When Faith Goes Deep

Mary is beginning to rethink her relationship with John. Though they’ve been dating for several months, she sees little evidence of commitment on John’s part. He enjoys taking her to the movies, out to dinner, etc. But when Mary talks about their future, he changes the subject. A shallow relationship is not what she has in mind.
Does it surprise anyone that Christ seeks relationships of depth? Simply being with the Lord now and then isn’t what he’s after. Evidence of that can be found in Luke’s gospel.
The first hint can be found in Luke 5. Before Peter became a follower of Jesus, his boat was transformed into a floating pulpit so that the Lord could address the crowd on the seashore. At the close of the lesson, Jesus asked Peter to “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4, NKJV). Peter balked at the idea of a carpenter giving advice on fishing to a professional fisherman. When he did what the Lord requested, however, he discovered the wisdom of deep commitment to the Lord’s commands.
In the next chapter, Luke recorded portions of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus closed his remarks on that occasion with a story about two builders. The wise builder was the one “who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock” (Luke 6:48). The other builder was not so diligent. He failed to dig deep into the earth, and his house crumbled when the storm hit.
In Luke chapter 8 we read Jesus’ parable of the sower. Good seed was cast in every direction, but only one type of soil produced acceptable results. For a time it appeared that the soil in stony places might do well. Matthew’s account of this parable, however, reveals the critical problem: “Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth” (Matthew 13:5). Those results were short-lived, however: “But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away” (Matthew 13:6). The seed on stony places failed because “they had no depth of earth.”
The Bible has no extended discussion on what is meant by “deep faith.” But is it really so hard to figure out? Does anyone really have difficulty determining whether their faith is shallow or deep? How much time do we spend in Bible study, meditation, and prayer? Who influences my values, my behaviors, my very thoughts? When others observe my life, do they see Christ, or only occasional hints at his presence? It’s not hard to know whether my faith is shallow or deep.
Fishermen who ply the deeper waters tend to catch more and bigger fish. Houses with foundations laid deeply into the earth generally survive the tempests. Farmers who plant their seeds in soil that will nurture deep roots will reap generous harvests. And Christians who spend time deepening their relationship with the Lord will be eternally rewarded for their efforts.
How deep is my love and devotion to Christ?

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Tim Hall

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