Ezekiel recorded a vision of stages of an ever-deepening walk with God.
He led me through water that was ankle-deep… (then) water that was knee-deep… (then) through water that was up to the waist… but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. (Ezekiel 47)
How could there not always be an ever-deeping fellowship with the eternal God? Yet so many Christians seem content to splash around in ankle-deep water and not many wade in far enough to lose touch with the river bottom. Are we willing for God to sweep us off our feet?
Who among us even wants a River un-crossable? Aren’t we more comfortable with something a little bit more manageable, a little less formidable–– something a tad more comprehensible? When we realize that he’s a River too deep and too wide for us to cross, don’t most of us turn around and scamper back to shore?
Ankle-deep Christians are those just testing the water. Knee-deep is when your goal is to receive some refreshment from God while keeping your feet on the River bottom. A lot of Christians are content to dip their cupped hands in the River, take a sip, splash the rest on their face, and call it a day. They feel refreshed, but not for long. They don’t go deeper but their mouth is rinsed, their hands are cleaner, and their face refreshed.
The waist-deep Christian further in but is still only half-wet. They go in up to their waist, knowing they can always get out at will and go home and change clothes.
Jeanne Guyon said, “Think of a bottomless sea: Anything thrown into this sea will continue sinking without reaching the bottom. God’s love is like a weight within us, causing us to sink deeper and deeper into God.”
A lot of Christians are standing ankle, knee, or waist-deep studying the next step. They’re looking out over the whole River and wondering what it would take to go deeper. One thing is for sure. It takes an increasing surrender of our control, and risking trust in the control of Another. It means, unless we panic and go back toward shore where we have more control, we go where The River goes. If we do decide to all in, it will affect everything. At that point we’re beyond the testing stage, we’re immersed, dunked, we’re baptized!
This speaks to how deep (or shallow) we are relative to where we ourselves ought to be, not relative to anyone else. Though it’s no competition amongst ourselves, we should each possess a passion to go as deep in God as we possibly can in this life, till the day we’ll be utterly immersed in all that he is. If not for ourselves, for those who dive in next to us, must we be content with nothing less than the deep end!
“Every Christian will become at last what his desires have made him. We are all he sum total or our hungers.” A.W. Tozer