The past few days our family has been at a little house on a lake. We have enjoyed many activities, but one of our favorites has been fishing off the dock. The water here is amazingly clear, so if fish are in the shallows, they are easily spotted. Once we spot one, we can tell those fishing where to cast their hook. But as the water gets deeper, there is no chance of seeing the fish if they aren’t right on top, and once you pass the shallows, there is no way to know the depth of the lake.
We use “shallow” in various contexts, including as an insult. At their core, the various uses allude to the observation that there is no depth: no depth to the water and/or no depth to one’s soul. It got me thinking about the paths of believers. Within scripture, those with little to no depth are described as being tossed by the waves, as seed that doesn’t root well so it dies, and as a home built on sand. Over and over again, we see that those in shallow places do not have the depth to stand firm.
However, shouldn’t we ask what causes this shallow type of living when it comes to our faith? For our specific purposes, let’s equate shallowness to the lack of depth that one loves God.
Unfortunately we often hear “love God” as if it’s a command that we can easily muster up within ourselves. Maybe we think if we have even a little of it we are doing good. Worse yet, what if the thought is, “Isn’t it more important to know that God loves me deeply than me growing my understanding of loving Him?” Ummm no. I like to call that bad form. Think about it; how are you to know how deeply you are loved if you don’t know the one loving you?! It is impossible.
But too many believers are good with this shallow living. Let North Wake not be counted among them! Instead let us strive to be of this mindset of David in Psalm 63: (NLT)
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.
This is one verse, but that is all we need to hear David’s desire for the Lord. Do you speak about God like this? Most of us don’t, but I think most of us wish we did.
There are a few things that I want us to think about for just a moment so we can grow a heart like this. Notice that these words are personal. “O God, you are my God” (emphasis mine). Next, pay attention to the work on David’s part to seek after God: “I earnestly search for you.” Lastly, think about the words “thirsts” and “longs.”
David’s expression of his love for God is a personal love that causes action and can’t be satisfied. Is your love for God similar? Or maybe the action part is strong, but you don’t remember the last time you longed to be with God. Maybe you know it’s personal, but your confidence in that has led you to a life of little to no action.
Let’s bring these things together in our own lives. Let us seek to understand God personally. Let us search for Him, and let us long for Him in ways that are unable to be satisfied.
For if we do not grow and dig deep into our love of God, our love for Him will forever remain shallow. And when the waves come or the heat beats down, our faith will not be able to withstand because we have been splashing in the shallows instead of diving into the depths.
This leads us to the the following questions: Where do you need to grow? Where do we as a church need to grow? What steps need to be taken to see that happen? How can you encourage those around you to take these steps, and how do you need to be encouraged to take these steps?
Take time this week to pray, to seek, and to ask God where you can grow deeper in your love towards Him.