14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Eph 4:14-16 NIV
One of the things I love about paddling is the river’s ability to throw you a curve when you least expect it. You can be paddling along without a care in the world and suddenly the current or the wind will quickly take you off course. If you don’t provide some direction with your paddle quickly, things can get out of hand and you end up pushed to the shore or in the water trying to gather your belongings.
On a recent trip with students down the Colorado River, I saw the river’s ability to make things interesting up close and personal. As we were coming about a bend, a stiff headwind hit us full force, pushing us back upstream. I easily navigated the whitecaps and ripples in my little kayak and continued downstream, but some the rest of our group weren't so lucky. One boat tipped and several others were turned around and couldn’t make it any further downstream.
One thing that made the situation difficult was a lack of experience and poor communication on the part of some young boaters. As their boats stalled out in the current and got redirected, several boaters got frustrated with the situation and it undermined their ability to work together. It was a good lesson in maturity.
The Christian life can be very much like this. If we aren’t rooted and grounded in our faith, it is easy to get swept off course by the wind and the waves of circumstance and false teaching. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus, and His word written upon our hearts if we’re going to navigate the storms of life. It’s so easy to focus on the difficulties and lose our temper or start fighting those we’re in the boat with rather than working together and speaking the truth in love.
It’s my prayer that in the coming weeks and months you will continue to grow in maturity in your relationship with Christ and the knowledge of His word. May you be prepared for the tempest when it comes and be able to quickly maneuver through the swells and spray, in constant fellowship with your Creator and the community of faith He has placed you in.
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