Four Stages to a Deeper Life with God
By Charles Hopkins
Published 07/6/2006 | Religion
All Christians, at one time in their life, are called to witness to Jesus Christ. When the call comes, we are guided by the Holy Spirit through the different stages which lead us to a deeper life with God.
The first stage in our journey to a deeper life with God is when we are chosen from among the vast multitudes that throng the churches and other places of worship, seeking favors from God.
Luke 5: 1 - 2 tells us: 'One day Jesus was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret while the people pushed their way up to him to listen to the word of God. He saw two boats pulled up on the beach; the fishermen had left them and were washing the nets.'
It is clear here that although the crowds pressed on him, Jesus' eyes were not on them, but turned to the shoreline, where he picked up the tired fishermen, washing their nets after a fruitless night of fishing. Just as they were oblivious to his presence, we, too, will not know when we are chosen.
The second stage in our journey to a deeper life with God is when Jesus "steps" into our life. 'Jesus got into one of the boats - it belonged to Simon - and asked him to push off a little from the shore ...' (Luke 5: 3)
Now, we will definitely see the signs that the Lord has stepped into our life, because we will be called upon to "push off a little" from the security and comfort of our life's shore. This is the time when Jesus will put us through the initial testing, to ascertain the strength of our faith and the depth of our love for him.
The third stage in our journey to a deeper life with God will come only if we clear the second stage successfully. The Holy Spirit will then open our hearts and our minds to the Word of God.
'... Jesus sat in the boat and taught the crowd.' (Luke 5: 3) The Holy Spirit will enable us to fully understand, deeply believe, and boldly act upon the Word of God.
The fourth stage in our journey to a deeper life with God will come only when the Lord is satisfied that we are sufficiently filled with the Word of God for him to use us in his vineyard.
'When he finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Push the boat further to the deep water, and you and your partners let down your nets for a catch."' (Luke 5: 4)
Pushing our "boat" further to the deep water may entail more sacrifices and less freedom in our life, but the strength of our faith, like Simon's, in the Word of God, will never leave us empty-handed.
"Master," Simon answered, "we worked hard all the night long and caught nothing. But if you say so, I will let down the nets." (Luke 5: 5)
Simon overcame his doubts, placed his trust in the Lord, and he was abundantly rewarded! 'They let them down and caught such a large number of fish that the nets were about to break.' (Luke 5: 6)