Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fighting Against the Current

     Our family recently returned from a wonderful beach vacation where we had a chance to relax and enjoy God's beautiful creation.  While the weather was beautiful every day, we were mindful of the possible hazards that the ocean presents especially with small children.  One of those concerns are rip currents which can quickly develop even on calm days.  These streams of water can pull a person out from the beach quite a distance
 before the grip of the current weakens.  If you are not a good swimmer, it can be a very scary experience or even a deadly one.
     Experts tells us that if we are caught in one of these fast moving currents, we are to swim parallel to the beach until we are able to gradually swim back to shore.  Allowing the stream of fast moving water to take us far out can mean a long swim back to shore so the earlier we can begin a parallel move along the shore, the more quickly we will be able to break free from the current.  No matter what we do, we
should not panic either.  This is non-productive and leads to exhaustion.  Keeping our head in this situation can keep us alive.
     Fortunately, on this trip to the beach, there were no serious threats from rip currents, but we remained vigilant none the less.  As I reflected on our blessed time away, I could not help but see the similarities to our Christian life in these days.
     Our culture, like a rip current, can suddenly throw a curve at believers causing them to lose their balance and carrying them far from the safety of the shore.  Recent decisions by the Supreme Court along with the drift away from the Christian heritage that brought the Pilgrims to this shore can make anyone panic.  Yet, Christ calls us to embrace His peace which the world cannot receive.  Instead of fear, we need to stand firm for the faith that our forefathers fought for so bravely.  Our Lord told us in John 14:27:  "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."    These words of comfort are for the ears of all who trust in the Lord in the face of a cultural rip tide which is quickly sweeping moral laws aside.  It can look bleak, but we must remember that God works all things together for good.  He is not surprised nor is He idle.  Behind the scenes where we cannot see, God is at work.  Our job is to obey and be the salt and light to this world that Christ has called us to be.
     A prime example comes from the Book of Acts.  Peter had been teaching and performing miracles in Jerusalem such that many were coming to faith.  The Pharisees and Jewish leaders wanted Peter and all the disciples to cease and desist from teaching about the Lord.  However, this did not happen.  Peter responded to their complaint in Acts 5:28-29:  "…28saying, "We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man's blood upon us." 29But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men."  I am certain it would have been easier to go along with the cultural mandate, but Peter knew he had to be faithful to God first and foremost.
     Quite often, I believe, we forget that Peter lived in pretty turbulent and difficult times himself.  All of Israel was under the watchful eye of conquering Rome, a decadent pagan society.  Many believers would face crucifixion or be torn apart by lions in the Coliseum.  Still, they remained faithful to the call of Christ.  This is what God has asked us to do, as well.   Our call, like theirs, is to stand on the truth of God's Word proclaiming His love for sinners, and not yielding to the rip tide of culture.  If we swim parallel to the shore, we will break free of the grip of the tide that wants to stamp out our voice.
When the time is right, our Savior, Lord and King will return to establish His Kingdom.  Until that day, we are to occupy the land girded in the armor of the Holy Spirit and willing to tell others  about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  This is what we have been called to do for His glory and our enjoyment forever!  Lets not get caught up in the culture.  Lets get caught up in Christ!  Selah!

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