Summary: No matter how hardhitting and inspiring and deep the message is on Sunday, many stay at the shallow end and won’t continue with the faith that they profess.
Matthew 13:20-21 – Part 5 – SWIMMING AT THE SHALLOW END OF THE POOL?
He stays at the shallow end of the pool for a long time, refusing invitations to come out into the deeper water, even with his dad. But after a long time considering it, my grandson Zion Brave Bennett thrusts himself into the pool, swimming underwater and then dog-paddling across the deep end to the far edge. It took a while but he does it and the results are spectacular. He has the time of his life in the pool from that point on. He is an OVERCOMER!
Many of those who respond to the message of Christ have thrust themselves into the deep end of the pool and will be enfolded into the life of our Church and grow in their newfound faith. Some will even go through the Bible College. Yet it is also true that no matter how hardhitting and inspiring and deep the message is on Sunday, many stay at the shallow end and won’t continue with the faith that they profess. They are not so much the HARD SOIL Jesus speaks about in Matthew 13, but the SHALLOW SOIL.
She says that she is a Christian, but she hasn’t made any commitment to Christ other than an occasional prayer. Edna (not her real name) has no desire to let Christ lead her life, read her Bible or grow spiritually. I would never be able to tell that she is a Christian by listening to her speak or by how she responds to life. There is no discernable difference between her and anyone else. She looks, speaks and acts as any other person. Then again, how can you tell what faith LOOKS LIKE in someone’s life?
In Matthew 13:20-21 (NLT) Jesus gives us a PICTURE of what Edna looks like spiritually. He says “The seed on the rocky soil (shallow soil with underlying rocks) represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.”
Shallow soil. They don’t have “deep roots”. They don’t last long? If they “HEAR” and “RECEIVE it with joy” how can I tell that it is not deep faith? How can I tell what faith LOOKS LIKE in your life? The answer to that question seems to be based on how you respond to your CIRCUMSTANCES. Do your circumstances determine the level of their faith? Do you fall away when “PROBLEMS” or “PERSECUTION” come? (see Matthew 13:20). Does your faith produce ENDURANCE or PERSEVERENCE.
I can have an emotional high at Church (yes, even at Church. We had Louie Giglio speak this week), but nothing to ground my faith in. The real test takes place when the first problem comes along. Does it become a TEMPTATION instead of an OPPORTUNITY to overcome? Does it become faith DESTROYING rather than faith CONSOLIDATING? Do I find my STABILITY for living in Christ? When I base my life on CIRCUMSTANCES if any problem applies too much pressure I will simply burn in the sun, wither and die in my faith, unless I have genuinely responded to Christ.
If you were to describe what your faith LOOKED LIKE, what kind of picture comes to mind? What has the deepest roots in your life - your problems or your faith in Christ? What dictates how you respond to life? Are you swimming at the shallow end of the pool or diving into the deep end when it comes to faith in Christ?
God bless you as you respond to Christ and allow His message to penetrate deeply. The invitation Christ gives me is not only to receive His message in a shallow, makes-no-difference-to-my-life kind of way, but to receive HIM and allow HIM to change my life radically and completely.