the context and the word for ‘in’ denotes oneness like a vessel being poured into. That something enters into something else and the two are one. And actually it is very much like a husband and wife being one. This is the type of oneness Paul was trying to illustrate.

That’s really intimate.

And it’s supposed to be. This is what the Spirit is writing through Paul. The intimacy he designed when he created sex and marriage was to be a shadow of something even more intimate, our spiritual intimacy and our spiritual marriage to Christ. Physical marriage and physical sex is the shadow, it is less “real” than spiritual marriage and spiritual intercourse. The consummation of our lives to Jesus in the marriage of the Lamb to the church is the fulfillment of every moment our hearts have ever cried out for love, in loneliness, in sadness and pain. We will be one with him. We were made for it.

This intimacy should drive us deeper to Jesus here and now

This isn’t a one sided love relationship we are in with the Son of God. It’s just not. No relationship, no love relationship functions that way. That’s just a reality of relationship dynamics. On the one hand we have the Son of God who is literally enthralled by us (Psalm 45:11), thinks about you and me and us so much that the number of thoughts he has of us is more than the number of grains of sand on the friggin seashore (Psalm 139:17-18), died for us, and on the other we have our own mixed up heart who for the most part flat doesn’t get that Jesus actually wants to be our object of desire (Psalm 37:4) as we are his desire (Psalm 17:8, Song of Songs 2:16, 6:3).

This is a little scary.

I get that. I remember my sophomore year of high school reading John Eldredge’s Journey of Desire and seeing his passion for me for the fire time, seeing how God really feels about me. It was scary at first! I kinda hid, literally, under my blankets. But deep down there was this, oh how shall I say it, little bit of excitement like, Is this real? Can I do that? I think I want it! And honestly, from that point on it was like swooning in his arms. It was like falling into this deep Lover’s embrace that I would fall asleep in and really never wake up again. I would forever, in the core of my heart’s desires, be numb to the idea that I have to get what I truly want in this world or in someone outside of Jesus. I knew from that moment forward that what was the desire of the deepest parts of my heart, to be known and to know a Beloved forever, for that One to be the One that my life revolves around, my rising and setting sun and my rising and setting moon, the stars in my sky, the lovely music in my ear, the breeze that kisses my cheeks (maybe I’m getting poetic here), that there was only One and his name was Jesus. He was going to be everything that I have ever cried out for and desired and wanted. From the screaming passions of my teenage years to the maturity and immaturity I still have today. He was the desire of my heart. He was it. He is it. He will be it. And one day I will marry him. Together, with the rest of his bride. That’s the desire of my heart. To be one with him, forever and ever, amen.

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44 thoughts on “The Desire of Our Hearts

  1. This is really interesting. I like that the “in” in “in Christ” denotes “oneness – like a vessel being poured into”… So very beautiful, powerful and yeah – kinda “scary”! But at the same time, something I want to experience ALL the time.
    Great post Joel!

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    1. Hey thanks friend πŸ™‚ i love the oneness thought of “in Christ,” I love it. I need to change my paradigm of thinking when I say those words to that to thought.

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      1. Dinner… ehh… Well, boiled potatoes with brown gravy, seasonal vegetables (boiled, baked or steamed) and meatballs. Yes, we do love our meatballs πŸ˜‰
        What’s a typical American dinner??

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      2. Typical American dinner? Just like any night of the week? Well, for a typical American dinner we usually start off with an antispasti of a plate of select cheese and cured meats. Some brie and also like a warm spinach artichoke dip with pita chips is served. Bruschetta, mini pizzas as well are typical and a fruit plate. Wine is usually served at this course. After that we have the main course. A pretty typical entrΓ©e, just at home any old night of the week in an american household, something like a 12oz ribeye with a South African lobster tail (we call it surf and turf). Mashed potatoes and grilled veggies on the side. Dessert is typically homemade gelato made day of consuming (2 day old gelato you toss out for quality control) with a shot of espresso, or chocolate cake or something else sweet.

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  2. This is a great post, thank you for sharing. Oneness with Him, so amazing, I want it always! John Eldridge is a wonderful author, I’ve learned so much from his writings. God bless you Joel

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  3. Love this! So fun that I had prayed just before reading it and asked for something to kind of conclude our small group’s study of Ephesians. It was a perfect thought to end on. It really puts 6:10-17 into perspective when we think of that kind of oneness and of the “full armor of God” being His own armor. Not only fighting under His colors, but doing battle with the weapons and defense He supplies out of His power. Really, really good stuff.

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    1. Oh wow, that’s awesome! Actually your small groups study popped into my mind for some reason when I was writing about Ephesians. Not sure why, but I guess this might have been it! That’s so neat! And yes, I love your application to spiritual warfare and putting on the full armor of God!

      How’s your small group going?

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      1. Well, He must have put it in your mind for a reason. It is a great insight. Thanks for asking! It’s going really well. We’ve had pretty low participation lately, but having a couple of the older generation has been awesome. We’ll take a break next week for Thanksgiving, then the plan is to start studying Nehemiah. How is your group going?

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      2. Good! So glad to hear it. Ours…well I think it’s going to fizzle out in the next month. Participation is low, basically nonexistent. It’s too bad. There’s no cohesion between group members, no one desires to cultivate relationship or intimacy with others in the Spirit, and now it’s just excuses as to why they aren’t coming. I think we are going to do a final Christmas party and call it. Sad.

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      3. That is stinky. 😦 Sometimes participation is low at this time of year with kids in school, sports, illness, etc. I will pray for wisdom for you on what to do. It can be difficult to get people coming regularly, but it is worth it so long as God ordains it. If He has other plans, though, well… πŸ˜‰

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      4. I think it’s at the other plans stage with God right now. I think we did what he wanted with our friends who did attend and he had some seeds to plant, but I think we’re wrapping up operations on this one. As long as God is good with it, I’m OK πŸ™‚

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      5. Nehemiah is a wonderful book. How are you doing it? Just reading through and discussing? I think the issue is I’m looking for deep conversation and study of the Word and spiritual relationship and I think most everyone else is looking for fellowship, primarily at the parent level. We’re just in it for different things. And so it makes sense why it didn’t work out. But we were up front when we started the group, this is a Bible study. It’s not a support group. Love having older believers in the mix too!!

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      6. Ah… should’ve read both comments first. Yes, I have seen a whole lot of that — just “fellowship” (which I actually think is a misused “churchy” term, as Biblical fellowship always includes worship and cultivating each person’s relationship with God). But yes… our group was exactly there for years. But eventually it changed. Actually, I became frustrated and just started opening my Bible and talking about it. Eventually another family joined and my friend and I would just have our own little Biblical discussion until eventually other people joined in! Now it is pretty awesome most of the time, but we have had random times lately where only one person has shown up!
        We are actually kind of field-testing a curriculum I found at Lifeway called “Explore the Bible.” They have quarterly studies and shorter, 6- to 8- week studies. We’re trying out one of the shorter ones to see how it is. Before that, we had some studies my co-leader downloaded from somewhere that were put out by Dallas Theological Seminary. Each one had a book of the Bible broken into units with questions following the passage of Scripture and two pages of commentary following that. They were great as a springboard for discussion!

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      7. That’s good to know about DTS and Lifeway. My wife and I are kicking around the idea of starting a new one in the spring, one that’s not just families based, that way we can bring in some young believers and fringe people we have in our lives…I think that will have a much better attendance.so I might steal this one in Jan!

        Ugh, most of the other groups I’ve been in are just that, ‘fellowship’ which agreed, is misused because it was really just social gatherings of families who also just so happened to be Christians as well. I’m not a fan of that…it’s just not for me. Maybe I’m too addicted to delving deep into the word and developing deep personal spiritual friendships. A lot of people don’t want that. They want a fellow person who they will let deeper into their lives over an extended period of time through continued social engagement. It is what it is, I’m not critizing per se, I’m just in it for different reasons I think.

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      8. No, I don’t think it’s just you. In my journey, I have met more people who just want community and friends than growing closer to the Lord together. In some ways, a lot of American churches are currently worshiping community rather than God, I think! But there are people out there who really want to go deep. I have at least three or four good friends who, when we get together, the talk always comes around to Jesus or the Word. It’s a huge blessing. As you said, I am trying really hard not to be critical of the other outlook, but it can be frustrating.

        If you do decide to revamp your small group, I actually have the DTS studies we’ve done in email. There are actually 2 our group hasn’t gone through: one on John just because of the size and printing cost (either my co-leader or I pay for the printing ourselves) and one that is sort of a basics of the faith, which just doesn’t fit our current group’s needs. I will send them to you.

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      9. Ooh, thank you for sending them!! Yes, that would be great. We’ll look them over and if we do the reboot next year, we might just use those.

        I know, I feel the same way. I am trying to not be critical, with gritted teeth lol, but it’s difficult. I get SO much joy out of sharing Jesus with others in the Spirit. I just got off the phone with a dear brother of mine, a close friend for almost 15 years since sophomore year high school, and we spent the whole catching up andd it all revolved around Jesus and everything he is doing in our lives. It’s like I can help myself talking about him and I like surrounding myself with people who feel the same way, that they can’t help themselves here and no matter what we are doing or discussing, at some point we are just going to slide away from everything and end up adoring Jesus in conversation. I love that. But I guess it’s the exception, not the rule, and I seriously try not to judge, but it cam be difficult not to sometimes! Oh, silly Laodicea!! What are we going to do with you?!

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      10. So I just finished Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose and I had to talk to you about it. I am just so disappointed in it! I should’ve known better, because Eco is an atheist. The last two chapters are just awash of imagery of Christianity succumbing to the fire of what he would consider “logic” and atheism ruling. Such a shame! It was a good murder mystery in a fantastic setting, but I felt gross reading the last pages. Pity!

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      11. I can’t find our copy. I read it years and years ago, but I read it before I was a Christian. I may give it a pass with that in mind. I just hate to sink so much time in something like that. It’s ironic, though, that the few atheists I have engaged in conversation (myself included before I met the Lord) seem to believe themselves to be logical, yet they defy the rules of logic constantly. It’s very unfortunate. I just finished reading I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman Geisler. It’s very interesting. I had my son go through it last year in 9th grade, and I never finished the last few chapters.

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      12. That’s exact how I feel! I can’t stand spending all that time into reading something and then it just really be bad at the end. It’s kinda a waste.

        I agree, atheism takes a lot of faith. I need to check that book out. Have you heard of the brain surgeon (I think) who had the near death experience kayaking and saw Heaven during it, and he even said it was medically impossible for his brain to be processing dreams given the state he was in at the time.

        You were an atheist beforehand? I don’t know a ton of people who walked out of atheism in life with God other than a few famous ones…CS Lewis being one I think, right?

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      13. I haven’t heard of the brain surgeon, but that sounds pretty interesting! I I have been sorely disappointed in some books, but usually they’re telling within the first couple of chapters. It’s a huge bummer when you spend all that time on one that disappoints in the end.
        Yes, I spent a good portion of my life as an atheist, particularly teen and early 20s. I’m not even sure if it counts before then — haha! My story is pretty crazy, although I have heard much, much crazier ones. I’ll give you the nickel version sometime, though probably not publicly right for reasons of respect for others. πŸ™‚ Yes, C. S. Lewis was an atheist, though he had some contact with Christianity in his youth. G. K. Chesterton was also, and Josh McDowell (who has a pretty fabulous testimony). It definitely gives me a different perspective because I know very, very well what I was saved from. Not interested in that again.

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      14. See this one wasn’t like that. It was set in such a beautiful setting that I couldn’t help continue reading. But, there were some warning signs there. Like when the head investigator monk got into theological arguments with some of the other monks, making commentary that was, well, a little off base. I got uneasy about it then, but I just enjoyed the story and the mystery and wanted to see it through. I didn’t realize it would take the nosedive that it did!!

        Wow, you are an ex-atheist, That is wild to me. Yes, I’d love to hear your story at some point if you’d ever like to share it. I have a number of atheist people in my circles and they are just dead cold to the Gospel. I am scrambling for some bit of hope with some of them. It’s sad to my heart.

        I didn’t know Josh McDowell was as well. I need to listen to his testimony. Hey, a little off base, but have you heard Jim Caviezel’s testimony (the actor who played Jesus in The Passion? ). If you have 40 minutes to have something running in the background, check it out. A friend and fellow believer sent it to me a couple years ago and I was just floored by it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ejaw0F8-sY

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      15. I hear you on the book. I have had a couple like that, too. It is a tremendous disappointment. 😦
        I will tell you my story soon! Maybe later today — right now I’m about to walk half the canines we have in our house so I can take the other half to the park where we’re meeting some friends later. I will listen to the actor’s testimony later on, too — sounds amazing! Something to look forward to.

        Have a blessed day!

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      16. Looking forward to hearing it!! I need to walk my dogs – they’ve been needing one the past couple days and I just haven’t had the time to do so in the mornings before work. Let me know what you think about the testimony if you get the chance to listen to it! Enjoy your walk and time with friends!

        Hope you have a blessed day!!

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      17. Thanks — we had an excellent discussion. πŸ™‚ I used to be very good at walking my dogs when they were pups, but this year has been difficult with the new school schedules. But ours are older now and my dog is injured, so it’s a little more hit or miss. πŸ˜‰

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      18. Thumbs up for a good discussion! Oh my dogs are difficult to walk too haha. My little corgi mix, well, I guess she’s easier because she’s just so small. Our lab on the other hand…not exactly leash trained. She walks me, not the other way around haha! πŸ˜‰

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      19. Haha! Well, we had a very bad dog experience so mine are pretty well trained. I’m too small to let them walk me (we have an 80 pound boxer and a 50 pound Aussie), especially when I dog sit for friends. I’ve been seen walking three dogs more than once, so I’m a little bit of a nut about leash training! πŸ˜‰

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      20. Those are some big dogs! Yeah my 70 lb lab drags me all over the neighborhood. Even worse is when she gets loose…she bolts. I’m a runner (I’m actually running right now lol) and I’m pretty fast, she burns me every time. It’s scary because down the street from our neighborhood is a busier street with cars going 50+. I’ve had several times where I know Jesus stopped her from running past the gate, which she was bolting for and leaving me in the dust!

        I bet a boxer and an aussie are fun! I love big dogs. I used to have an Alaskan malamute as an kid. He was big Eskimo teddy bear! πŸ™‚

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      21. Malamutes are gorgeous dogs. My dad had huskies when I was a kid. I have run with my dogs, too, but my Aussie recently had a torn ACL (or the doggie equivalent), and she is still limping. 😦 I can only take her on very short walks now. The surgery is waay too expensive, and the vet said it only has about 80% chance of actually being effective. Our boxer also has issues with overheating, so if we run, we just leave them behind! They are fun dogs, though.

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      22. Huskies are lovely too! They are like Malamute Lite haha. Oh no, that’s too bad! Is a torn acl something that will gradually get a little better on its own over an extended period of time or is it permanent without a procedure?

        Talk about overheating issues, we shaved our malamute every summer. He was funny looking after a shave! Like a big naked blue-gray four legged smurf running around the back yard haha!

        So we had our Thanksgiving tonight at our house with my family and my wife cooked a good part of it – she’s a fabulous cook btw..I don’t know how I’m typing lol. Way too much typtophan from the turkey. The kiddos are almost asleep and it’s and a movie night with my honey tonight so I’ll head off here for awhile. Hope you have a blessed evening!

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      23. So sad that I just read this after knowing the whole stomach virus party you got to have afterward. :-/ Anyway, obviously I’ve been out of pocket for a few days! My mom came in after Thanksgiving, and shall we just say I hope I have her energy when I’m her age? She’s great!

        Yeah, huskies are kind of a mini-Malamute. Poor guys — my dad never shaved them, and I don’t know how they survived summers here. Our dog’s leg is probably not going to get much better. There is a surgery, but we can’t afford it and the vet said it’s only about 80% effective anyway so we have tried just rest. But it’s been months and she still limps some from time to time, so… Poor girl. 😦
        Hope everyone is fully recuperated in your house!

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      24. Haha, good catch! lol I don’t think I would have caught this. I wrote this comment probably about 15-20 minutes before the symptoms started showing. Oh innocent speaking Joel, you had no idea what was about to befall you! haha!

        Oh, I’m sorry to hear that about your dog 😦 Our black lab came down with something this week, I think a whiff of what we had translated over to her. She’s been on her doggie bed sleeping the weekend away. It’s sad when our furry family isn’t feeling good! 😦

        Oh man, they must have been hot depending on where you all lived! It got hot were I live and we had to shave and hose him down daily, and let him spend most of the summers inside the house.

        Hope you had a good weekend! It’s nice to finally be back on here! It’s bedtime for me though, so I’m gonna head out for today…Have a good night!

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      25. It really floored me, how much Satan tried to intervene in the production of that movie and what Jim had to walk through spiritually to do the work. I guess it makes sense, it had a profound impact in the media in the early 2000s and I’m sure there were lots of unbelievers brought to Christ through it. But still…wow.

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    1. Eeek! haha! I read your post today while I was at the office on Journey of Desire! I was about to comment but then work came up and I’m going to right after this. It is super cool that we both wrote about it around the same time. Isn’t it SO good?! Ah! I just am so crazy in love with Jesus after reading it. It’s just awesome, seriously, how Jesus transformed how I saw his love for me through John’s words, it’s just become the best thing I have in my life. This amazing love relationship with Jesus. Perfect.

      Haha! Oh I’m no professional on John πŸ˜‰ He’s in a league of his own. You had an awesome post on stories. I’m going to jump over to your blog and comment!

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