What emotion do you think of when you picture God? I believe too many people do not picture him with any emotion at all, or they picture Him full of anger at all of the wrong things they have done. Jesus as fully God and fully man came to reveal the heart of God to us. Colossians 2:9 says, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily..” Yet as we saw in Part 1 of Dancing in the Image of God, the Bible says that Jesus is the most joyful man who ever lived. In Hebrews 1:9 we are told that Jesus was anointed with joy more than all of his companions. Psalm 103:8 tells us, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” His steadfast love is not only faithful and enduring but full of passion. One can not read the gospels without seeing Jesus full of emotion. Love stronger than death was motivating His desire to fulfill the Father’s will as He agonized in the garden before his impending crucifixion. When Jesus was lifted up on the cross, the full extent of the love of God was revealed. He turned away the wrath of God from those who put their trust in Him as he lived and died to pay for sin and grant His righteousness. This was the plan of God from eternity past to have a purified people, a Bride, that would reflect His glory and participate with the Trinity in intimate fellowship. Is 62:5 says, “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” The Lord is full of delight over His chosen people and desires for his heart to be seen and known. Psalm 104:31 says, “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works.” The Hebrew word for rejoice in this passage means to ‘jump for joy.’ Rejoicing is a visible expression of joy. It is something that can be seen! We were made in the image of a God who expresses Himself passionately so that what is in His heart and mind can be made visible. In Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke while on the the earth, the words for ‘dance’ and ‘rejoice’ are synonymous. Luke 10:21 speaks of Jesus rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, and throughout the New Testament, the disciples of Jesus are called to rejoice in the reality of the Kingdom of God. The Greek word used in many of these instances is ‘agalliao’ which means to jump for joy.
As mentioned in Part 1, our dance was created to be a reflection of one of the ways we are made in the image of God. It is little wonder that when something exciting happens to a child they don’t have to be told to jump for joy. It is a natural expression. Not to jump is a behavior that has to be learned! In some places in our own culture, it is still acceptable to rejoice in this way. For example at a football or other athletic game, when someone scores a touchdown or makes an incredible play they often jump up and down and dance. Everyone cheering for that team is on their feet jumping and screaming with excitement. We were created to respond with everything we are when something or someone thrills our hearts. It is our culture that most often teaches when and how it is appropriate to respond with such authenticity and unrestraint to what we are feeling. While culture has its place, it is the Word of God that should reign supreme in training us to respond rightly to our emotions.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, “There is a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” This passage makes it clear that there is a place and time in the human experience to enter into the full range of human emotion and express it accordingly before the Lord. Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” May we be strengthened with grace to bring our hearts to the Lord in both sorrow and joy, weeping and dancing. May we know the fellowship of the Lord Jesus in these places of deep emotion, understanding that He created these capacities for feeling and expression within us that we might reflect and respond to the glorious revelation of Himself.