Sunday, July 30, 2017

False Beaches

A "false beach" at Siesta Key, Florida, with my fam. 
Notice the birds' nest on the buoy in the
distance that looks like a cross...!
We dropped our bags and surveyed the shoreline. My three-year-old niece and nephew were already scampering toward the calm water. 

The water was clear, and we smiled as the twins scooped up shells and splashed in the cool ripples. Then, suddenly, he sank and fell. She took a step toward him and realized the same fate. Just a couple of feet away, my sister rushed to snatch them both up. 

The twins weren't in the ocean at all. It was an enormous pond of sea water, stranded on the beach by an expanse of sand. I looked down the shoreline and saw lots of people setting up camp along this false beach. I understood the appeal: it was shallow, there were no waves, you could see everything in the water, and the bottom was soft and smooth. 

But it wasn't the ocean.

So we stepped into the sea together, cheering with each wave we bobbed, shrieking as some crashed over us, and gasping and choking as a few knocked us underwater to the ground. It was the ocean in abundance. The full experience.

It struck me that many people live the spiritual life on a false beach. We live life near to God, but "safe" from the unpredictability of His call. We want to wade in His blessings, without having to trust what we cannot see. Without the risk of being knocked around by the waves of life. We go to church, raise our hands, talk about His Word - maybe even lead others. But unsurrendered. And unfulfilled. Because we're missing both the highs and the lows that come with submitting to the wildness of walking intimately with the Almighty.

Life on a false beach feels easier, safer, more under control. But it's not an abundant life. It's not a true walk with God. Instead, it's a sandy box that is close to God but not submitted to His power and His beauty and His wisdom. It's an illusion of a spiritual walk, because it requires no risk, no trust, no faith. And in the end, a false faith - like the false beach that the twins played in - is ultimately sinking sand.

"The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy.

I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness."
John 10:10 GNT

Pray that God would reveal to you whether and how you live life on a false spiritual beach. And why. Ask Him to take away your fears and replace them with trust, that you might walk with Him into the abundance of life. To show you joys you can't imagine, and to sustain you during moments and seasons of uncertainty and woundedness. To trust Him in ways you never thought possible - or necessary - and experience life in all its fullness.