I've been thinking about going deep lately. Something clicked in me after meeting with Jim Belcher, former pastor of Redeemer Prebyterian Church in Orange County and the author of Deep Church. Jim is leaving the church he planted almost ten years ago to move his family to England and work on a second book, which will most likely have the word "deep" in it. Jim seems to have hit a nerve with the idea of going deep, whether it's a church or an individual.
We didn't get deep into the subject, mainly because Jim is moving in a few weeks and every minute in his life counts right now, and he couldn't spend any more time with me than it took to consume a $4 Dennys value breakfast. But our conversation was enough to get me thinking:
Why don't more Christians go deep?
In all kinds of other areas, going deep is a very admirable quality:
You get the idea. Going deep is good. We admire people who go deep. So why don't more of us do it, especially when it comes to our relationship with Christ? Well, for one thing, it's hard work. Going deep takes practice, discipline, and preparation. Who has time for that? It's so much easier to go through life being average or maybe kind of good at a lot of things rather than really good at one or two things. And because we take that attitude with most things in our lives, we tend to treat our life with Christ in exactly the same way. We stay on the surface, settling for average, content with good enough, rather than developing the discipline, doing the work, and taking the time required to go deep. And I for one think we're missing out.
Going deep isn't just about performance or effort. It's also about the results and reward that come from going below and beyond the surface. Precious stones are found deep in a mine. The wonders and mysteries of the sea are in the depths. Profound thoughts emerge from deep thinking.
Likewise, the Christian who goes below and beyond the surface with Christ is rewarded with a deep relationship. How do I know that? I've had some moments in my life when I went spiritually deep, and I suspect you've been there too. You were asked to lead a Bible study, so you did a deep study of a portion of Scripture. You were at a tough place in your life, and you were driven to your knees in deep prayer. You were in church and the worship took you to a place you hadn't been in a while. You've been there, if only for a brief period of time, deep in the word, deep in worship, deep with Jesus. And it was great.
So why not go deep more often? I'm not talking all of the time. Even astronauts and deep sea divers live on the surface most of the time. Home run hitters often strike out. But when they're on the surface doing average things, these above average people are thinking about the next time they go deep. They're planning their next adventure, envisioning their next home run.
As Christians, we can accept the reality that we can't go deep all the time. But shouldn't we think about it more than we do? That's where I'm at right now. I want to go deep more than I do. I want to be able to exult like the apostle Paul did in his letter to the Roman church, "Oh the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"
I would be interested if you have any deep thoughts of your own on the subject. Tell me about a time when you went deep spiritually. What happened? What was the effect on your life? Are you planning to go deep again any time soon?
Oh, and by the way, if you haven't read Jim Belcher's Deep Church, I highly recommend it. And if you are a Facebook user, become Jim's friend. He has a lot of deep stuff to offer.