Finding Depth In A Shallow World

April 18, 2021

Finding Depth In A Shallow World

Psalm 131
Pastor Terry Wilcox

Superficiality is the curse of our age.  The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem.  The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.  The classical Disciplines of the spiritual life call us to move beyond surface living into the depths.

-Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline

The journey of a Christian pilgrim requires .

Jesus’ parable of the gardener is recorded in John 15:1-8.

Maintaining our spiritual life (our relationship with God) means reducing the distance between our and their  in God.



David’s “song of the stairway” raises two areas of our lives that require maintenance:
  1. Ambition
  2. Needy Baby Attitude



Psalm 131:1

God, I’m not trying to rule the roost,
    I don’t want to be king of the mountain.
I haven’t meddled where I have no business
    or fantasized grandiose plans.

-David, Psalm 131:1 (The Message)

What’s wrong with ambition?

Ambition requires pruning because it tends to be .

  1. Worldly ambition is to strive to be at the top of whatever you choose to be the best at.
    Worldly ambition has little concern for your goal, the  you use, or your .
  2. Godly intention is to strive to be all you can be to the .
    Mark 8:36
What pruning might look like:
  1. Check the direction of your efforts. (I Corinthians 10:31)  (Colossians 3:17)
  2. Look around you and see how the pursuit of your goal affects . (Matthew 22:37-39)


The Needy Baby Attitude

Psalm 131:2

I am humbled and quieted in your presence.
    Like a contented child who rests on its mother’s lap,
    I’m your resting child and my soul is content in you.

-David, Psalm 131:2 (The Passion Translation)

A nursing baby always wants to be fed without regard to .

Christian faith is not neurotic dependency but childlike trust.  We do not have a God who forever indulges our whims but a God whom we trust with our destinies.
– Eugene Peterson, writing on Psalm 131

A nursing baby only wants to be .

Mark 10:14-16

He said this because children are willing to , to be , to believe, and to be .

Not like an infant crying loudly for his mother’s breast, but like a weaned child that quietly rests by his mother’s side, happy in being with her…No desire now comes between him and his God; for he is sure that God knows what he needs before he asks him.  And just as the child gradually breaks off the habit of regarding his mother only as a means of satisfying his own desires and learns to love her for her own sake, so the worshipper after a struggle has reached an attitude of mind in which he desires God for himself and not as a means of fulfillment of his own wishes.  His life’s centre of gravity has shifted.  He now rests no longer in himself but in God.

– Artur Weiser, The Psalms

The journey from nursing baby to trusting, obedient child is not easy.

When Charles Spurgeon preached on this Psalm, he said it “is one of the shortest Psalms to read, but one of the longest to learn.”



In summary:  How do you progress from worldly ambition to Godly intention and from a needy baby attitude to a “contented child resting in God?”

  1. Keep your  on God and pursue excellence for .
  2. Philippians 2:3-4
    Serving others outside of the church family helps us focus on the needs of others.

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