Grow Deep: It's Not What You Think Edition, Week 3
Week 3 - January 21-27
“…Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.
They immediately left their nets and followed Him." - Mark 1:16
I recently watched the movie, Tracktown. It is the story of a long-distance runner who is preparing for the Olympic Trials. Her entire life revolves around running. Her schedule, her mental preparation, her conversations, her relationships, even the caloric intake of her meals—all are based on running. She was "All In." Running was her identity, and her level of commitment frightened me a little.
I can't imagine being that invested in anything. Don't get me wrong. I have shown tremendous commitment to worthwhile causes. I devoted myself to school and earned great marks. I dove into rigorous workouts and strengthened my body. I read and practiced and observed in order to hone my skills, aspiring to be a worthy spouse, parent, friend and worker. But in all these things, I get distracted and eventually my fervor began to fade.
My faith life is much the same. God invites me into a relationship with Him that is all encompassing. The Scripture selections this week call me to commit to the Lord in an “All In” way similar to the way the runner committed to running in Tracktown. Instead, I often make small gestures such as going to church, reading Scripture or praying and rationalize that it is more than others do. But the words of the prophets, saints and the Messiah Himself describe a commitment I am not capable of making in my humanness. They show me why I need redemption and forgiveness. They show me why I need a Savior.
This week as you read and reflect, try to imagine a faith life in which you are "All In." Pray for focus, commitment and strength in your walk with God. But above all else, we all need to give thanks for Jesus, who walks beside us despite our failings. He is "All In" for us, and that is all we need. It is our identity as Christians.
Sunday, January 21
Read: Mark 1:14-20
Simon, Andrew and James drop everything and follow Jesus upon His call. They were "All In" immediately.
Reflect: What is the last thing you dropped everything in order to do? Make it a point to drop everything and pray without distraction at least once today.
For the Family: Did you ever play a game called, “Let’s Go Fishing?” The object of the game is to “catch” as many fish as you can when they come near to you. What do you think Jesus meant when He said, “I will make you fishers of men?”
Monday, January 22
Read: 1 Kings 8:54-61
Solomon prays a beautiful prayer of thanks, praise and desire for a life of focus on the Lord. His prayer asks for God to be present with His people and that they, in turn, would be wholly dedicated to Him.
Reflect: What would it mean to have a "heart fully committed to the Lord our God" (v.61)? What items are on your heart that do not belong there? Ask God to give you a clean heart.
For the Family: What do you think the word “loyal” means? What are some ways we can be loyal to God? Why is that important?
Tuesday, January 23
Read: 1 Corinthians 7:29-35
St. Paul talks of an "undivided devotion" to the Lord (v. 35) using comparisons that may make us uncomfortable.
Reflect: What lesson can you take from the lack of comfort in these verses? What truths do they speak about popular culture?
For the Family: Is it hard to “please” your parents? Is it hard to “please” God? Whose help do we need to please God?
Wednesday, January 24
Read: 1 Chronicles 22:17-19
David speaks of devotion of heart and soul in verse 19. Seeking the Lord is an act of obedience to God.
Reflect: Think of the things to which your heart and soul are devoted. Are there differences between the focus of your heart and the focus of your soul? Should there be?
For the Family: The temple was God’s special place and special things belonging to Him were brought into the Temple. Do you think of our Sanctuary as a special place belonging to God? Why or why not? Should you?
Thursday, January 25
Read: 1 Samuel 1:28; 3:1-20
Being "All In" carries great responsibility as Samuel learned in his first encounter with the Lord. Samuel hears God speak to his heart and receives Godly counsel from Eli who tells him to make himself available to God and to respond to God with humility.
Reflect: Is there a conversation that you have been avoiding? Ask Jesus to give you strength to have that difficult discussion and for the wisdom to deliver your words exactly as the Lord intends them to be heard.
For the Family: Samuel is probably a young boy when God speaks to him. How does God speak to you? Thank God for His Word and for the people who teach you about Jesus.
Friday, January 26
Read: Matthew 16:24-28
Just a few verses before this section of Scripture, Peter has declared that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus then turns his attention to His coming passion, death and resurrection. He uses the paradox in verse 25 to teach His disciples that taking up their own cross and following Him is the way to obtain true life.
Reflect: Reread verse 25. What do these words mean to you? Why would Jesus call His followers to lose their lives for Him?
For the Family: Have you ever lost a special toy or a book? How did it feel to lose it? What did Jesus mean when He told His disciples they needed to “lose” their lives?
Saturday, January 27
Read: Philippians 3:7-10
The Bible tells us that no amount of fame or fortune can come close to surpassing what it means to know Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Reflect: Have you ever devoted yourself to something only to realize it was not worthy of your time and efforts? Seek solace in Paul's words in verse 7; you are in good company! Pray that your time and efforts are devoted in the direction of pursuits that draw you to Jesus.
For the Family: The Apostle Paul says he wants to be like Jesus. He also says the way to become like Him is to get to know Him. Why would knowing Jesus help you to become more like Him? How can you get to know Jesus better?