Shallowishly Saved?

Daily Post: Shallow


Recently the suffix tag “ish” seems trendy enough that virtually anything can be “ish.”  Foods can be healthy-ish.  Men can be dull-ish, or dumb-ish, and apish.  Women can be pretty-ish, cute-ish, tallish, and shortish.  The whole color palette can be “ish,” greenish, yellowish, redish, etc.  Salsa can be hotish.  The water in this swimming pool can be coolish, deepish, or bluish.

Now, consider this swimming pool.  The community pool from my childhood was a rectangular shape, with a graduated bottom which went from 3 feet deep on the shallow end, to 15 feet deep on the opposite end with a diving board.  Safety to a person in this pool was directly proportional to the person’s ability to adequately manage the depth grade change.  Some managed by staying in the shallow end, and never learned how to swim.  Some went down the grade, to where their toes could bounce and skim along the bottom, while always staying close enough to the side of the pool that they held on, still having never learned to swim.  Others, having learned to swim, would walk all the way to the deep end of the pool, climb up and out to the end of the diving board, and dive deep into the cool clear water.  Belly flops, flips, cannonballs, and jack-knifes were the order of the day, but all who would dive, could swim.

In swimming there is no “ish.”  Even if all you do is dog paddle your way to the side, that’s still considered swimming (in my book), because you can keep yourself from drowning in the deep end of the pool. And you get to dive off the board.  Granted, some people swim better than others, but the fact is, either you can swim, or you can’t.  There is no “ish” in swimming.

In this same way, there is no “ish” in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This might be a little confusing in the world today.  “Christianity” (the word) means so many different things to so many different people.  Some people have called themselves Christian because they aren’t Muslim, thinking that not being one makes them the other.  Some people claim the title Christian because their ancestral tree was filled with people who attended church, so they consider they must have inherited it.  Attitudes today across the world have shifted away from “Christian” meaning a good thing, with good reasons.  There are too many gospel-ish folks out there frolicking in the pool.

Some people who call themselves Christians really are just trying to save themselves by associating with the name Christ, but having no real commitment to Jesus.  They’ve bought completely into the concept of staying in the shallow end, with their feet firmly planted 3 feet deep, and pretending to swim with others in the pool.  God does not accept this shallowish salvation activity.

Some people who call themselves Christians are more daring than others.  They creep along the side of the pool holding onto the ledge, all the while skittering along toward the deep end.  They long to jump off the board, they enjoy watching others do it.  The thrill of it motivates them toward the deep water, but their toes still touch the bottom, and their hand is still on the ledge.  They don’t know the truth, haven’t committed to the truth yet.

There is no “ish” in the gospel.  Learning that Jesus Christ demands I trust in Him and Him alone to save me, lead me, guide me, protect me, teach me, is a difficult thing to do. Yet for those who would be Christian, there is no holding back, or holding on to the past, or trying to do it yourself.  Every person who came to Jesus in Scripture was changed completely from the inside out.  Each individual was granted salvation by their confession that Jesus Christ is Lord, and professed their faith in Him alone to be their Savior.

“Ish” may be popular today, but there are none shallowishly saved.

The saved of God look exactly like the man in this picture.  They dive deep into God’s love and grace demonstrated in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

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Danger Zone

via Seriousness


The feeble attempts being made today to minimize, trivialize, make light of, or outright dismiss the seriousness of the spiritual sins of our country goes beyond the pale.  Wow, now that’s one somber statement huh?  Yes it is; it’s what I’m known for I guess.  People who know me, really see me and get me, recognize these initial thoughts as pretty standard stuff from me.  That’s because they also know that for most of my life, I’ve been more serious than silly, more earnest than carefree, and more passionate than apathetic.  It’s in my DNA for some reason.  While I’ve tried really hard in the last couple of years to realize all the seriousness can at times get in the way of clear communication, I seem to live in the danger zone of being misunderstood constantly.

I’ve looked at ways to try to stem the tide of my serious nature.  Yet, just by viewing some quotes on the internet to adjust one’s attitude, rather than becoming soothed  or adjusted, I was in some ways saddened, becoming even more serious. Here are just a few of the quotes I found:

Learn to laugh. Seriousness is a sin, and it is a disease. Laughter has tremendous beauty, a lightness.  It will bring lightness to you, and it will give you wings to fly.” – OSHO

Concern yourself with not what is right, and what is wrong, but with what is important.” – LIFEQUOTESRU.COM

Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.” – Oscar Wilde

You know my name, not my story.  You’ve heard what I’ve done, not what I’ve been through.” – QuotesGram

It’s this last quote that really caught my attention today.  This turn of phrase allowed me to conceptualize why people find me so serious-natured all the time.  Most pastors would fall into the category of “public figure,” even if they never pastored large or mega-large churches.  This is because their lives are constantly under the microscope of public (translated: congregational) opinion (translated: judgment). Having lived under this microscope for most of my life, the seriousness of my role dictated my conduct, speech, and actions… even when it was contrary to what I really wanted to say or do.  My seriousness resulted in people asking “Are you ok, you don’t look well?”  Actually, what they saw in my facial expression was not feeling ill, but concentrating so hard on what I was about to teach or preach, that my seriousness was perceived as illness.

Anyone who really knows me would never say that I was “shallow.”  Many would say, “Dr. Wilkins, why do you go on… and on… and on…” when I become seriously passionate about the importance of trusting in God’s Word instead of man’s opinions.  I laugh a lot. I’m a pretty goofy person actually, but not many people see me this way.  Not because I don’t want them to, but because they only see me when I am in the role of Pastor/Teacher.  They do not know any other me, most I believe don’t want to.

What the last two years has taught me, is to recognize “seriousness” can be a danger zone. A topic of discussion, relationship issues, interpersonal communications, emotional and psychological implications, physical responses and reactions, can all be effected by the earnest, sober-minded, DNA-hardwired approach I’ve inhabited for so long.  So lighten up already.  Chillax.  Choose your moments wisely Dr. Wilkins.  Take some of your own medicine.  Didn’t you say God’s Word teaches us: “there is a time… to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”  [Ecclesiastes 3:4]

Why yes, I did.  Thanks for reminding me. [By the way, I’m smiling right now.]