For a while now I’ve been wanting to answer the question: why chase after the beautiful God? Why is it so crucial that we go on the journey of being captured by who He is? First and foremost, it’s what we were made for. We were made to be fascinated. As Dana Candler writes, “We were born as ‘living thirsts’.” We long to have our beings interested and engaged and fascinated.
Think about the things you love doing. Think about the things that you could do all day without growing tired of them. For me, it’s playing soccer, or having deep conversations with close friends or exploring wild, lonely places or doing crazy things where my life is in potential peril (e.g. skydiving). Why do I love doing these things? Because they fascinate and engage my whole being.
I guarantee you: Your primary source of motivation is fascination. If you hate studying it’s because you’re not fascinated by what you’re studying. And yet academics and scientists (read: nerds) love studying. It’s because they’ve been wired to find pleasure in the experience of discovering ideas.
On numerous occasions, Mike Bickle speaks about three sources of motivation for obedience to God’s word. He says they’re all legitimate sources yet there’s only one that truly works in the long term.
The first he speaks of is fear-motivated obedience. You do something because you’re scared of the consequences if you don’t. The second is duty-motivated obedience. You do something because you’ve been told you should. The third is affection-motivated obedience. You do something because of a moved heart.
In the book of Exodus, the children of Israel had fear towards God. They saw the fire of His presence come down on Mount Sinai. They experienced His judgements manifest amongst them.
In the book of Exodus, the children of Israel had laws given them which they knew they should follow. They had 2 tablets of stone engraved by the finger of God Himself with 10 laws which they knew they should obey.
Yet when they failed and failed, when fear and duty failed to motivate them in the long term and they turned away from God again and again, God’s solution was this: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statues, and you will keep My judgments and do them. – Ezekiel 36:26
Some translations use the word ‘move’ instead of ‘cause’. I will MOVE you to walk in My statues! God’s solution to our failure to be motivated by fear and duty is to give us His Spirit which will open the eyes of our hearts to know Him, be fascinated by Him and obey Him because of how much we love Him.
In one of Jesus’ last recorded public statements He defends Himself against the accusations and trickery of the scribes who ask Him, of the ten, which is the greatest commandment of them all. Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is not just a command. It’s a prophecy! YOU SHALL love God! There is a day coming when this will be a reality.
If we are going to be a people that truly loves God, then the only way that love is to be sustained in the long term is by a moved heart. The only way a moved heart is going to come is by fascination with the beauty of who He is.
Simon Weil wrote, “There are only two things that ever pierce the human heart. One is beauty. The other is affliction.”
It is our prophetic destiny and the furious longing of God’s heart for us to be fascinated with who He is unto fiery passionate love and whole-hearted obedience. We shouldn’t settle for anything less.