Even with all the crazy stuff going on in the world, we can begin our third post of the new year on a positive note. The good news is that in spite of all that craziness, we’ve managed to make it past the halfway point of the first month of 2020. The not-so-good news for a lot of us is that this is about the time when our determination to transform ourselves begins to fade. By now, many of us have discovered (again) that all those self-improvement plans, workout machines, and diet programs promoted by the beautiful people on TV aren’t as easy to incorporate into our busy lives as they were made to appear. And for some of us, the mirrors reveal that in spite of the promises made by the smiling, confident TV models, nothing about us is even beginning to look like them.
But as disappointing as some of our efforts might be, there’s an encouraging principle underlying the annual push toward self-improvement. There’s an innate human desire to be better than we are, to reach higher and accomplish more.
Different Picture–Same Principle ~
We suggested last week that God’s pathway to success in that regard is different from what we see in the culture at large. We highlighted an episode in Jesus’ ministry when He challenged Peter to leave the shallow water and “launch out into the deep” (Luke 5:4, NKJV). But Luke’s account isn’t the only place where the Scriptures introduce the challenge of going deeper. The psalmist paints a verbal picture that expands the concept beyond a nautical setting and presents it as a metaphorical principle that applies to life in general. He begins the passage with this simple declaration:
Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, They see the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep. (Psalm 107:23-24, NKJV)
The implication is that those who cling to the safety of the shoreline may feel more protected and secure, but they will never get to witness “the works of the Lord and His wonders” like those who venture out into the depths. Those who stay in the shallows may avoid the hazards waiting in the deeper water, but they also deny themselves the greater rewards that could await them and the increased opportunities to experience the power of God at a deeper level.
Personal Applications Needed ~
But if going deeper is a principle of life that God calls us to in 2020, how do we apply it? We aren’t professional mariners or commercial fishermen, and most of us don’t even own a boat, so in what way are we to launch out into the deep, and what does it mean to do business in great waters?
As you might have suspected, we have a few suggestions. In a series of upcoming posts we’ll be exploring several topics within this overall theme. Here’s a brief overview:
- Going Deeper in Relationships ~ God is deeply and eternally relational. He expresses every aspect of His being in relational terms. He declares that in receiving Christ as Lord and Savior, we become his children (John 1:12-13). As in any other family, all of us who are followers of Jesus are considered siblings with each other. Going deeper in our relationships can be a tremendous personal blessing, but it’s also of tremendous value in carrying out God’s mission.
- Going Deeper in Prayer ~ God has an endless desire to communicate with us. One of the foundational things we learn about Jesus himself and every great servant of God is that they were men and women of prayer. Going deeper in our pattern and practice of personal prayer is of inexpressible worth to God and to every endeavor we attempt in this life (Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2; James 5:16-18).
- Going Deeper in Personal Ministry ~ God makes it abundantly clear that no follower of Jesus is a random accident that just happened to pop up in the world one day. We were created on purpose, with purpose, and specially equipped with spiritual resources that enable us to do those things we were designed to do (I Corinthians 12:4-11). Going deeper in understanding and applying those spiritual resources can multiply our productivity and increase the blessing that fruitfulness always brings with it.
Narrowing the Scope ~
We’ll continue our series by launching into the issue of ‘relationships’. Obviously, the concept of relationships is much too broad a topic to deal with here in a comprehensive way. For instance, many people admit to valuing the relationship they have with their dog (or cat, or hamster, or pot-bellied pig, etc.) over those they have with human beings. We won’t be addressing that category, but if you happen to be one of those people, let me assure you that we’re not being judgmental, so try not to give in to the temptation to sic your pit bull on me if you see me out in public : -)
Jesus launched out into the deep for us in ways that are inexpressibly profound. He left Heaven and plumbed the depths of a turbulent, sin-cursed world because He loved us more deeply than any of us can imagine. Now He invites us to summon the courage and the faith to follow Him as He enables us. There are mysteries to be revealed and exciting discoveries to be made, but as Paul reminded us, we cannot do it alone.
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NKJV)
The Next Step Is Up to Us ~
The “wonders in the deep” are waiting. The rewards and benefits God has for us are incredible, but they cannot be intuitively known or discovered through intellect alone. He’s already given us His Spirit to direct us, and now all that’s needed to begin the adventure is the willingness to step out, the faith to know that He’ll be with us, and the courage to be honest.
So, will you say “yes” to Jesus’ invitation? Life-transforming things can happen, and there are no dues to pay, no weird foods to eat, no meetings to go to, and no special outfits to wear. We’ll see you next week as we begin to explore “Going Deeper in Our Relationships.”
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to Tweet & Share from the pull quotes below. Each quote links directly back to this article through Twitter.
- “Jesus launched out into the deep for us in ways that are inexpressibly profound. He left Heaven and plumbed the depths of a turbulent, sin-cursed world because He loved us more deeply than any of us can imagine.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Jesus invites us to summon the courage and the faith to follow Him as He enables us. There are mysteries to be revealed and exciting discoveries to be made.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “The “wonders in the deep” are waiting. The rewards and benefits God has for us are incredible, but they cannot be intuitively known or discovered through intellect alone.”@GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “The rewards and benefits God has for us are incredible. He’s already given us His Spirit.. Now all that’s needed to begin the adventure is the willingness to step out, the faith to know that He’ll be with us, and courage to be honest.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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