Hopefully the play on the lyrics from “How He Loves” didn’t set you off too much. And if you’re reading this, at least it attracted you to this post!
Anyways, God taught me something really powerful when I was at Myrtle Beach. I was swimming out in the ocean. Initially, I started off swimming near the shore, to where it was actually more like I was standing. Waves would accumulate and they would crash against my thighs. They really didn’t even phase me at all. So, I continued to venture further out into the ocean. As I did go out further, the waves got a little higher. The water was well past my thighs and started making their way higher up my body. The waves would accumulate and proceed to crash against my chest. By this time, the waves would actually knock me back a few steps, to where I couldn’t help but lose my footing.
Then, I got really far out. I was at the place where the under current was drawing me into the waves, and to where these waves were absolutely monstrous. The peaks of the waves were way over my head. Each wave crashed against me and caused me to tossed back. There was one wave that basically knocked me off of my feet, twirled me around underwater, and had me gasping for air. I was struggling to even stay afloat and catch my breath.
Looking at these huge waves and how they were affecting me, I thought that the further I went out, the bigger and stronger the waves were getting. But then, I stood on the shore and realized something. I realized that this wasn’t the case at all. In reality, the waves never got bigger or stronger. Rather, I simply continued to go further out and, in turn, got deeper in the water.
The size of the waves never changed. What changed was his far out and how deep the water grew as I went out further. The strength of the wave never changed. The wave that crashed against my thigh was just as powerful as the wave that flipped me around every which way underwater. It didn’t get any bigger or any more powerful. What changed was how vulnerable I became as I got deeper in.
The same is true with our walk with God and living a holy lifestyle. And I’m not talking about drinking or sex or clothing (though that may apply specifically to you). I’m talking about living like Jesus, loving like Jesus, speaking like Jesus, and walking like Jesus. It’s not that temptation to fall short (literally what “sin” means) becomes stronger. It doesn’t get bigger. Rather, it’s how deep you are in it that makes it seen that way. It’s how far out you are. It’s how vulnerable you are as you venture further and further away from God. The closer you are to God (the shore) and the more in tune with the Holy Spirit you become, the easier it becomes to stand in the face of sin, temptation, and the enemy.
What may seem like a roaring wave is, in reality, an insignificant little nuisance that splashes up against your thighs. What may leave you gasping for air at one point may be something that doesn’t even phase you at another. If we want victory over sin, temptation, and unholiness, then we must learn to stay close to shore. Because the waves may not go away, the sin and temptation may not disappear. But, the closer you are to God, the more influenced you are by the Holy Spirit, the more insignificant those waves, those sins, and those temptations will seem.
This is an excerpt from my book, “Church Kid: Restoring Your Faith After Being Raised in Church,” now available for purchase here.