Summer growing up often meant a chance to go to the beach! On one family vacation while we were enjoying the sunshine on the beach, I took the family’s blow-up boat out into the water and lay down to enjoy the movement of the waves. I didn’t think my eyes were closed for very long, but when I opened them and sat up, I was startled to find that the gentle swaying of the ocean had carried me quite some ways from the shore. As I looked in the distance, I could just see my concerned family waving at me to come back in. Alarmed by the situation, I knew I could swim back, but to do so would mean abandoning the inflatable boat I was on. That was an easy choice! I said “good-bye” to the boat, jumped into the ocean, and started fighting against the current. As I slowly swam, I saw that the boat continued to be pushed further out to sea. Exhausted, but thankful I made it safely to the beach and my family. I did indeed get out of a spot of trouble and learned a powerful lesson that day. I realised that all it takes to be washed away by the current is to do absolutely nothing at all.
The author of Hebrews blows the lifeguard’s whistle with this warning,
For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.”
By default, many in our day without question just drift away in what is ‘current’. This easily happens by simply doing nothing at all, or by not thinking much at all, or worse still, by not believing in much at all. Sadly, in the West many Christians are indistinguishable from other people in the culture, and many go with the times, and just give into popular or progressive opinion forgetting and forsaking the truth. The old saying, “If you don’t stand for something then you will fall for anything” seems to be accurate as many people want to float with the flow, not fight against the current.
Where are the people who will take a stand and have a firm footing against the tide of our current day? Who will make a difference by being different? Who will be counter-cultural in a day where many would rather be ‘current’ than ‘counter’? Some Christians have their eyes closed as they float along with the issues of the day while all the time not realising that by doing nothing they get lulled away into the current milieu. Some will sit up one day and say, “how did I end up here, for I’m in over my head”. They will wonder about the distant shore while they sink in the soup of cultural sin.
Pastor David Platt writes,
But what if Christ commands us to make these issues our concern? And what if Christ’s call in our lives is not to comfort in our culture? What if Christ in us actually compels us to counter our culture? Not to quietly sit and watch evolving cultural trends and not to subtly shift our views amid changing cultural tides, but to courageously share and show our convictions through what we say and how we live, even (or especially) when these convictions contradict the popular positions of our day. And to do all this not with conceited minds or calloused hearts, but with the humble compassion of Christ on constant display in everything we say and do.”
Maybe the impact of your life will be made through deciding to stand for Christ and against the force of the current, and by doing so you are being different (which may well be the difference that’s needed).
Good Old Saint Pete tells the Church that we are to be different because we are different. He admonishes by calling us
… a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behaviour excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
1 Peter 2:9–12
It is important to realise the Church is always to be counter-cultural, we are to live differently because God’s mercy has made us different. Don’t just go with the flow but be a Christian who knows when to jump ship, and to swim against the current with all you got for the sake of your own life and the lives of those on the shore.