The relationship God desires with His children calls us into the deep and of the metaphorical swimming pool. You can never feel the power of God fully manifesting in your life until you can’t touch the bottom anymore. Your Father is calling you into the deep water where He is your Sustainer and your own provision is exhausted. You either admitted your best attempts are worthless or they have left you empty.
The deep water is where we find spiritual connection with God. We have a heart-felt connection with His love and His Spirit fills us. Our trust and faith have lead us to follow Him into the deep water where our reliance on His will and bigger plan matures our faith and grows us. God has plans for us that exceed our wildest dreams. Those plans are found in the deep waters where He grows our character to receive something we could not handle otherwise. It is through growing closer to Him that we can see His bigger plan and walk in a way that glorifies Him in His provision.
The shallow end of the pool, where most people are too afraid to leave, reflects self-reliance. We feel ok as long as our feet are touching bottom and we perceive that we have any control over what is going to happen. We have a mental connection to God but our reliance on our flesh makes us too heavy to tread water. We find security in our own abilities and the things that the world can provide. We are in danger of missing the plans that God has to grow us. There is also the inevitability that God’s full power will never be able to fully manifest in our lives.
I pray that each of us will seek God in the deep waters. We will allow our water treading muscles to grow. As we rest in God our weight becomes irreverent as we find rest in Him. Our best efforts in life will never compare to what the Lord has for us. Our best will always be incomplete because God is not there with us. If we rely on God and walk the path He has, we will find rest and we can always be sure that His plan is one of completion. Our daily battle to maintain stability will fade away and His peace and joy will fill our hearts as His Spirit overflows from us. Follow God into the deep water and see His glory manifest in and through you.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
It’s amazing how many parallels can be drawn for the discipline of heath and that of faith. Even non-believers can identify with the struggles of dieting. I was confronted with a comparison I wanted to share that uses this relatable metaphor. We have a choice when dieting: do the easy things that don’t allow our lives or health to change or make changes that come with work and temporary discomfort but lead to amazing changes.
Most people fall off the diet wagon as they struggle to break out of an easy routine. The excuses grow just like their blood pressure and waistline. The easy thing to do is to grab fast food and relax after a long day. It’s easier to avoid the effort of cooking real food. Sure, all of the chemicals in the food leave you feeling satisfied as your body panics and can’t decide what to do with them. The result is disease, sluggishness, and a suffering physical appearance. If by some chance a few changes are made, consistency and patience suffer as the results don’t come fast enough. We should be able to erase decades of damage in a month right? This is a representation of a suffering spiritual life. The easy thing to do is ignore God in order to keep the illusion of control over your life. We grab worldly comforts that sooth us as we fall deeper into the darkness of an unhealthy spirit. We spend free time filling our minds with garbage from TV, internet and social media. With the lack of good things going into our minds it’s no wonder only garbage is available to come out. Then in a moment of desperation in the darkness someone prays for relief but will quickly fall away into self-reliance when the pain is past. They aren’t willing to take the step required for real change. That would involve giving up control and relying on the Creator of the universe.
In contrast we have people who are devoted to their health. They maintain a healthy diet they prepare in advance and have a plan on how their path will proceed. The result is a metabolism that is ready to use the good input to rebuild in the best way. This metabolism causes a hunger that requires for healthy input for continued improvement. The good input creates a good inside where the best output is attained. The result is a healthy heart, more energy and a better external appearance that draws less healthy people to your example. This as a representation of our spiritual life is a hunger for God’s Word that grows with the fruit it produces in your life. The plan to study the Word of God and to let what it says change how you let the Spirit work in your heart is the most important step. As the believer continues to grow in the Word and the Holy Spirit they are changed for the inside as their spiritual health improves. The outward manifestation is obvious to people who continue to be lost in their effortless walk.
We should choose to be spiritually healthy and let that stand as an example to the lost of this world. It’s not a single prayer in desperation (healthy meal) that changes things. It’s a life devoted to God and what He has for us. It requires patience for gradual change to manifest. Just like a month of effort won’t undo years of neglect, don’t shortcut the process of God to grow a spirit inside you that will change your life and motivate those around you to follow your lead and that of your Savior.
Power over the Kingdoms of the Earth
The third temptation shows the deceiver trying to take God’s glory for Himself, which is what caused him to be cast from heaven. Our Savior again goes to God’s Word to defeat the temptations on satan: You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve (Deuteronomy 6:13) This is one of the most important truths for us to live by. We should look to God before all things. That includes wealth, power, fame, people, position, etc. One of the other temptation we can see is how this could have also pertained to Jesus. The deceiver was offering Jesus a shortcut around the suffering He was going to endure at the cross. The deceiver was offering the opportunity to bypass the will of God to gain His kingship by and easier way. He was offering the power without the process, the position without rejection, the easy route without the required work. We may not have the chance to sit on a thrown but this says much more. Many times, we are tempted to take a lesser reward under our own strength than the gift God desires through our obedience to His process. Jesus could have taken an earthly thrown but resisted the temptation to avoid the pain and rejection to receive the Heavenly thrown at the right hand of the Father. If we walk a path that God has not designated for us we take the risk of settling for a life that cannot compare to what God designed us for. We will live a life of emptiness, discomfort, loneliness, and fear that might have come easier and faster under our power; but is a shadow of the life we were made to flourish in. Don’t fall into the temptation to bypass God’s light and end up in a darkness fueled by the void where God desires to place Himself in your life. Jesus resisted all of these temptations and made the meaning of Hebrews 4:15-16 come to life in our spirit. He has been tempted in every way and can now sympathize with us, allowing us to draw near to the thrown if grace. How amazing is the Savior we have the opportunity to place in Lordship over our lives? Let Jesus have your heart and guide your steps. He knows your temptations and wants to walk with you in them as you bypass the snares of the deceiver. Walk in communion with the Lord and know what He resisted so that He could hold your hand and guide you to the light design for your path.
Old Testament Laws are like guiding lights/ bread crumbs/ a map/ a GPS. They were originally intended to bring the focus of the Israelites to God and at the same time serve as a guide to show His power in their lives to the rest of the world. Knowing that sin kept all people from fulfilling the laws God became man and a sinless sacrifice so that love could succeed where the law had failed. Mercy could succeed where judgement fails. Many people miss the point of Jesus and continue attempting to please God in obedience to law. They use the law as a tool to learn about God and try and grow in Him. They miss the opportunity to be filled with His spirit in complete intimacy as a conduit of His power. Focusing on the law will cause you to miss God’s desire which is to live in your heart and allow you to shine His light to this dark world. Keeping your eyes on the Map/ GPS God gave people in the Old Testament will cause you to miss the destination God gave us through Christ, His Spirit!
VERSE: (Zechariah 8:20-23) “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities. 21 The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going.’ 22 Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord. 23 Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”
HISTORY: Jerusalem was completely destroyed at least twice, once by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:8-10) and again by the Romans under Titus in AD 70. The Mongols destroyed at least a portion of the city around AD 1260, and the Roman emperor Hadrian destroyed it in AD 135. In addition, the city was captured at least 40 times and besieged at least 23 times.
THOUGHTS: Many times throughout the Old Testament we see God allowing His people to be conquered and spread over the land. It always comes in the wake of them turning away from His commandments and guidance. (Zechariah 7:13-14) “As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known… This seems to only be a punishment for those people. But once we realize that all things are done for the glory of God, I wanted to think deeper. What if God scatters His people to spread His presence over the earth? God’s judgement acts like a droplet of water to cause a ripple that spread to the corner of the earth. These people turn from God so He scatters them, they find the error in their ways and turn back to God from their foreign land. Now God has placed His people over all the earth who turn to Him and lead the other nations to turn to His as well. (seen in Zech 8:23 above) What a wonderful thought to see how God uses what seems to be a punishment for His people to not only draw them back to Him but also to spread His name and glory throughout the earth. How great if the God serve!