The Christian’s life has purpose; a purpose beyond the temporal. Ours is a holy calling to a higher clime wherein salvation becomes a reality, and a joy and peace that could never be realized in this physical existence becomes an eternal possession. The Christian longs for this life for “we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13), and “we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven” (2 Corinthians 5:2). So, Paul would express his heart’s desire “for Israel… that they may be saved” (Acts 10:1).
His was a daunting task: to preach Jesus to the rebellious nation that had crucified their prophesied Lord and Savior; not an easy assignment. He commended their zeal but condemned their knowledge base. What is painfully obvious, or should be, is that zeal and knowledge are not mutually exclusive but when one is misguided or missing altogether, the other, no matter the degree, will not and cannot take up the slack; both are essential. So, Paul would do all in his power to correct what was lacking, giving credit for what was sufficient.
His heart’s desire was that his fleshly family, physical Israel, would be saved. His message was simple: one must possess zeal AND knowledge. The irony here is inescapable: Paul was once in this very circumstance! He “persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it” (Galatians 1:13); he did not lack for zeal. It was not until his knowledge base was corrected that his zeal could be correctly used. So, when he came to know Jesus, “immediately… he arose and was baptized” (Acts 9:18) and “immediately he preached the Christ… that He is the Son of God” (v. 20); Paul had purpose. Now, his heart’s desire had direction.
A Christian’s heart’s desire is that all with whom they come in contact be offered the knowledge to rightly guide and grow their zeal so they too can “put on incorruption” and boast, “O Death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). An educated enthusiasm fulfills the heart’s desire, and fills Heaven.