December 2 & 9, 2012
Seeking God with the Whole Person
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!
If we are to be whole persons, we must seek God with our whole hearts. Doing this requires a more balanced effort than most people ever give to God.
Intellect. The intellect, or mind, is our ability to think, to reason, and to acquire knowledge. In giving us this wonderful ability, God intended us to use it to apprehend truth about God and about God’s creation, including ourselves. With the intellect, we are able to be aware of God and to understand at least something of God’s nature and God’s will.
Emotions. Not only can we know, we can have feelings about what we know. And how impoverished we would be without our feelings and our affections! To know about God without having any desire for God would be a dry and dusty business indeed.
Will. Our intellect and our emotions weren't given for their own sake, but to support our actions. It is with the decision-making ability of our will that we respond to God. And if we don't give God our will by obeying God, then our knowledge and our feelings are worth little. These things are to move us to godly action.
Toward the end of his life, Moses exhorted the people of Israel to remain faithful to God after they entered the Promised Land. If they did not, the land would be taken away from them, and they would be scattered among the nations. As they suffered in exile, however, they could turn back to God. And if they did so with all their hearts, they would find God again: "But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 4:29).
To seek God with the "whole heart" means, primarily, to seek God with complete sincerity. But God gave us hearts with more than one dimension, and we were designed to seek God in all of these. Is this not also what wholeheartedness means? To give God less than all three – our intellect, our emotions, and our will – is to be less than a whole person.
“Man was made to know good with his mind, to desire it with his affections once he knows it, and to cleave to it with his will once he has felt its attraction.”
J. I. Packer