Shallow vs Deep Belief


Professing disciples of Jesus have always had various depths of belief in Him. Every professing disciple probably thinks that their belief in their Savior is deep, but such is not the case. There is a clear example of this truth in John 6, known as the “bread of life” sermon.

The crowd on that occasion was composed of 3 different categories: average people, professing disciples and THE 12 DISCIPLES. Just the day before Jesus had fed 15,000 people a feast of bread and fish. (5,000 men) The next day many from that crowd followed Him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. There Jesus confronted them with the truth, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” That clearly pointed out that many either had an extremely shallow belief or no belief at all.

Then in 6:27 Jesus began His effort to raise their focus from the physical to the spiritual. “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.” Jesus continued this effort for most of the remainder of chapter 6.

In that attempt, Jesus used 3 illustrations: bread, His flesh and His blood. Remember that He was speaking to some people with no belief in Him, some with a shallow belief and some with a deep belief. He basically tells them all: 1- Eat the bread of life; 2- Eat my flesh; 3- Drink my blood. This is where having “spiritual eyes” enters the picture.

Those that used their physical eyes that day and considerd every word of Jesus to be literal, could not have been more confused and totally missed His point.

Fortunately Jesus left a trail of breadcrumbs to insure His point. In verses 29, 30, 35, 36, 40 and 64 Jesus made it clear that His main point was the issue of BELIEVING in Him; not bread, not His flesh, not His blood. And the bottom line truth was 6:64. “But there are some of you who do not believe.”

In spite of feeding them all the day before, in hopes of leading them into deep water believing, some still did not believe. They couldn’t get their eyes/hearts off of the physical.

Then the saddest scene of the day came to pass. “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.” Notice it says “disciples”. Now these weren’t the Twelve, but they were professing disciples who believed that they deeply believed in Jesus. However, when Jesus pushed the envelope, they discovered that a deep belief in Jesus was more than they were looking for. They were content with a wading pool belief; Jesus was not.

Maybe every one of us needs to ask Jesus to show us in which part of the believing pool we live. Wading? Waist high? Chin high? The deep end? Believing obviously comes in various shapes and sizes. Also true, Jesus does not accept shallow believing. Only deep water believing is acceptable to Him.

Prayer: LORD Jesus, if my belief in You is deep water believing, I owe it all to Your grace. If my belief is in the wading pool, please show me and accept my repentance. If I’m stuck somewhere in the middle, please help me out of mediocrity and enable me to swim to the deep end. That is where I want to live for You. Amen.

Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at