Forgive me this week if I make several analogies about oceanlike things and places. It’s just that the ocean is full of great lessons about our God. He made it and He uses it, as in all His creation, to teach us spiritual truths. Romans 1:20 With no further ado, let’s stroll along the oceanfront!
Every day as we walked on the beach during vacation, there was a danger lurking. You really have to keep your eyes on the path before you, lest you step on one of the MANY jellyfish that have washed up on the seashore. Spite the fact that they may be dead, they still have the ability to sting and cause real pain!
One day while we were out strolling, my husband had his eyes on the ocean. I looked up just in time to see him about to step right on one of the washed-up sea creatures. I called his name and he did a sidestep number that would make Fred Astaire take a back seat! Yes, I laughed at him! But my point is, the danger of the washed-up jelly fish is so great, that it makes you do crazy (and funny) things just to avoid them!
I looked at those jelly fish every single day. Poor guys! They could have been out in the ocean doing what jelly fish do – but they got caught up in a wave and were now rendered pretty useless, except for hurting unsuspecting passersby.
It reminded me of church members and Christians. We have the opportunity to be a part of something glorious – the Church! But if we’re not careful, we can get caught up in waves that will toss us out where, instead of being useful, we only hurt the cause of Christ instead. What are some of those dangerous “waves” we might get caught up in?
- Putting our eyes on people. People will let us down; we must keep our eyes on Christ!
- Being resentful of the Truth. God loves you enough to confront your sin. Confess it and get right rather than thinking it’s a person who’s against you. If you’re being disobedient, God’s Holy Spirit will convict you. God uses pastors and teachers to guide us to the truth. Don’t be stubborn, but tender-hearted.
- Getting burned out. Don’t try to do everything or serve in every ministry. Give yourself time for a breather. If you teach Sunday school, take time to be in the church service so you can be fed. If you’re going to help in the nursery, make it Wednesday night.
- Listening to gossip. Satan is out to destroy the ministry of the Church. Remove yourself from people or groups who tear down the Church or its leaders.
- Getting discouraged or hurt. Life is full of hard situations, and sometimes it can be people or happenings at church that are most painful. Be mature in the Word and apply God’s comfort. Forgive. Move on.
Remember that in any of these situations, the tendency is to strike out – just like the jellyfish – and hurt others. We want tell what’s happened to us, how we’ve been hurt or mistreated. Instead of swimming along in the deep waters of God’s love, we’re dried up and hurting those that will stop long enough to step our direction. The sad truth is that we’re also hurting the testimony of the Church and hindering lost people from trusting Christ.
Let’s learn a lesson from that dried up jellyfish and determine not to let that happen to us. Let’s keep swimming, and keep fulfilling God’s will through the vehicle of the Church! Swimming is lots better than stinging!