The Substance and Source of Wholeheartedness

1 Kings 19:7–9 (NIV)

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.



It’s worth reprising from last week:

“The cure for exhaustion isn’t rest. It’s wholeheartedness.” 

It begs the question, though. What is the way to wholeheartedness? Is it just a renewed motivation, a deeper commitment to God, a more sincere sincerity, and a more demonstrative, perhaps more emotional piety. While none of these things are bad, they are not the key to wholeheartedness. They might be signs of it, but they are not the sources. Wholeheartedness does not come from trying harder to deepen one’s sincere efforts, rather it requires an ever deepening relationship with the source. I see a clue in the angel’s admonition to Elijah.

“Get up and eat,”

Permit me to make a point adjacent to the text and yet squarely scriptural. The angel was talking about food. I want to talk about food of another order. Wholeheartedness requires “whole foods.” Wholeheartedness requires an ever deepening dwelling in the deepest source of all—the Word of God. 

So, read the Bible more? No. Read it better. Read it deeper. Read it richer. And how do we do that? The Word of God is the revealed text as we have it in the Scriptures (every single word of it) and The Word of God is the Son of God, the risen and ascended Jesus Christ, to whom all of the revealed text points and in whom we see all of the revealed text perfectly embodied in the form of a human being.

As we behold him, the Word made flesh—by the Spirit through the Word made text—he causes the Word made text to become the Word made flesh in our lives. This is the meaning of the core text of our journey:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

This is not a closed, circular loop but a spirilical (new word!) movement. The glory of God is a meta and multi-dimensional spirilical movement, starting at a fixed point which is the center and tracing outward in counter clockwise fashion with an ever enlarging never ending spiral movement taking in all that is broken and making all things new. Indeed, everywhere the river flows, everything will live. This is the cleansing, healing tide of the kingdom of heaven breaking forth on the earth, now flowing and finally fulfilled at his coming again. 

As we journey further back and deeper into the story revealed by Scripture, taking in the expansive vision of the “view of God’s mercy,” we are propelled forward into the kingdom of Jesus by the Spirit-infused, imaginative glory of the very mind of Christ being formed in us. This is the meaning of the text,

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1–2)

Elijah was making pilgrimage back to the very place where the Word of God was first written down by the finger of God on tablets of stone. Elijah was going back to the source where his wholeheartedness would be profoundly restored. We are going with him. More on how to eat “whole foods” tomorrow. 

So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.

This is the way—from glory to glory. 


Abba Father, I hear the words of Jesus saying, “People don’t live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” I am barely beginning to get this. I want the whole food of your Word. I want to read better and deeper and richer. Indeed, I want to learn to read with Jesus. Holy Spirit, would you take me into a much deeper relationship with the Word of God made flesh, who is Jesus Messiah, that he might become my teacher, my rabbi, of the Word made text. Praying in Jesus’ name, amen. 


Is this making sense to you? The spirilical movement of the glory of God in our very lives and beyond? Are you seeing how this dynamic of the Word of God who is Jesus, interprets the Word of God made Scripture to us and by his Spirit transforms us into his image? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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Comments and Discussion

5 Responses

  1. The meekness and poverty of spirit of the prophets and apostles and other writers of Scripture opened their heart to the living Word and their mind to Christ’s renewing. As children of God, they were led by the Spirit and wrote as prompted by Him. When I read Scripture with an open humble, hungry heart (like a love letter instead of a textbook) my spirit delights and dances within me as the Holy Spirit testifies to its truthfulness and the fully alive Jesus works in me.

  2. I think I’m understanding what your trying to explain. “ We become what we take-in”. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth”. (John 17:17) We feed on the bread of life from heaven.

  3. Wholeheartedness is living, being in the Spirit. That happens from glory to glory. What gets fed becomes stronger and healthier (maybe) and stays alive. It reminds me of an ‘ole Cheerekee story-

    One evening, a grandfather told his grandson about the conflict that rages inside each person.
    He said, “My son, there is a battle inside everyone between two spirits that want to consume your soul.
    One spirit is evil. It thrives on fear, pride, and hate. It is full of lies, greed, and immorality.
    The other spirit is good. It flourishes in love, joy, peace, and humility.”
    The grandson thought a moment and then asked, “Grandfather, which one wins?”
    The grandfather replied, “The one you feed.”

    And the one we feed, spoon feeds us back.
    Isn’t that what happened in the Garden?

  4. The Heidelberg Catechism and a modern book about it had me standing before God knowing for a fact that only a fool would reject what God had to offer in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ: Son of God and Son of Man in whom God’s justice and mercy came together in an explosive act of Holy Love.

    After that, the Bible started making “more sense” because I knew I was unfolded into God’s ongoing story of salvation and redemption. Then the fallout of that realization started rearranging my life.

  5. What do you mean by, ‘interprets (the word of God made) scripture’? How do we know the interpretation we have on a scripture is an interpretation from God when someone else claims the same thing but has a different interpretation?

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