Thursday, June 26, 2014

Swimming Against the Current

      Recently, we had a great visit with our son Aaron, daughter in law Bonnie and their two beautiful children Aiden and Bennett.  We spent the sunny afternoon going to a water park with them and enjoying the refreshing pools.  There were many to choose from with the intention of providing lots of different water experiences.  My favorite was the "Lazy River".
     We hopped on our inner tubes and floated along with the current.  It was cool, relaxing and fun just drifting along.  As we got to a certain point, my daughter in law told me that a short distance up ahead were the waterfalls.  While we could possibly navigate through the center space between the water streams without getting totally soaked, it would be better to take the tube back to the drop off point unless I wanted to be completely soaked.  So, I decided I would take the cut off and return the tube to the starting point.  What I didn't realize is that I would have to go against the current in order to get out of the main stream heading for the water falls.  It was hard work paddling with my hands
Salmon swimming upstream
and attempting to steer my way back.  By the time I reached the small lagoon area where I could hop off, I was happy to catch my breath.  I couldn't help but think how much harder it would be if I was in a strong current like a rip current often present in the ocean.  Swimming against a current is hard work and requires a lot of effort.  The same is true in the Christian life.
     Those of us who have been Christians for any length of time know what this feeling is like.  We are going against the current of this world in its rebellion toward God.  There are pressures on us to compromise in order to keep peace or to give in to some temptation of the flesh.  However, we know the importance of continuing to swim against the flow.
      In I John 2:15-17, we learn:  "Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the word the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever."  The Apostle John here clearly delineates the difference in how the world thinks and how a Christian views things.  The world system wants gratification now.  The cry, "We are entitled to this" is rampant in society.  By contrast, the Christian has a long term perspective and awaits the coming of the Lord's Kingdom.  We are swimming against the current.
     Jesus used a perfect example of going against the current in "The Sermon on the Mount."  Matthew 7:13-14 reads:  ""Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14"For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."  Picture this in your mind.  There are many people headed for that wide gate just going with the flow.  Then, there is a small group trying to get through this crowd into the narrow gate.  They are going against the current, the popular, the acceptable, the politically correct in order to follow the Lord.  It is hard John tells us.  However, believers are called to be salt and light, and as we swim against the current, there will be others called by God who will turn around and join us in our walk on the narrow way.
     Every day, we face new challenges to our faith.  However, we have God's Word to guide us, prayer to aid us in our walk and fellowship with other believers to keep us accountable.  Through these elements of God's grace, we will find the strength to overcome the swirling tide of world views that try to overtake us.  In fact the Apostle John confirms our strength in I John 4:4:  "Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than He who is in the world."
We have overcome through Christ's death and resurrection and have His Spirit who helps us in our weakness.  Let us be encouraged as we go against the currents of this world for God has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light to bring glory to His name.  Selah!

Picture courtesy of Wiki Commons done by Robert Hines of the Fish and Wildlife Agency

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