We’ve been exploring the connection between Worship and Psychology. Previous articles in this series include:
1. How Worship Meets Our Psychological Needs [Part 1] An examination of theologian Franklin Segler’s “Basic Needs For Worship”
2. Worship and Psychology [Part 2] Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Mike Bickle, Director of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) teaches a paradigm known as The Seven Longings of the Human Heart.
“Within every human heart are deep cravings that cannot be ignored or denied – they must be satisfied”
I curated this post from the notes, transcript, and e-book of Seven Longings plus Chapter 4 of “Passion for Jesus: Cultivating Extravagant Love for God“. These are primarily his words. By the way, I love his copyright notice – “you have the right to copy, make this your own and distribute, we encourage you to help spread these resources far and wide.“
Excellent Free Resources:
- You can see a video teaching on Seven Longings with notes and outlines here and
- Get the free e-book download of Seven Longings here!)
God created the human spirit with seven longings that can only be satisfied in God and are designed to draw us to Him for satisfaction.
There is nothing more pleasurable or exhilarating than loving God by the power of God!
- We have a God-shaped vacuum, a gnawing emptiness, until we are touched by God.
- As we answer these longings in a relationship with Jesus, we will experience the “superior pleasures” of the gospel. Then we can walk free from the dominion of the “inferior pleasures” of sin.
- The result is that we are empowered to love Jesus more. The essence of temptation is to seek to satisfy these longings outside of God’s will.
Jesus prayed that God’s love would be imparted into us.
I have revealed You to them, and I will continue to do so. Then Your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.” John 17:26
God wants to awaken love in our heart. The very love the Father has for the Son is the same love that He is going to release in us.
- Love is the most powerful and pleasurable human emotion. Nobody loves Jesus more than the Father. Can you imagine the Father’s love imparted into your spirit?
- God created the human spirit with seven longings. These longings draw us to Him. These longings reflect His glory throughout our lives.
- As you come to understand these longings, you can celebrate them instead of trying to repent of them, Then you will be better able to cooperate with the way God designed your spirit.
- We can better understand how the Holy Spirit works with us.
It is amazing how enjoyable our walk with God can be.
1. The Longing for Assurance that God Enjoys Us.
The greatest need within the human soul is to know that God delights in us.
As children love the affirmation of their parents, so we long to know that God enjoys our presence and takes pleasure in being with us.
2. The Longing for Fascination
We have an intense longing for fascination. The entertainment industry has identified this longing and made much profit from it. We crave the exhilaration that the only the knowledge of God – his awesome, glorious, beautiful, wonderful, magnificence, can quench.
A spiritually bored believer is weak and vulnerable to Satan. Without having a sense of awe, we live aimlessly and in boredom.
Much of the Western church today is not fascinated with God, therefore they become spiritually bored and spiritually weak.
A spiritually bored church is spiritually boring to the lost.
David’s heart was preoccupied with God while his hands were occupied with leading the nation. A fascinated believer is strong and equipped to face temptation.
3. The Longing For Beauty
This is manifest in two aspects, externally and internally.
Externally, the longing for the experience of beauty was David’s magnificent obsession.
One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek … to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. Psalm 24:1
We are attracted to what is physically beautiful.
Internally, beauty is a quality of character esteemed by the Lord.
“Rather, let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty, with a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:4
That spirit is precious to God. This type of spirit is beautiful. It is precious to God, but it not only makes us beautiful on the inside, it actually affects our outward appearance as well.
God put the dream in your spirit that you desire to look beautiful; therefore, you do not need to repent of that. You need to repent of pursuing it the wrong way.
4. The Longing For Greatness
It is a universal desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
Everyone chooses the story to which they belong, then they seek to find their place within it.
The great God created us to be great. Therefore, we have a desire for greatness and success. We were made to be crowned with glory, honor, and nobility.
Yet the redeemed demonstration of greatness is living out the value system of an upside-down kingdom. The first shall be last and the leader is servant of all.
“… whoever would be great among you must be your servant,and whoever would be first among you must be your slave” Matthew 20:26-27
5. The Longing For Intimacy Without Shame
We long for intimacy without shame in knowing and being known by God.
Intimacy involves a two-way knowing. God knows the secrets of our heart and entrusts the secrets of His heart to us. To be fully known without shame and to be free from the fear of rejection is exhilarating.
The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him… (Ps. 25:14)
Tragically, the inferior pleasures of sin have the potential to dominate our lives if they are the only pleasures we experience.
When we shift our gaze on the greater pleasures of God – something happens in our heart. The pleasures of sin begin to appear as they really are – cold and hollow.
God sees our painful struggle with sin. He understands our pain in failure and protects us by not disclosing the vast majority of our sin. He knows our shameful deeds, yet believes in us and treats us with honor.
He sees our costly sacrifices as we walk in faith and obedience to love Him. He knows our heart passions and deepest dreams and intentions to do good. He knows the cries of our spirit in time and eternity.
He does not reject us in our weakness, rather He woos us and draws us to be honest and intimate with him.
6. The Longing to be Wholehearted and Passionate
A newlywed couple is consumed with passion and wholehearted devotion for each other. They give themselves to one another without reservation. So it should be for believers as the Bride of Christ with her Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus.
Our passionate God empowers us to be passionate. We cannot function properly until we passionately give our heart to a Person and purpose beyond ourselves. If we don’t have something to die for, we have nothing to live for.
The human heart does not work properly in half-heartedness. The passive heart is bored and, therefore, vulnerable to many destructive lusts. In order to be emotionally whole, we must live wholeheartedly.
Walking in wholehearted love for Jesus frees us from the burnout of spiritual boredom. The “joy of lovesickness” is exhilarating. Moses prophesied that the first commandment would be fully restored to first place in the midst of God’s people (Deut. 30:6)
The most miserable people on the earth are people with false doctrines of grace where they see grace as permission to keep compromising, rather than understanding grace as God’s forgiveness when we repent.
God empowers us to wholeheartedness.
Wholeheartedness is the only way we can function right. We were made by God to be wholehearted. We cannot live halfheartedly. We will die of boredom. Many are dying spiritually of boredom. They will not go all the way.
God is releasing a new anointing of wholeheartedness on the church that will strengthen believers worldwide.
7. The Longing to Make a Deep and Lasting Impact
Our time on this earth is limited.
‘Only one life, soon it will pass. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” C.T. Studd
God designed us to long to make a difference in the lives of others and to have purpose that is significant to God.
This longing for relevance is satisfied by our small acts of service that make an eternal impact on His heart and others’ hearts.
Whoever gives…only a cup of cold water…he shall by no means lose his reward. (Mt. 10:42)
This longing is satisfied in part by doing even small works that result in eternal rewards.
Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord. (Mt. 25:21)
Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord…24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance… (Col. 3:22-25)
We love to do and share things that cause others to be changed, helped, and filled with joy.
Working together with Jesus to awaken other hearts in love is essential to our emotional health.
Jesus calls us to work together with Him in the holy mandate that the Father gave Him to disciple the nations (Mt. 28:19).
Understanding these Seven Longings helps us understand what motivates ourselves and others. It is a grid for developing greater empathy with those we lead. And it presents a roadmap to overcome areas of weakness.
Becoming a lover of God will transform how you live for Him. ~Mike Bickle
The truth will set you free!
Of these 7 longings, is there one that is particularly greater or weaker in you? See you in the comments!