Living Both Deep AND Wide

We must pursue a faith that is both deep and wide. Here’s why.

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.” —2 Thessalonians 3:5

My Scripture reading today came, not out of one of my devotional/reading plans, but out of the “Scripture of the day” on my Bible app. I sat down at the coffee shop, opened up the app and there it was: a Scripture of encouragement. But it was the simplicity of a three-letter word that caught my eye.

“and”

Paul, the writer of this letter to the church in Thessalonica, was trying to convey there is a responsibility with the love of God. It is not either “full understanding” or “expression” but both. They need each other; they are incomplete without the other.

Let me explain my thoughts …

A full understanding is realized when it is expressed. And expression is deepened by a greater understanding. I think of it this way: You can eat all the protein you want, but without a workout you may bulk up but not in the way you’d want. On the other side of that, you can have all of the fitness classes and patterns, but if you don’t eat right (or at all), then your fitness will be shallow at best.

Unfortunately, I’ve met people who have only chosen one part of this. I either hear about how deep they are or how active they are. They’ve chosen to put everything into one part and walk away from the other. The pride displayed is nothing more than an overcompensation for the guilt of not developing the other part.

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But the person who lives in both sides has no room for pride to drive them. You learn then you live; your living is derived from your learning. It’s like a children’s song that I used to sing called, “Deep and Wide.” You need both. You must deepen yourself with understanding and you must put it into practice. The world you live in needs you to do both. To leave people with just an understanding that you are a “Christian” is not enough. There needs to be a full expression of the person and character of Jesus.

What does that look like in your community? How does that shape your work day? How does that shape your marriage? Your family?

What next steps can you take to develop the side you struggle with? What can you do today to deepen your understanding of the heart of God? How can you express clearly what you’ve received from God?

My prayer for myself and you is this: Lord, lead our hearts into a full understanding and expression of love in the places and homes where you have placed us.

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Dave Barringer (@PDBarringer) is the lead pastor at Kalamazoo First Assembly of God in Portage, Michigan, and the author of Mosaic Marriage. He blogs about pastoring and marriage at PDave.me.