Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His Counselor?
- Romans 11:33
I am sitting by the sea today, as so many times our Savior must have done. It is chilly and windy during this off-season; more suited to snowboarders than sunbathers. Yet the sea still glistens, its waves crashing to the shore as they have done for countless seasons before.
How vast an expanse is the ocean, mighty enough to unleash powerful destruction, yet faithfully contained within its God-ordained boundaries. The sounds of water, the song of birds, the beauty of creation - all of the sea's peaceful rhythms soothe and comfort me.
As I watch, I remember that the very first city Jesus ministered to after His trial in the wilderness and rejection at home was Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee, a city whose name means “Village of Comfort.”
Here among the fishermen is where Christ would find His first disciples. Here Jesus would walk on water, calm the storm, and feed the multitudes. Here, I am reminded again that faithfulness leads to revival.
A Separate World
The sea is a picture of the depths of God. So much about the sea is still unknown. It is as though another world exists beneath the ocean, hidden in plain sight. Beautiful creatures swim there, an amazing 90% of whom are "bioluminescent," emitting surreal fluorescent light.
In some parts of the world, there are even beaches that glow with phosphorescent beauty, like the one on Villingili Island in the Maldives. (Picture below.) The more I learn about this separate world beneath the sea, the more I want to know! And so it is with God.
We are issued an invitation to “Come,” and like sun-scorched travelers, weary from our long journey in the wilderness, we come at last to the waters. We yearn to drink deeply of the Spirit, to quench our parched throats with the life-giving water of the Word. We welcome the cleansing coolness of Christ’s splashes of glory on our sin-stained bodies.
Here, at water’s edge, it is as if we, too, shed the darkness of our souls and begin to glow with eternal light! Like a million stars on a sandy beach, so are we - a multitude of believers too great to count, fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham so many centuries ago.
We decide to stay. To walk away from this abundant source of Spirit-water would be a mistake, we know. We build houses and plant churches here, camped on the truths of salvation, light, and glorious change. Like a Maldivian beach, we glow brilliantly in a dark world, and we are so proud of our holy luminescence!
Sometimes, though, I wonder if our faithfulness extends only as far as it meets our needs. Do we say “I do” and allow ourselves to be transformed, partly, into His image, but then find that our commitment to knowing the depths of Christ never reaches beyond the shore?
Daily we splash about in His glory, admiring our beauty and celebrating those who “glow” along with us. Yet do we submit ourselves to the nearby ebbs and flows of the Spirit, which might carry us out to sea? Do we stay safely above the tides that wash ashore, enjoying the water yet not wanting to be submerged in it?
God’s questions to Job above resonate in our spirits. “No,” we answer. “You, God, are immeasurable, unpredictable and beyond our grasp. We will leave the deeper pursuit of You to the mystics among us, those unusually drawn to experience the ‘mysterium tremendum!’ Are we not covered by grace and eternally secure?”
To put it practically, we take the initial step of faith towards God. We happily play and splash in His glory. Does our faithfulness end there? When He calls, are we are reluctant to pursue God farther into the depths, beyond what is common to our luminous friends? We do not see our reluctance as unfaithfulness! Sadly, it is unfaithfulness that separates us from revival.
Faithful in All Seasons
Christian maturity is considering everything a loss except for the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus the Lord. (Philippians 3:8)
John 17:3 says that eternal life is knowing God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:18 admonishes us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Jeremiah prophesied: “They will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD.”
Finally, Paul writes:
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:8-14, NIV
There is so much more of God to know!
Mature believers know that ongoing revival is sustained by personal faithfulness. These faithful friends will not cling to the idols of self or satisfaction on the shoreline of humanity. For better or for worse, they will plunge headlong into the sea as Peter did, desperate to encounter a living Christ who longs to be known just as deeply as they long to know Him.
What does faithfulness to God look like? It is a commitment to prayer when we don't feel like praying. It is choosing silence while the world around us is consumed with noise. It is drawing on the power of the Holy Spirit to love, serve and give when our physical resources are all but exhausted. In short, it is a series of daily decisions to make knowing God a priority, exalting His Word and Name above any others, and rejecting the lie that we could truly be satisfied anywhere else.
How does faithfulness fuel revival? A life of faithfulness sacrifices self in order to experience the wonder of a deep and very knowable God. As with marriage, faithfulness requires courage, submission, persistent pursuit and a willingness to listen more than to speak. Its reward is an enduring connection with a personal God, one in which every step of faith results in the joyful shout of an answered prayer and the renewed commitment to honor Him, one day at a time, until we are fully caught up in eternity's embrace.
Prayer of Blessing
May the Spirit of the Lord rest on us--
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord--
That we may delight in the fear of the Lord.
May we be faithful to You, Lord, in season and out.
May we have the courage to plunge deeply into the sea of Your love,
Delighting in You not only when we are in control, but when You take the lead!
May we forsake all others and hold tightly to the Lover of our souls.
May our willingness to experience continuous revival in Your Presence
challenge and motivate others to leave the shoreline, press in past the waves, and experience the depths of that peace that passes understanding.
© Deborah Perkins / www.HisInscriptions.com. If you have been blessed by this ministry, please consider making a donation to His Inscriptions, to enable Deborah to continue reaching people around the world with the Word of God. Donations are tax-deductible. Donate today!
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.