Psalm 42:1 (NIV 1984) "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God."
"Our Bible study group doesn't go very deep. We like to keep it light."
Her comment struck me in a weird, uncomfortable sort of way. She meant the group liked to skim the surface, keep the material comfortable and not require too much time to get the work done.
Now, before you call me judgmental and start spitting at your computer screen, hear my heart. There are seasons for lighter study. Schedules change and family needs fluctuate. This is called life.
However, a consistent diet of skimming the surface in our pursuit of Christ effects our day-to- day and will stunt our spiritual growth. Our desire for depth will match our desperation to live beyond dehydration.
Signs of spiritual dehydration are symptomatic. When trials come we'll feel like we're hitting bottom because we didn't dig our well deep enough. We can also become less stable, more irrational and perhaps guided by our feelings rather than God.
When God's Word is not consistently penetrating our heart we are likely to become more self-sufficient and less God-dependent. When we are not desperate to quench our spiritual thirst we also have less resolve to resist temptation.
King David was desperate. He was a man whose intent was to know the deepness of God, to experience His presence and to pursue Him with every breath of being. His writings reveal a heart desperate to know the living God.
David's words in Psalm 42:1 say, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." David recognized that our souls have spiritual thirst and there is only one who can quench it. To pant and thirst after God exhibits a life that craves, pursues, eagerly wants, longs for and desires Him.
When my schedule gets chaotic and more demanding I recognize how my desire for more of the Lord is prone to lessen. He is teaching me to intentionally create space to avoid the pitfalls that distraction and dehydration breed in my life.
With several house guests, end of the school year details and still unpacking into our new home, I've experienced a bit of dehydration. My time in the Word recently has been more mechanical and my heart hasn't been as engaged as it should be.
The Lord woos me to sit awhile longer at His feet, move beyond the surface and resist the temptation to reduce my time in the Word as an item to check off my list. In His grace, the Lord reminds me to not be satisfied with just a sip or teaspoon of Living Water. Instead, He wants to turn the release valve on a fire hydrant and soak Himself into ever fiber of my being.
If we never dive deep, we will stay on the surface of comfortable and content living. A spiritual life that becomes complacent resists change. Here is truth: we cannot dig deep into the Word of God and walk away unchanged.
The more we dive in, the deeper we find treasure, the more our lives will be transformed by the power of God's Word. When the Spirit of Truth sheds light on an area of needed growth or sin, we confess, seek the Lord and repel the urge to become content.
If growing into Christ's likeness is our heart's desire, we must realize we cannot mature without consistent consumption, inward intake and application of His Word. Growth is an ongoing, daily dependence of surrendering self to the Lord.
Here are a few things to consider in your time with Him:
- Do you feel challenged in what you are studying/learning?
- Are you motivated to apply His Word and are you inspired by the testimony of others?
- Does the Spirit convict you of needed change and areas of growth?
- Are you being spoon fed by others or, are you taking it upon yourself to research questions or material? (I'm not saying teachers are wrong at all. In fact, they are biblical, but part of growing in maturity is learning to also feed ourselves.)
- Do you seek to know God more intimately with whatever you are studying?
- How willing are you to branch out beyond your comfort zone and try a new type of study?
We cannot know Him if we do not know His Word. If we do not know His Word we cannot grow in spiritual maturity. If we are not growing in spiritual maturity our faith will become stagnant and we'll remain an infant. Lack of growth inhibits spiritual intimacy.
If all we take in is a steady portion of shallow waters, we'll never learn to swim. If we never drink deep and search the vast riches of the Lord and His Word, our roots will not flourish.
When our soul is parched, there is only one Person who can quench our thirst; The Living Water. God created us for more than sipping and slurping from a teaspoon. He wants to turn the release valve on the fire hydrant. Are you ready?
Remember, your desire for depth will match your desperation to live beyond dehydration.
Write down all the correlations you can think of with the metaphor of Christ being our Living Water. What does this word picture mean to you?
Evaluate your personal quiet time and study of the Word. What areas do you believe growth is needed? What can you do to proactively strive for this?
Pray about committing to join a small group of women to study the Bible with. Check with your church's women's ministry.
What season of life are you in? What are you thirsting for? What signs of spiritual dehydration are evident in your life?
What prevents you from diving deeper? How have you grown comfortable in your spiritual growth?
Have you ever feared studying the Word? Have you resisted being challenged? What if you're convicted and don't want to deal with an area in your life that needs change?
Heart Changing Word:
Deuteronomy 11:18 (NIV 1984) "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads."
Job 22:22 "Listen to his instructions, and store them in your heart."
Psalm 1:2 "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night."
Psalm 119:15-16 "I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word."
Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. "
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly - mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly."
Colossians 3:16 "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."
Hebrews 13:7 "Remember your leaders, who spoke the Word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith."
1 Peter 2:2 "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."
Copyright 2012 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.