“Stay with what you heard from the beginning….Let it sink into your life…If [it] lives deeply in you, you will live deeply in both Son and Father. Live deeply in what you were taught…Stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ.” (1:24-25, 27 MSG)
When Eugene Peterson wrote his fresh paraphrase of this passage in The Message, he used these two words—“live deeply” —where other versions (actual translations) used “remain faithful” (v 24 NLT) & “continue to live in” (v 27 NLT), “remains in” (v 24 NIV), “keep thinking about,” (v 24 CEV), “stay one in your heart with” (v 27 CEV), “continue to follow … dwells & remains in” (v 24, 27 NKJV), “keep in your hearts…” (v 24 AMP), “abide in (live in, never depart from) … (being rooted in … knit to … )” (v 27 AMP) and “lives in you” (v 24 GW). The concept of “living deeply” seems to sum up the “continually dwelling” or “remaining faithful” that’s conveyed by these others.
The message of the cross, the good news that Your Son died for me, Lord, these things I’ve “heard from the beginning” of my Sunday School years. When I keep thinking about and keep in my heart the message conveyed: “Jesus loves me this I know…,” I can let that childhood song sink into my life.
You taught me as a child of Your love for me. As a preteen, You called to me to become YOUR child. The message came through in yet another song at three different times of pivotal spiritual decisions. “The Savior is waiting to enter your heart… “ [(C) 1958 by Ralph Carmichael] is what was sung the day You washed me clean of my sins. It’s what was sung at church camp the night I admitted I’d let my devotion wane, but wanted to reassert my deep-down intention to follow You. That’s the song we sang the night, (at camp again, a year later), when I stood before You and my peers to make You a promise: to be involved in full-time Christian service. You’ve shaped that to be a simple career goal of being faithful to You WHEREVER You lead me.
In college, You drew me deeper. You heard my prayer in which I sought to understand You’re Word better. You opened “my eyes to see wonderful things in Your law” (Psalm 119:18 NIV). You opened my heart toward a quest to clarify my motives for following You. Just about that time, You brought Margaret Becker’s music into my world. Her lyrics allowed my heart and mind to express themselves: “Way beyond the things I know I will receive, I want my motivation for loving You to be just for the love, for the love of You, not for what it brings. For the love, for the love of You, let me do all things. Not for what You’ll do, but just for the love of You …” [(c) 1986 “For the Love of You” on Never for Nothing]
I’d fall down; I’d get up. I’d fall down; I’d get up…and every time Your love enveloped me. In my early adult years out on my own, You taught me of Your wonderful grace. You met me at my lowest, filled me with Your best, to take me to Your highest. As my heart sang out, “Look me in the eye, Tell me if You see traces of Yourself growing here in me. Tell me if You find Your heart in mine. I pray You’ll see Your light when you look me in the eye … “ [(c) 1991 “Look Me in the Eye” by Margaret Becker on Simple House – lyrics].
More of life happened, and You were there to help me “live deeply” in You. In the challenging times, You vividly reminded me, “Jesus will still be there…He’ll still be loving You…” [(c) “Jesus Will Still Be There” by Point of Grace – lyrics]. Then, You beckoned me toward yet another doorway. I stepped through it, motivated to be like the disciples who laid down their nets and some their lives … With eyes set on You, I resolved to go “down any road at any cost / Wherever You lead [I] will follow / Because [I] know that You’ve called [me] / To take up [my] cross / Down any road at any cost…” [(c) 1996 “Any Road, Any Cost” by Point of Grace – lyrics].
Most recently, as I continue to follow You, to live deeply in You, You’ve been vividly teaching me two truths: “Lord, You are my Shepherd and I shall not want anymore…” [(c) “Psalm Twenty-three” by Kathy Troccoli – lyrics] AND “My life is in Your hands. My heart is in Your keeping. I’m never without hope, not when my future is with You.” [(c)1993 “My Life Is in Your Hands” by Kathy Troccoli – lyrics]. The Lord of all the universe is the One who shepherds me. You care for me, guide me, protect me and bless me. You carry me in Your arms, near to Your heart. “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6 NIV)
Father, may I ever “live deeply” in You, grounded in Your Word, enveloped by You alone. Thank You for the ways in which You keep me focused on You — even when my eyes wander. Thanks for loving me and for continuing to shape me to be just like Jesus. Amen.