A foundational revelation of God’s heart, one that takes us deeper in prayer, is knowing He desires deep friendship with us—even to the point of longing.
God Wants to Know You Relationally
God isn’t content to know about us in His omniscience, or for us to know about Him in our heads. He wants an authentic relationship where He knows us experientially, and we know Him the same way.
Related Post: “The Spirit of Revelation” – how to know God experientially
God wants an ongoing, ever-deepening, experiential relationship with us where we both share the deepest places of our hearts (1 Cor. 2:10). The Spirit reveals the deep things of God to us because God desires deep relationship with us.
But God has revealed them (the deep things) to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.1 Corinthians 2:10 NKJV
God Awakens Your Love With Revelation
Our desires for God increase as we first experience His desires and longings for us. When we feel desired by God and our desires are awakened, prayer completely changes. Desire causes us to spend more time with God with open hearts because we want to.
When desire grows even more, we become more wholehearted and zealous to move things (busyness and compromise) out of the way to be with God and in agreement with Him.
In Part 3 of this blog topic, I want to talk about God’s longings for a bride from the creation story in Genesis 1-2. But in these first two parts, I want to expose the underlying lies that make it hard to believe and receive the truth about His longings and introduce verses that reveal God’s deep emotions.
4 Accusations That Say God Can’t Long for You
Here are the 4 most common accusations and arguments against God’s longing heart that hinder believers from entering God’s burning desires. Satan wages WAR on our hearts to blind us to reality of God’s emotions because if he can, we’ll remain at a distance from God and not engage with Him as a Person.
God without emotions is not a Person—He’d only be a religion and a task-master. Demons want to keep God in this “box of religion” so that your heart isn’t awakened in holy love for Jesus.
I’ll address these with biblical truths over the course of this 3-Part blog.
- God is sovereign and 100% emotionally content within Himself. God can’t long for human relationship because that would mean He’s needy and discontent.
- God has emotions, but He doesn’t have intense emotions, to the point of longing and burning with desire.
- Some people struggle to even believe God has emotions at all, except for the emotion of anger.
- God might have intense emotions, but He can’t feel them towards me, especially in my weaknesses and sin struggles. Why would He long for me?
The Paradox of God’s Longings
It’s a paradox, but God the uncreated, eternal, infinite God, who is the only source of life in the created order, also longs for (in His emotions) human love and friendship.
His “need” for love is not needy in the broken, human sense—instead, it is a pure and holy longing out of the place of whole love that flows in the heart of the Trinity.
God’s longing is the overflow of the love He feels for us, not from the broken, human place where we can long for people out of the place of only being loved.
Do His emotions and longings make Him any less God or sovereign King who’s in control? Do His longings make Him vulnerable or dependent on human responses? No, but there’s an incredible tension and paradox in here that we have to wade through and discover in meditation with the Holy Spirit.
Let’s peer into the mystery of God’s emotions in some powerful Bible stories.
Jesus Wept and Groaned Out of Longing
Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.John 11:32-33 NKJV
In the story of Lazarus’ death and restoration, Jesus (God in the flesh) shows incredible depths of emotions—I would say, even to the point of longing and burning desire. As a reminder, whatever we see in Jesus is an eternal emotion and response in God’s heart.
Mary, Jesus’ friend, comes to Him with weeping and brokenness, and Jesus’ emotions are stirred. Initially, John 11 says that He “groaned in the spirit” and was troubled. Groaning is a gripping, physical response to a deep emotion. Jesus was deeply connected to Mary’s heart and pain, and He Himself desired Lazarus to rise up from the dead.
And when He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him.”……..Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb.John 11:34-36, 38 NKJV
As Jesus continued on towards the family and friends to seek out Lazarus’ grave, He was still weeping and groaning. He wasn’t emotionally disconnected and “content” within Himself in this story. Jesus was vulnerable with His passion and emotions within His friendships. Jesus wept out of love for Mary and Lazarus.
Do you know how intense weeping and groaning are? Think about the last time you wept, let alone groaned. Weeping is when the dam of emotions breaks down and everything is released at once. Weeping is consuming—it’s a sign of deep, deep longing.
God feels this. God weeps and groans, not just in this story. This is what He’s like in His heart. You move Him with your love and friendship!
Jesus Wept Over Jerusalem Out of Longing
Now as he drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make your peace!Luke 19:41-42 NKJV
As Jesus approached Jerusalem just days before He would die on the cross, He wept. We don’t know how long, but God wept. Why? He longed for friendship with Israel, but He knew their hearts were cold and unresponsive and that judgment would have to come.
Jesus wept out of the pain of longing for friendship with humans. If God were only “content” within Himself and not moved by human response, He wouldn’t weep. When you read this verse, imagine Jesus saying it with weeping, tears in His eyes, pausing at times to even restrain Himself enough to articulate His words.
Have you ever tried to talk to someone when you’re weeping? You’re a mess with tears, snot, and your thoughts and emotions are all over the place. Jesus was under the sway of emotions in this story, though He he has perfect emotions, because He’s a real Person who feels and connects to humanity.
Jesus wept out of pain and longing for your salvation because He wanted you!
Jesus Longs for You to be Close to Him
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me.John 17:24 NKJV
Jesus has burning desires in His heart for us to be with Him in intimate friendship! He longs to reveal His heart (His glory) to us in friendship and for us to respond in love. It’s something He talks about with His Father.
If you struggle with lies about God’s passion, you may read this passage as if Jesus were stoic and unemotional.
But God is the God of passion—Jesus spoke this to the Father hours before He would lay down His life on the cross.
Even now, there’s a burning desire in the heart of God for you to encounter Him, to know Him intimately, and for you to respond in love back to Him. Jesus is still talking to His Father about His desires for you to be with Him in nearness. Not just other people, Jesus wants YOU to be near Him for all eternity.
Jesus Thinks About You All the Time
And Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them. They are more than can be numbered.Psalm 40:5 NKJV
Psalm 40 and 139 declare that God thinks about each one of us so often that it’s uncountable. Friend, God thinks about you so often because He enjoys you and longs for you. You are His meditation through the day.
Nobody is making God think about you! GOD WANTS YOU! Do you know who are as His image-bearer? Friend, resist all the lies about who the enemy says you are to God.
Related Post: “What It Means to be an Image-Bearer of God“
This is just what He’s like as the zealous Lover, and this is the glory that He’s made you to be as His image-bearer. To minimize God’s longing heart would be a direct accusation against His personality, His craftsmanship in making you, and His value for your love.
Don’t forget to check out Parts 2 and 3 for more content on the Longing heart of Jesus.
For additional help, consider purchasing the Going Deeper Workbook(and optional video course) to go deeper in the topic of God’s Longing Heart. Module 2 is entirely focused on getting a right view of God as father and husband and us as priceless image-bearers. The workbook is set up to inspire you with a high vision for encounter and equip you to pursue Jesus through different forms of prayer.
Additionally, you can join our Facebook Group, “Cultivate Encountering Jesus” for more support and direct encouragement. Search for this group on Facebook and we’ll grant permission to join the group.