Mike Bickle

B. Childress
Feb 05 2010 08:00 A.M.

Some years ago, a Prophet who mentored me in ministry received a very specific word from the Lord.  The Lord said
that He was going to raise up a young adult movement all over the world and reveal to them a new approach to
holiness.  He spoke about something new in terms of our Christian traditions.  It will not be new in terms of Scripture.  It
will be an approach to holiness that "wows" people with a revelation of His tenderness.  Instead of being motivated by
fear or shame, believers will be empowered to holiness because of the affection for us that burns in God's heart.  The
highest and best way of motivating the human heart to righteousness is through fascination and exhilaration in love.  As
the Lord told that prophet, He is raising up millions of sons and daughters who are motivated in this way and who
motivate others by this new approach to holiness, which the prophet Jeremiah described as being "married to the Lord"
(See Jeremiah 3:14).

Secondary Motivating Forces

David knew what holiness was.  He wrote, "Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O Thou my God, save thy servant that
trusteth in thee" (Psalm 86:2).  All across the body of Christ and stretching back through all of Christian history, we find
different methods people have used to motivate the human heart to turn to the Lord.  Preachers and revivalists of many
different persuasions have stroked various heartstrings to accomplish this.  Some emphasized the fear of punishment,
crying, "Return! for if you don't, you will face eternal damnation."  Now, don't get me wrong - this is a true and biblical
motivation for repentance.  People really will go to hell if they don't repent and make Jesus the Lord of their lives.  The
desire to escape eternal judgment is one of the powerful incentives God has given us to flee from darkness into light.  
The Bible describes people who respond to this motivating force as those snatched from the burning fire (Jude 23).  In
our day, some people joke that such converts are just getting fire insurance, but it's fire insurance that works.  The
terrors of hell awaken their hearts, and they return to the Lord.  But fear of hell is not God's primary way of drawing the
human heart toward Himself.

Another common tactic of holiness preaching is to promote
fear of missing out on revival.  You may have heard
preachers say things like, "If you don't turn to the Lord, you will never operate in a greater anointing.  Press in and pay
the price so you can be part of the revival."  Preachers like this urge people to go hard after God in order to be
powerfully used by Him.  In essence, they promote God as a means to an end: if we press into God, then we get the
reward - revival.  Revival is good and necessary, but it's not the best motivator.  This urgency to be part of what God is
doing works for some people for a short while, but over time it has little staying power.  It usually inspires strong
resolutions, symbolic actions, grandiose statements, and many tears.  But it typically dies out when the person crashes
into his or her weakness, or when the thrill of the meetings ends.

You may have seen this happen to someone in your church.  He sincerely wants to do more and be more for God, and
upon hearing the sermon about pressing in and not missing revival, he repents from some sin that he has allowed in his
life.  Perhaps he enrolls in a bible course or commits to attending every prayer meeting the church  offers.  But after a
while, life happens.  He fails somehow, slips into sin, or does something stupid.  Doubts rise from the ashes of his failure
and prevail over his initial resolve.  Determination morphs into discouragement.  Revival fades away, and there's no
incentive to stick with his commitments, so he goes back to being the kind of believer he was before.  Though this form
of motivation to holiness is also biblical, it is still not the highest method God has for His people.

Others leaders in the body of Christ throughout history have motivated people
through the fear of shame.  They
declare, "Turn from your ways, or you will get caught and be put to shame.  If you sin, you will be exposed and
humiliated before all."  When you hear this motivation, a cold shiver goes down your spine.  Oh, the pain of shame!  Yet
the initial impact usually dissipates after the cold shivers stop.  You maneuver your way out of this motivation by
imagining that you can beat the system and not get caught.  You persuade yourself, with false confidence, that you will
never really encounter the penalty.  That's probably not true - there's always a penalty, and it's usually embarrassing to
have your sin exposed - but the idea of shame, though biblical, has limited effect in our ability to truly live holy lives.

Our Highest Motivation:  He Wants to Marry Us

God intimately understands the human heart, which He formed.  He knows perfectly how to motivate His people toward
holiness.  I have referenced Jeremiah 3:14,  where the Lord says, "Return, O backsliding children...for I am married to
you."   This very revelation is the highest and most effective motivator for calling people to abandon all else for Him.  
Great desire for human beings is the secret weapon in God's arsenal.  The power of this revelation when we grab on to
it is simply unmatched by any other revelation in the universe.  It is not built on shame or fear but on strong desire, he
says in essence, "Turn to Me because I am married to you and because I desire you."  He is not negating all of the
other types of biblical motivation, but He is making it clear what the superior motivation is.  This will become the single
more important impulse toward holiness in the final hour of natural history as the Lord raises up a bride with a heart
after God's.

Let me repeat so no one misunderstands:  The secondary forms of motivation are
valid.  Hell is a true reality.  And we
experience real loss in our spiritual lives and in the fullness of our earthly  ministry by not fully responding to the Holy
Spirit during revival.  Shame and embarrassment lead to
genuine pain when sin is exposed.  All these arguments have
their place.  There is a time to warn people of hell or to warn them that they may lose out and be disqualified in terms of
their earthly mandate and ministry.  There is a time to exhort people to leave their ungodly ways because of the public
and private humiliation they will taste if they don't.  Yet the primary and most effective method in the way that the Lord
Himself spoke through the prophet Jeremiah:  "
Turn because I am married to you.  My heart burns with desire and
longing for intimate fellowship with you.  I yearn for close relationship and encounter between My heart and your heart."  
With this invitation, the Lord beckons us to do away with compromise and leave our backsliding
because He wants us
and desires us
.  The Lord is crying out "Return! Return!" to the backslidden children who have found their pleasures
elsewhere.  He is calling to the redeemed who have lost their way and whose hearts have grown cold.  He is ready to
"wow" them with a revelation of His heart that will cause true holiness to spring up like a geyser from within their spirits.

God has reserved this revelation for the generation in which His Son returns.  This statement, "I am married to you,"  
was rare in the Old Testament.  Hosea spoke of it a little bit, and Isaiah touched on it a few times, but God only gave
them whispers.  There have been mere hints and adumbration of it throughout church history, and few preachers have
focused on this spiritual reality for very long.  And never in history has the company of the redeemed fully understood
that they are the cherished bride.  But in the last generation, the Holy Spirit will emphasize it with intensity.  The
knowledge that Jesus is a Bridegroom and we are His bride will crescendo and become a divine shout as we move
toward the moment when the Spirit and the bride cry, "Come!"  The Holy Spirit will emphasize the message of being
married to the Lord with power in churches and gatherings of believers in every country.  He will single out this message
for its singular importance at this hour in time.  As the message seizes the hearts of the hearers, the body of Christ will
change dramatically in the way it approaches God.  Church life, relationships, ministries, and outreaches will look
different than they ever have.  For the only time in history, the people of God across the earth will see themselves as a
bride and Jesus as their eternal Bridegroom.

One of the greatest and most baffling truths about our eternal destiny is that God has ordained that He will share His
heart with human beings.  This bridal identity, this privileged position of intimate nearness to God's heart, far surpasses
positions given to the angelic order and all the heavenly hosts.  Our position is one of almost unimaginable spiritual
privilege.  The God of the universe opens His heart and shares the deep things of His being with us - that's more than
staggering!  I imagine an ancient boundary line that keeps the angels standing as servants at a distance from the heart
of God.  They are only allowed to approach to a certain point, and then they must stop.  Yet the Lord Himself invites
weak human beings to cross that ancient boundary line.  He beckons us to come near.  He gives to us what He keeps
hidden from angels.

What does it mean to be married to the Lord?  We begin by recognizing that He is a passionate Bridegroom.  That leads
us to understand that we are His prized bride.  Our identity flows from Him.  We cannot understand ourselves as a
cherished bride until we know what our Husband is like.  If we perceive God as angry and disappointed, how can we
enter into our true identity?  We'll have an inaccurate, distorted portrait of ourselves.

John the Baptist grasped this reality of the bride and Bridegroom.  People peppered him with the same questions:  "Who
are you, and what are you about?"  John answered by declaring who he was in light of the Bridegroom God.

    "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him,
    rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled."  John 3:29

John discovered who he was!  He who has the bride is the Bridegroom.  He was telling people they couldn't understand
who he was apart from understanding Jesus as a Bridegroom.

Modern and "pop" psychology, which is pervasive in the world and even in the church, emphasizes self-discovery, or
"discovering who I really am."  This is an important things to do, but it's  out of sequence.  The answer doesn't lie within
yourself or your surroundings or your past.  You will never discover "who you are"  by examining your environment, your
job, your family history, or the people you know.  The secret to who you are lies in the heart of one Man alone.  He is
the Bridegroom God.  Only gazing in His eyes and understanding who
He is will you know who you are.  All other
searching is vain.  How many hours, years, and lifetimes have been wasted as people gaze at their own hearts and
come up empty?  How many good people have fallen for theories and philosophies that put self-discovery at the top of
the totem pole, only to leave them with no clue who they really are?  The answer is in the other direction.  

You shouldn't concern yourself at the beginning of the journey with finding out who you are.  That will come in time.  
God will reveal you in a deeply meaningful, life-transforming way.  But, like John the Baptist, you need first to discover
who Jesus is as a Bridegroom and to feed your spirit on what His personality is like.  When that knowledge begins to
come alive in your mind and spirit, you will inevitably discover His affections, His desires, and His tender dealings with
you in your weaknesses.  You will see that you are indeed a cherished bride.  The real you will emerge and blossom in
light of who He is.

I have been preaching on the bride of Christ since 1988, and I regularly run into men who struggle to view themselves
as the bride of Christ.  They are troubled by the female description and think maybe we should just leave the bridal
paradigm for women's ministry.  But the position we stand in as the bride of Christ is not about being male or female.  
Men are the bride of Christ just as women are the sons of God.  Both identities describe a position of privilege that
transcends gender.  When the Bible calls men and women to be sons of God, it means He has given His authority to
us.  When God calls us the bride of Christ, it means He is sharing His heart in intimacy with us.  In other words, the
message of the bride of Christ is God inviting us to experience intimacy with the deep things of His heart.

    unto us by his Spirit:  for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."   I Corinthians 2:9-10

The deep things of God's heart speak of His fiery emotions for us.  The Holy Spirit desires to reveal these to us.  This
reality about God's heart is beyond anything that we have ever imagined.  The fullness of this has not even entered the
human heart.  This is the way to live a fascinated life as a lovesick worshiper.  Intimacy with God is not just an option,
but it is also the very essence of true Christianity.

Man of God, this message does not undermine your masculinity; it actually establishes it and gives you the only real
way into full manhood.  Consider how the Bible describes King David, John the Baptist, and the apostle John.  These
real men.  Each one would have been known in his day as a "man's man"; yet they were men who pressed into the
privilege of experiencing the deep things of God's heart.  

We get too hung up on the gender issue.  Remember that King David was known as the great warrior king; however, he
was the example of a lovesick worshiper of God.  Was he any less a man?  John the Baptist, the fiery prophet in the
wilderness, referred to himself as a friend of the Bridegroom (John 3:29).  Did that make him a sissy?  The apostle John,
the son of thunder, identified himself as the one who laid his head upon the Lord's breast (John 21:20).  Did that
sabotage his manhood?  No.  These men discovered the path to true intimacy, which is the privilege of both men and
women in the body of Christ.  Your position before God as the bride of  Christ brings you into connection with the deep
things of His heart.  This is the truth of being married to the Lord, the greatest conceivable honor in the entire universe -
for men and for women.

Bridegroom Foundation #1 - the God of Tenderness

When we come before this passionate Bridegroom as His cherished bride, Jesus progressively reveals certain aspects
of His heart to us.  Typically, He begins with His tenderness and mercy.  This is the same tenderness and mercy that
encounter us at salvation, when we feel utterly weightless and free and jubilant - and rightly so.  Jeremiah tells us God
delights in showing us loving-kindness (Jeremiah 9:24).  God knows we can bring nothing to the bargaining table to
motivate Him to deal kindly with us.  He is fully motivated within Himself to be merciful.  But this is an extremely difficult
message for people to receive.  We are often too hard on ourselves, thinking that condemning ourselves will somehow
make it all better or will help God to love us.

When sincere lovers of Christ stumble due to weakness or immaturity, they often hold it against themselves for months
or even years.  You may have met people who seem crippled by sins or tendencies, some of which are many years in
the past.  They may come to the altar repeatedly and weep and repent, though God forgave them years ago.  The truth
is, when we ask for forgiveness, the Lord forgives us instantly.  His tenderness toward us far surpasses our own.  We
fashion our sins into a cat-'o-nine-tails and flay our backs, thinking this pleases God when all it does is grieve Him
further.  Oh, the tender dealings of the Bridegroom's heart?  Oh, how great are His mercy, His loving-kindness, and His
gentleness toward us!

The enemy works overtime against this revelation of God's mercy so we won't accept the full wonder of the
Bridegroom's tenderness toward us.  Mercy is the foundation of a powerful life style that would rip Satan's kingdom to
shreds.  But most of the body of Christ is not established in even the most elementary understanding of God's mercy;
millions of believers are trapped in a flat-out false view of God.  They see Him as unreasonably fierce in His
determination to get the job done, a demanding CEO, a hard-driving boss.  They imagine He is bent on accomplishing
His purposes without accepting mistakes along the way.  They even imagine, in the dark corners of their minds, that He
is willing to sacrifice a few of us if need be to complete the Great Commission.  We would never say this aloud, but many
people believe it.  And so, when we blow it, mess up, or stumble, we respond to God as we would to an angry
taskmaster.  When we fumble the ball, we imagine He screams at us, kicks us off the team, and says, "How dare you
fumble!  We could have won that one!"  We conclude that we are dispensable and disposable to God unless we perform

The only reason we are shocked when we stumble is because of our own religious pride.  God is never surprised,
disillusioned, or confused by our failings.  I remember some occasions in my spiritual journey when I became almost
numb after I made a mistake.  One of those times, when I was about nineteen years old, I did something wrong and
instantly prayed, "Lord, I can't believe I just did that!"  The implication was, "God, I bet You can't believe it either."  I was
sure I had surprised God just as much as I had surprised myself.  I pictured the look on His face, the sadness in His
heart, the rising anger, the inevitable punishment I deserved.  This kind of thing happened to Peter at the Last Supper
in Matthew 26:31-35, when Jesus said, "All of you will stumble tonight."  Peter slammed his hand down on the table and
said, "Wait a minute!  The other guys might, and You and I know they probably will, Lord.  But one thing You can be
sure of, I will never stumble.  I will not deny You.  Count on me!"  Jesus corrected him, saying, "Peter, you will."  But
Peter, as foolish as we are, stuck to his guns and adamantly argued that he would go to his death before denying his

Like many of us, Peter had more confidence in his own dedication to the Lord than he had in the Lord's dedication to
him.  His relationship with Jesus was based on misplaced confidence in his own devotion.  For this reason, Peter was
probably the only one shocked when the rooster crowed and the sound of his third denial was still echoing off the walls.  
Though every believer's personal dedication to God is absolutely crucial, we must understand that our dedication to the
Lord is only an outcome of His dedication to us.

The Lord says, "Then I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach Me" (Jeremiah 30:21).  It is the Lord who
causes us to draw near to Him.  The strength of our commitment and obedience is in the drawing power of Jesus' tender
leadership.  This is what Jesus wanted Peter to understand.  I imagine Jesus saying, "Peter, when this thing is over,
your confidence will be in what's in My heart, not what's in yours."  And that's what He wants to teach us too.  God knew
we would mess up.  He saw it way in advance and made provision for it from the very beginning.  David said, "For He
knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14).  He knows our frailty, both physical and emotional.  
He recognizes the limited capacity of our hearts.  I say this not to make an excuse for compromise or to give license for
sin but to emphasize a God who recognizes and looks for our determination toward obedience over and above human
frailty.  He sees the yes in the hearts of His people and says, "I understand your weakness, and yet I recognize your
willingness to be wholly Mine."  He looks at the agreement in our hearts and calls forth our budding virtues into full

You see, we are dealing with a loving Bridegroom, the Man Christ Jesus.  He is fully God, but He is also fully man.  He
has intense affections filled with tenderness.  He doesn't wield a big hammer, hoping He can find good reason to smash
us flat.  Even while we grow and falter on our way to full maturity, He enjoys us, and His heart flows with extravagant
compassion, the likes of which the world will never know without Him.  Remember, the Lord said:

    "Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let
    not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me,
    that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the
    LORD."            Jeremiah 9:23-24

Few members of the body of Christ have been deeply impacted by this revelation.  God is crying out for people to boast
and have confidence in His loving-kindness.  It neither pains nor frustrates Him to be kind.  On the contrary, it gives Him
pleasure.  The prophet Micah declared what God requires of us: to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly (Micah 6:
8).  The Lord is saying, "I delight in mercy!  I am at My best when I am showing mercy!"  This is the most fundamental
idea to the Bridegroom God - He is a God of mercy toward you and me personally.

Bridegroom Foundation #2 - the God of Gladness

The second revelation He gives us is that He is a God of gladness.  I want to delve into this in more depth later, but I
introduce it here because it's foundational to our understanding of the Bridegroom.  Not only does He have
unfathomable mercy, but God also possesses powerful pleasures beyond our comprehension.  His rejoicing emotions
are infinite in measure and eternal in duration.  Experiencing God is like riding a roller coaster that never ends but gets
better with each curve.  He smiles with delight and enjoyment when He gazes on each one of us.  This strikes many
people as strange.  They are accustomed to relating to a God who is mostly mad or mostly sad when they come before
Him.  They imagine that He is either mad because they have rebelled, or sad and grieved all the time because His
people are not dedicated enough.  

In Luke 15:4-7, Jesus describes what God's emotions are like toward those who lose their way in weakness.  He
portrays the Father going after the lost sheep until He finds him.  When He does, He lays him on His shoulders and
carries him home, rejoicing with great gladness all the while.  It's powerful enough to realize that God is not a distant,
frustrated observer.  But more powerful is knowing that when the Father finds us in the struggle of our weakness, in
some shabby place of sin and self-loathing, He lifts us out of it with great enjoyment.  What kind of God is this who
actually enjoys us in the process of cleaning us up?  

He is the God of gladness, a happy God of infinite joy.  In the billions of years that we will relate to Him, His anger will
only be for a brief moment, and the other 99.9999999 percent of our experience and relationship with Him will be based
on the gladness of His heart toward us.  He is a God of happy holiness, without any contradiction between those words.  
His holiness flows from abundant joy that cannot be imagined.  This does not deny His anger with rebellion.  He is fierce
to remove what hinders the love between you and Him.  But in the life of a sincere believer, there is an important
distinction between rebellion and immaturity.  They are entirely different things.  God hates rebellion, but He sees
immaturity as something other than outright sin.  He is smart enough to separate the individual from the sin.  He can
enjoy us and still disapprove of things we do or believe, like a parent who disciplines and enjoys a child from one
moment to the next.  That's how our Father is, and much more so.

Bridegroom Foundation #3 - the God of Burning Desire

The third foundation is that our Bridegroom God burns with fiery affections.  This fact is separate and distinct from His
tenderness and great gladness.  Most people have a hard time thinking of God as desiring or wanting anything.  After
all, He owns everything His pantry is always stocked.  He can create creatures and worlds and galaxies to bring Him
pleasure.  He could entertain Himself endlessly.  But the fact is deeply rooted in Scripture that He is also full of intense
desire and burning love for each of us.  He longs to be near each one of us personally, in the way friends and lovers
want to be together.  This God of affection is what so many are longing to encounter, even though they may not be
aware that the encounter will radically transform their hearts.

The God of affection - this is the foundation truth that you experience in your intimacy with Jesus.  This is what makes
you great.  This is what makes you special and unique in all the universe.  This provides each of us with the primary
definition for our lives.

Our success and value are not based on our level of production; our financial worth; our talent in sports, music, or
academics; or anything else.  These are all sideshows.  What gives us true meaning in the vast, complex world in which
we find ourselves is that the eternal One, the uncreated God, pursues us with passionate desire.  This is what crowns
our lives with meaning and power.  This is what makes us great.  We did nothing to become born, and since then we
have stumbled and fallen in so many ways.  Yet Jesus, our Bridegroom God, says, "I want you!"  And that confers upon
us eternal significance.  We are the ones God desires.  Though every other circumstance be unstable, and though we
mess up in myriad ways, we walk in grace before an audience of One with profound success and contentment simply
because He longs for us and declares Himself the lover of our souls.  The church in a bridal identity is a people who
have an ongoing encounter with God's affection.

Bridegroom Foundation #4 - the God of Jealous Anger

The essence of God's judgement is His commitment to remove all that hinders love in our lives.  

    "For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with
    her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand...And I heard as it were the voice of a
    great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the
    Lord God omnipotent reigneth.  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb
    is come, and his wife hath made herself ready."         Revelation 19:2, 6-7

This passage describes a scene in heaven related to the marriage of Jesus to His church, which takes place
immediately after Jesus releases His terrifying judgments on the world system at the time of His Second Coming.  As a
Bridegroom God preparing His people for the great wedding day, the focus of God's jealous anger is directed in
judgment of two things: first, those who gave themselves to immorality; second, those who persecuted His people.  Both
issues cause harm to His bride.  The principle underlying His jealous anger is this: whatever harms His bride's
preparation as His eternal companion will be judged.

The problem exists because immorality is practiced by some of God's own people.  This creates a necessity for  God's
jealousy to be released toward us.  God manifests His jealousy in our lives as divine discipline.  Many confuse God's
correction as rejection, but there is no rejection in God's discipline.  Just the opposite - He disciplines us because of His
passionate and jealous desire for His bride to be an equally yoked partner with Him.  He will not allow anything to
continue in our lives that hinders the development of our love.  So because He delights in us, He disciplines us.  This
flows out of His passion for us, not His rejection of us.

    "For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth."    Proverbs 3:12

Another aspect of God's jealous anger can be seen in the way He confronts the enemies of His people.  We will look
closer at this aspect in a later chapter.

Bridegroom Foundation #5 - the God of Fascinating Beauty

The final dimension of the Bridegroom God at which we will look is His infinite beauty.  One day we will gaze upon Him
for billions of years at a stretch.  This description and any other will seem pitiful in its attempt to convey the reality of
Him, but we must understand as well as we can that our Bridegroom possesses a beauty that transcends any other in
the created realm.  He is far above all other magnificence and pleasure.  His endless splendor shines forth from His
tenderness, gladness, and desire for us.  (Indeed, it's impossible to understand His beauty without first understanding
His tenderness, gladness, and desire, for His beauty radiates from them).  As we encounter it through Scripture and by
His revelation in our spirits, His beauty fascinates and captivates our hearts.  He woos and wows us with magnificence.

A believer struggling with deep feelings of rejection and condemnation is not free to see God's beauty in this way.  A
rejected spirit shuts down the ability to perceive the beauty of God that is right before your eyes.  Being confident in
God's love for you is necessary to seeing God's beauty.

This fascination with the God of beauty is easily the greatest source of pleasure in heaven and earth.  Above all things
that give the human heart pleasure, one is paramount: God revealing Himself to us personally and individually.  David
testified, "At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11).  He was saying, in a way, "When I discover
more of Your beauty, my spirit is completely exhilarated!"  He experienced the highest pleasure known to the human
heart.  He lived with a fascinated heart that continually discovered new dimensions of God's magnificence.  This was the
single greatest attribute of his life.  He drank from the well of God's endlessly unfolding beauty.  King David gave insight
into his heart's obsession when he testified, "One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek:  that I may dwell in the
house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD" (Psalm 27:4, NIV).  This must also
become our obsession if we are to be people after God's own heart fulfilling our destiny in this generation.

Beloved, we will have divine satisfaction forever, discovering more of His beauty through endless ages.  And we can
begin now!  Indeed we must begin now, for the sake of what God would have us be.  He wants us to be always caught
up in fascination and to become confident in love before Him; then and only then does He reveal more of His sublime
beauty to us.  Take one step into this realm, and you find it's impossible to exhaust His store of surprises; they unfold as
you perceive more of His heart and as He reveals Himself to you in progressively greater measure.  It's like a walk
through an endless garden of flowers, each kind more resplendent and inventive than the one before, each path
leading to waterfalls and vistas ever more breathtaking to behold.  The heart of God is a wonderland, a universe of
beauty like no place mankind could dream up.  All beauty on earth is merely a reflection of Him; even the most beautiful
thing you can think of will one day be swallowed up by the beauty of His heart like the beam of a flashlight in the
intensity of a thousand suns.

Are you surprised at this new approach to holiness?  It will change the very face of Christianity.  It's nothing like the
legalistic straitjackets of yesterday.  It's rooted in strong desire, not shame; beauty, not bashing.  By understanding that
God desires us as His bride, our generation will arise in beauties of holiness yet unknown, with hearts ripe and sweet
with passion and love.  We will gladly choose Him over everything else that competes for our attention.  We will count all
things lost for the excellence of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord (Philippians 3:8).  We will deny our flesh not primarily
because of fear but out of the overflow of lovesick hearts, captured by the Man Christ Jesus, beauty incarnate.  This
intimacy will be motivated most of all by the astonishing revelation that He wants to marry us and have us share His
gladness, pleasure, and beauty for time and beyond.

Let's look deeper into the heart of God as David did.  Let's gaze upon the divine emotions that set us on a course of
passionate abandonment, becoming people with hearts after God's heart.


AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART, by Mike Bickle, Copyright 2009, Charisma House.