Water is so versatile. It can sit, as still and clear as glass in a sleepy pond. It can rush, violently and chaotically over a waterfall. An ocean will overwhelm you with its vastness, and a stream will calm with its trickle. It can also flow steadily and relentlessly in a river.
I once heard someone compare the spiritual life to a river. We are in the middle, they said, and our goal is to get upstream towards a deeper relationship with God.
We are left with three options. The first is to actively swim with the current. This option is obviously easy, but we very quickly will find ourselves farther from God. The next option is much, much more difficult, we swim upstream, against the current. If we choose this option, we will inevitably be hit by debris that is being swept along by the current, our strength will fade, and we may feel as though we are not making much progress.
When we compare the two options it is clear that one looks much more attractive than the other. Now, let me be clear, I am talking about maintaining a relationship with God, not earning salvation.
The Bible is very clear salvation is a free gift of God, not something that any amount of good works can earn us. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
So, while we cannot earn our salvation, it is clear that the depth of our relationship with God is impacted by the choices that we make. We are either being conformed to the world around us or we are being transformed by the renewing of our mind in Christ Jesus. (Romans 12:2)
Our choices either bring us closer to God or drive us further from him.
So far, I only talked about two options, but there is a third. The third option is sneaky and dangerous, and it often takes us farther than we ever intended.
We drift. We just simply do nothing.
This option is by far the easiest because it requires the least amount of effort on our part. We aren’t actively running towards God, but we haven’t decided to sprint the other way either. The problem is, we are still moving.
The current is sweeping us away, sometimes quickly, sometimes so slowly we do not even realize we have moved.
My fear is that far too many people are content to just drift.
Drifting in the current may seem like an innocent enough option, but there is no such thing as inaction when it comes to the spiritual life. We will always either increase in the depth and quality of our relationship with God, or we will decrease. We are either moving closer to God or further away. There is no in-between.
Will you join me in my commitment to swimming against the current? Let’s unashamedly live for Jesus. Let’s happily live different from the current of the culture around us.
Let’s be messengers of truth and neighbors of love.
Let’s swim against the current and not just simply allow it to drag us along.