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Lowering the Waterline

February 12, 2015

80 to 85% of an iceberg is underwater. You only see the tip of it. There is much more going on underneath the water. The majority of the iceberg is buried underwater where we can’t see it. You would have to lower the waterline to see what is completely there. 
Suffice to say, there is way more going on in our world than just what we see every day.  

As you go to school, work, or the gym, we constantly are walking by people, making eye-contact with people, greeting people—and on the surface it would appear that everyone is doing great. But you know just from your own experiences in life that there is way more going on. 

Think about this: What if there was a way we could see what people were really dealing with? What do you think you would see? Maybe you would see a person dealing with a divorce; another person has lost their job; another person is on the verge of flunking out of school; someone else is mourning a lost loved one; someone else has no friends. For some people you might even see them considering taking their own life. We really can’t know what someone is going through just by looking at them. Let me give you a couple of stats. 

o Suicide is the #3 cause of death among people aged 15-24. 
o 4 out of 5 people who attempt suicide give clear warning signs before they do.
o Over 5 million Americans have attempted suicide in their lifetime. 

We (the church) normally don’t talk about issues like this, because they’re dark and messy. But the more I read about Jesus, the clearer I see that His heart goes out for the hurting. And if we’re going to be like Him, then we need to deal with difficult topics like this one.

See, I think sometimes we miss what it means to grow in our faith. If I asked you the question, “How are you doing spiritually?” you might answer, “Well, I’m reading my Bible, I’m going to church, I’m praying more, I’m tithing...” Which are all great things that we need to do to know Christ better but I can’t help but think that maybe there is more to growth than just these things.

Jesus tells us really simply what it means to be His disciple in Ephesians 5:1-2: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”

Be imitators of Christ. Each day, our goal is to become a little more like Jesus—not by trying harder, but by really surrendering our lives to Him and saying, “Take over, Lord.” It’s weird, but giving up control of your life to God is actually the most freeing thing in the world. 

So when we read the Bible, we don’t do it so we can check a box that says we did it. We don’t go to church so we can say, “Look, everyone! I’m a good Christian.” God uses these habits to speak to us and slowly form us into who He made us to be. You can spend all your time reading the Bible, but to be honest, your goal should not be so much to get through the Bible—it should be for the Bible to get through you.

I don’t think we are ever more like Jesus than when we are reaching out to the hurting and lonely. In fact, if we’re not reaching out to them, we’re missing the whole point of what it means to be a follower of Him.

We’re living in a world of people that are hurting like crazy, but they are carrying it all like baggage and keeping it all to themselves. Henry David Thoreau said that “most men live lives of quiet desperation”. We need to go beyond the waterline in people’s lives. Like an iceberg, much of what is going on lies below the surface. I think if we are going to be like Christ, we need to learn how to see the world through His eyes and come alongside the hurting and lonely—and give them the same hope, joy, and peace we have found in Jesus ourselves. That will take commitment on our part to ask deeper questions, look at others more closely and invest time in relationships that will allow us to speak into the lives of hurting people.


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