Monday, July 29, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: The Deep

That’s Deep, Man
A devotional by Voni Harris

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” –Colossians 4:5-6 (NIV)

Back in the 70s, you’d hear, “That’s deep, man.”

What does that even mean?

Deep means: real, authentic, truth.

For Christians, the word “deep” means opening your heart to Jesus, because He is “the Way, the Truth, the Life” (John 14:6). Think about the fact that He is REAL. It truly is deep!

But what does it mean to be “deep” in today’s superficial social media world?

I’ve known people who talk sincerely about never being superficial. They shy away from having acquaintances because they don’t want to be fake friends, or to have them. They don’t want to be counterfeit like some people who we all see on social media and even on the news. They want to be real with everyone.

Excellent goal.

But here’s what I think about being “deep” and “real.”

There is a time to splash with companions on the beach, to collect sea glass or play beach volleyball. There is a time to swim or snorkel with friends or family. There is a time to scuba dive, explore underwater caves, go deep-sea fishing.

The way I see it, our social world works the same way.

Some people you have simply have fun with. You talk about surface subjects. Some people you share parts of your life with, and they share theirs with you: Parenting, hobbies, babysitting, offer of help packing for a move.

Some people are your deep-dive friends, only a few. When you have a crisis, you know you can turn to them. They can turn to you. You drop things for each other at a moment’s notice. You share your deepest emotions and thoughts because they are your deep-dive friend. Or you don’t need to share them because they know you. My husband is my companion on most of my deep-diving adventures! Spouses rightfully fit into this category.

If I am being polite to the waitress, or to the stranger on the Metro, am I being superficial? No. I’m operating at surface level. I don’t know people like that well enough to go beyond nice manners. That kindness, though, comes from graciousness, which is borne in truth.

There are other folks I don’t click with personally, but we’re casual friends. We stop and talk when we run into each other at the store. Is that superficial? No. I may share a true and funny story that just happened. I am sharing my reality … without diving into my deep emotions and thoughts.

I believe when Colossians talks about gracious speech, seasoned with salt, Paul is talking about authenticity, no matter who God brings across my path or deep into my life. May we all have Christ’s wisdom in that.

Being deep and real is a matter of the heart, not a matter of the outward actions the world sees. Do you choose your clothes to show off or look cool, or because what you’re putting on shows your real personality and is appropriate where you are headed? Do you look people in the eyes and shake hands firmly because you want to impress, or because you’re showing respect to the human being you are being introduced to? Are you using perfect etiquette as social nicety or as a mask? 

In this world we live in that tends to focus on the superficial and encourage surface level interactions, what matters to those of us who want to be true, authentic, full of grace and seasoned with salt, is the heart of our outward actions.

For Christians, that means checking our hearts with God. He is God! I freely express my anger or my silliness or my praise or my love to Him. I choose to be deep and real with my Creator, the God of the Universe, the One who loved enough to save me on the Cross.

He is not counterfeit. He is the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life.

I trust Him with all of my deepest truth!

Author Bio:

Voni Harris writes from her family’s home on the rain forest island of Kodiak, Alaska.

A legal-eagle husband, a breathtaking daughter, an adventurous grandson, and two enthusiastic dogs all conspire to keep her from spending too much time at the computer.

She holds a Radio-TV degree from Drake University, and her short story “The Wedding” was published in Heart-Stirring Stories of Romance.

Voni's novel Nothing Hidden won the 2013 ACFW’s First Impressions contest and the 2015 Daphne DuMaurier unpublished inspy suspense category. 
It was also a 2018 ACFW Genesis finalist.

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