Going Deeper with God: Nine Spiritual Plumb Lines

I defined the term, Going Deeper with God, and its chief prerequisite (the cleansing of our motives) in my last blog series. In this series I will identify nine characteristics of a deeper walk with God. If you’re not seeing these attributes in your life, there’s a reason.

Skip ahead to the last section, entitled “Five Obstacles to Going Deeper” for clues as to what may be holding you back.

Going Deeper – A Quick Review

  • God’s fountain of life lies at the depths of God
  • To find it, you must search deeper and deeper, for His depths are as deep as God is.
  • You will never arrive; you can always still go deeper with God. But, the deeper you go, the better the water will be
  • To go deeper with God means that there is a deepening of the life of God within you. Increasingly, you bear the inner likeness of Jesus and desire Him above all else

Does Your Life Show Signs of a Deeper Walk?

How do you know if you’re going deeper with God? Feelings can’t be trusted, they are way too subjective. So how do you make that call? Let me suggest nine spiritual “plumb lines.”

1. Christ-Centered Thinking and Speaking

“…Speaking out your thoughts to each other in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Ephesians 6:19, Weymouth Translation

When Jesus becomes the supreme object of a heart’s love, the thought life changes. Have you noticed that? Is Jesus on your mind nearly all the time? Do you find yourself talking to Him and praising Him more freely and naturally?

Because you also love to talk about Jesus, your conversations tend to go along spiritual lines. Although careful not to express a holier-than-thou attitude, you speak of Him every chance you get.

2. Music in Your Heart

“Let the sound of your singing, let the music of your heart, go up to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:19, Weymouth Translation

You may not have a beautiful singing voice. You may not like to sing aloud. Even so, “spiritual harmony” emanates from your heart unto the Lord, and your life radiates joy.

When there’s music in your heart, there’s no room for a bad attitude. So you don’t worry, complain or grumble when things don’t go your way. You’re upbeat and melodious no matter what the circumstances.

3. Thankfulness in All Things

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God…” Ephesians 5:20, KJV

Going deeper with God changes your outlook on diversity. Recognizing that God permits whatever touches your life, you routinely give thanks in all things.

In fact, your thanksgiving increases the longer you live. You show “increasing thanksgiving for all that He sends to you.” (Ephesians 5:20, Weymouth Translation).

Always and for all things are the key words here. They leave no room for pessimism, bitterness or self-pity. Those emotions are foreign to you because you know God well enough to trust Him with all the details of your life.

4. A Consciousness of Christ’s Presence

“At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” John 14:20, KJV

“Christ in me” is a reality. You go about your daily activities certain that God is living inside you and available to you at all times.

Because Jesus is at the center of your affections, you look for His signature on everything that takes place in your life.

You expect to hear His voice because you’ve heard it many times before. You can sense His movement because you know how He thinks and acts.

5. Abundant Fruit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” Galatians 5:22-23

In the process of going deeper with God, you become more like Jesus. Increasingly, His holy character can be seen in you as you step out of the selfishness of the flesh and into the life of Jesus Christ.

Now your concept of God is larger. You fear disappointing Him. Your desire to please Him dictates everything you do.

You are also more sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit than you were before. You hate your sin and steer far away from any thought or act that might grieve the Holy Spirit.

With humble tears, you confess your unholy attitudes. With a contrite heart, you admit to any acts of willful disobedience.

As a result, there is fruit in your life. Love and joy flow out of you, as do long-suffering, gentleness and consistent faithfulness to God.

6. Attentiveness

You see God in the little things He does, which others miss. You celebrate His little surprises, encouraging words and answers to prayer. You hear His still, small voice.

The closer you get to God, the more you appreciate His blessings and mercies, no matter what their size.

7. Perseverance

It takes great emotional energy to resist God and His purposes. But as you go deeper with God, you settle into His purposes. You learn to rest in Him.

You also learn to reject worldly thinking and order your priorities according to God’s will. That saves a lot of inner turmoil and futile mind games as well.

And finally, you learn to recognize your weaknesses and deal with them. Together, these lessons save you untold anguish and fatigue, making it far easier to persevere under the pressures and heart aches of life.

8. A Hunger for Truth

You want to taste spiritual reality. Your mind is hungry and alert for truth. Vigorously, you search for it. And once you find it, you apply it to your daily walk with God.

Your concept of God is not a tangled mess of theological jargon. It’s bright and alive—like your mind and spirit. So when it comes to hearing from God, you’re wide awake and willing to listen!

9. Supernatural Power

Power is the ability to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and thereby please Him (Colossians 1:10). It is the capacity to endure life with joy.

Purity of heart appropriates power. You have power because in going deeper with God, you have allowed Him to “clean house” in the hidden chambers of your heart.

Do these statements surprise you? Most people think of spiritual power as a “force” that comes over you like a shot of adrenaline, enabling you to overcome sin, heal the sick, and move mountains!

But power is not something you store up in a battery or dam up in a reservoir. Power meets you at the point of obedience.

It’s a steady stream of living water that flows from the presence of God.

It’s an open channel to God. And once again, the deeper you go, the purer its water.

How Much Power is Available to You?

A few years ago I read a magazine article about a new rocket fuel. The manufacturer claimed that just one gallon of that fuel “if fully released” could raise the Empire State Building off its foundation by a few inches.

The condition, “if fully released”, caught my attention. Imagine if Jesus was “fully released” in you and me!

Paul talks about that very possibility in Colossians 1:9-12. Here he lists the attributes of a Christian walk that’s on-track and going deeper all the time.

  • Knowing God’s will through prayer and study
  • Walking in a manner worthy of the Lord
  •  Pleasing God in all respects
  • Bearing fruit
  • Increasing in the knowledge of God
  • Drawing strength and therefore perseverance and patience, from His glorious might
  • Living in joyous thanksgiving

Note that in this list, one attribute builds upon the other. When you do the first five things, Paul says, God promises to strengthen you with power “according to His glorious might” (Colossians 1:11)

Do you know what God is saying here? A literal translation of that phrase might read: “strengthen with strength of every kind, according to His glory.”

“His glory” is a reference to the cross and Christ’s resurrection. God is promising to give you the same might that enabled Jesus to endure the cross and rise from the dead.

That’s a lot of power! Christ’s “glorious might” conquered all the powers of darkness, death and hell. It routed all His foes. That’s the power of a rocket when fully released. That’s a fully-released Jesus!

In going deeper with God, our quest is not for more power-for a new spiritual experience. But rather, our goal is to become less so He can become more in our lives. Why? Because power is perfected in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). God uses our weaknesses to create power!

As you go deeper with God, you will experience more and more of His supernatural power.

You will be able to overcome character flaws and bad habits. You will be able to change the way you think and behave.

When hardships come, you will have the power to suffer with greater victory and peace. And your life will impart comfort, hope and courage to others.

How Does the Power of God Work?

Immediately after broadcasting a message entitled “Mastering Your Temper” on Come Up Higher, our phone lines lit up! Hundreds of people called that day to order a tape of that broadcast.

Anger is obviously a serious problem for many Christians, but it doesn’t have to be! The power to control your anger comes from acknowledging its root-SELF. When you do, God stands ready to deliver you.

Self manifests itself in many subtle ways. Listener response to this message tells me that most people have difficulty recognizing them.

But when I exposed six subtle forms of self-life, the Holy Spirit flipped a switch, and a light bulb came on for many listeners. For the first time, they recognized the root(s) of their anger problem.

Power Flows Out of A Pure Heart

Now God’s power stands ready to deliver them. Did you catch that? His power is released at your point of weakness and humility, when you acknowledge your sin saying, “The problem lies within me, Lord. I see my sinful attitudes. I hate them. I’m unworthy to be your child. Please cleanse me.”

That’s when the power flows, not when you call out for will-power in the heat of battle-just as anger begins to well up inside you.

That’s not the way God’s power works. It’s not a fast-acting tranquilizer. It won’t cool your anger like water on hot coals. God’s power gives you the capacity to lay down your self-life and yield to His Lordship.

Check Your Heart

If you don’t recognize most of these attributes in your Christian walk, it’s time to ask why. Check your heart for the presence of the five detrimental attitudes listed below.

Five Obstacles to Going Deeper

1. Inadequacy

Are you holding back from allowing God to use you because you feel spiritually inadequate?

Hold back no more. Adequacy has never been a prerequisite for going deeper with God. To the contrary, God wants you to lean on Him alone, not on your natural abilities or spiritual gifts.

Remember what Paul wrote to the church at Corinth. “…We are not adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God who made us adequate…” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).

2. Anxiety

Worrying over things beyond your control will paralyze the nerve center of your faith. Tension not only affects your physically, it also cripples you spiritually. By keeping you in a constant state of agitation, anxiety undermines your ability to focus on Jesus, and Him alone.

3. Fear

The fear of man—fear of rejection—brings a snare by exposing you to temptations of all kinds (Proverbs 29:25).

As you acquiesce to please others, you’re likely to step outside the will of God. The fear of failure is equally detrimental. How many times have you run from new challenges and experiences because you were afraid of the unknown, or afraid of responsibility?

Fear causes you to focus on your weakness and not on God’s strengths. Yes, the depths of God are uncharted, but more frightening still are the consequences of a superficial relationship with God.

4. Bitterness

When you harbor inner resentment, even subconsciously, expect to find a blockage in your path to going deeper with God. The Lord, Himself, will put it there. He will not allow you to progress spiritually until you rout your bitterness through repentance and the cleansing of your heart.

5. Apathy

If you’re not going deeper with God, maybe you’re not spending enough time reading the Word or praying. Take a look at your priorities. What are you putting ahead of Jesus?

Steps to Going Deeper

Step 1: Remove all obstacles.

Step 2: Check your motives and cleanse the temple of your heart. (See the previous blog series for details.)

Step 3: Surrender completely to God. Acknowledge your needs and weaknesses.

Step 4: Rediscover God. A revelation of who He is will set you free from any form of bondage in your life.

Step 5: Spend time with God.