Summary: Attitudes to avoid because they promote shallow spirituality.
Last week we looked at "surface spirituality", the soil that did not receive the seed because it had been "walked on" and was hardened.
We learned that we can develop a hardened heart when others hurt us if we’re not careful. If we let our hearts become bitter and unforgiving the Word of God can’t get through to us.
It was good last week to dwell a while on the fact that God can heal our broken heart if we will only let Him.
This week we want to look at the second type of spirituality - "shallow spirituality".
Listen to Christ’s words from Matthew 13, verses 5 and 6. We’re using the New Living Translation.
5 - Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The plants sprang up quickly, 6 - But they soon wilted beneath the hot sun and died because the roots had no nourishment in the shallow soil.
Now look at the Lord’s explanation of this type of heart in verses 20 and 21:
20 - The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. 21 - But like young plants in such soil, their roots don’t go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word.
Whereas the "surface spirituality" we talked about last week is unrecptive, this "shallow spirituality" is receptive but unproductive.
Those who live this kind of spirituality hear the Word of God and receive it joyfully, but they fail to follow-through. Jesus said, "their roots don’t go down very deep." So when problems or persecution arise they "wilt".
This is a very enlightening description on behalf of the Son of God. It helps us understand why some people start out in the Christian life but don’t keep going.
And once again, we want to study this type of spirituality to apply Christ’s wisdom to our lives and to the lives of others.
Not everyone has deep roots. Solomon put it this way in Proverbs 12:3 - "Wickedness never brings stability; only the godly have deep roots."
If you have any desire to be a follower of Christ you must do something about getting your roots down deep.
We’re going to use another passage, this one from Luke’s gospel, to find out what attitudes promote "shallow spirituality".
The first attitude that promotes "shallow spirituality" is an unwillingness to give up anything to follow Jesus.
Luke 9:57 - As they were walking along someone said to Jesus, "I will follow you no matter where you go." 58 - But Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but I, the Son of Man, have no home of my own, not even a place to lay my head."
Was Jesus trying to discourage this individual from following Him? No. He was simply trying to let him know that following Christ involves being willing to give up some things.
We hear no more of this man. His spirituality was evidently shallow. When he learned that following Jesus meant commitment and change he most likely left the scene.
Jesus doesn’t want anyone to leave. He wants us to follow Him. But He doesn’t deceive anybody into following Him.
Jesus doesn’t deal in fine print. He doesn’t give a Madison Avenue sales pitch or touch up His presentation with Hollywood glitter. Integrity - that’s what Jesus modeled - and so should the church.
In his recent book, "Junk English", author Ken Smith has a section titled, "Tiny Type Messages". He writes, "After all the bluster and selling, at the bottom of the page filled with bold large type in pretty colors is the truth. It is in tiny type, always positioned where we are least likely to look."
Here are some examples:
"Actual results may vary."
"Amounts of earnings listed in this letter may be ficticious."
"Not all parts covered."
"May not be available in all areas."
"We reserve the right to change program rules, regulations, awards and special offers at any time wihtout notice."
Isn’t that deceptive? Well Jesus isn’t deceptive. He’s right up front in the way He deals with people and we should all appreciate that.
He loves us and wants to bless us, but He also wants us to take a relationship with Him seriously.
It’s sort of like pre-marital counseling. The minister can talk to the bride and groom about the wedding date and the type of ceremony they want. But they also need to hear what is expected of them in a marital relationship. They need to know marriage is a joyful thing but it won’t remain joyful unless they are serious about working at the commitment they’re making.
An article by Dr. Mark Lee lists 50 questions that ought to be asked of engaged couples before they say "I do".