Passion That Death Can’t Match

God is passionate for you. Or more accurately, he is jealous for you.

Ever been jealous of a friendship, wishing you were a part of the inner circle? Ever been jealous for someone’s attention — a crush, falling in love while it feels like they barely notice? It’s a desperate need that bullies your thoughts.

“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” — Deuteronomy 4:24

He is over the moon when you turn to look at him.

In Song of Solomon 8:6, the Bride declares, “love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave.” One certainty in life is that death will have us all. So the Bride is saying that jealous love will just as certainly have the heart it’s after.

This is an affectionate jealousy. It isn’t a religious need for worship. God is searching for worshipers, for heart to heart relationship with us not a religious outward show. He’s after your heart, longing to be close. As much as you can desire God, his desire for you is infinite. Song of Solomon makes it certain that our faith is a two way pursuit. God is after us — we are after God.

The early church was obsessed with the second coming of Christ. The 120 in the upper room had been with Jesus on Earth. They desperately desired his return. As close as the Lord gets in our mortal walk with him, there will always be a deeper level of relationship that is out of reach.

It is that desire for fullness, a complete relationship, that we see in Song of Solomon. The early church passed that on to new believers. God longs for this fullness too.

Unfortunately, out of human zeal, we can mistake “keeping the rules” as closeness to Jesus. He wants a pure & spotless bride (Ephesians 5:27), but that purity is not achieved through human effort.

“Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” — Galatians 2:16

Being close to Jesus is like being close to any other friend. You share your life with him. You tell him about your good days and bad days. You debate decisions. You are open and vulnerable with him. A relationship can only be built when you face him.

This is why sin is so dangerous. It’s not solely because of the transgression. Romans 8:35 is very clear that no external force can separate us from Christ’s love. If we’re following Jesus, our misdeeds don’t put distance between us and God. He actually went looking for Adam immediately after he sinned in Genesis 3. Before there was any covenant, God wanted in. But sin, through the law, tempts us to fix things through our own effort. That way we face ourselves, instead of facing Jesus.

Just like when we hurt a friend or someone we respect. If we try to make things up by doing good things for others or by punishing ourselves, but we never face that friend and own up to the wrong, our relationship will be hindered and there will be distance between us.

Enter the beauty of repentance, turning to Jesus instead of turning to the rules. Sin is rendered powerless because our eyes are on Jesus and God gets what he’s been longing for — our hearts.

Jesus waged war on religious bondage during his ministry. The religious leaders knew everything about the Law & they added to them. They supposedly knew everything about being close to God. Jesus swiftly turned all of that on its head. He gets frustrated with their twisted spirituality in Matthew 15, quoting Isaiah:

“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” — Matthew 15:8–9

In John 4, Jesus tells us what kind of worship God is looking for:

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” — John 4:23–24

Worship, in Jesus’s time, was primarily physical. You obeyed a written Law, visited holy places, and listened to men talk about God. That same impotent faith tempts us today.

God is spirit, we are spirit. God is searching for a spirit to spirit (heart to heart) connection. True worship is the result of a relationship. A healthy relationship is built on vulnerability — when we allow the other person into the secret places of our heart.

God is passionate about who you are. He took his time weaving your DNA together. Messes and wounds don’t faze him. You don’t have to hide anything. When you step in and embrace heart to heart closeness with God, striving and toiling for his approval suffocate.

And it all starts with his passion for you. His love carries the same impending power as death. He will have all of you. And in the process, you will get all of him.