The Beach – Lesson 3!
The tide is an amazingly powerful thing. The waves crash onto the beach and then as it’s going back out, the tide pulls at your legs, twists you around and moves you to where you don’t necessarily want to go. The tide was moving north, up the coast. We told our kids they could play in the water in front of us. They would have a great time. They would splash around, lay down in the water, go underneath it with their noses plugged. It was an all around good time.
From the water they couldn’t sense what was happening. And it seemed that no matter what we would tell them, it never seemed to matter. They would be playing and after about 10 minutes, they would be part of the way up the coast, not in front of us on the beach anymore. The tide was strong enough to carry our kids away. Had they gotten underneath one of the currents, there could have been some interesting moments on the beach. For my kids, it wasn’t a matter of disobedience to not stay in front of us where we could watch them, it was simply a matter of the slow fade. The tide would tug and pull at them and the natural reaction is to go with the flow. And before you know it, they were down the coast, where they weren’t supposed to be.
This was a huge lesson for me. It is so easy to fall into the slow fade trap. Haven’t you experienced it before? You get on top of the spiritual world, you are on a high, things are going great, God is good, no temptation or peer pressure can touch you. You are the on fire Christian out to change the world. But in a slow act, so slow in fact that you don’t notice, somehow that drive begins to wear off.
Or maybe your marriage is at the top of its game. No one can touch you. You and your wife are rolling through life with no problems or regrets. But something happens. Before you know it, you are fighting over who forgot to close the garage door last night. Something just isn’t the same. There was a slow fade.
We have all experienced it, haven’t we? The natural defense for slow fade is connection. Jesus says that He is the vine and we are the branches. Read His words in John 15. For those who separate themselves from Jesus, cannot produce fruit. They will not live full lives. One of the first signs of the slow fade is a lack of spending time connected to Jesus Christ. So you need to ask yourself questions like this; how much time are you spending in God’s Word? Are you reading your Bible? Are you praying? Are you connecting daily with the true vine? Or do you think that you’re such a spiritual giant, that you can handle months and months, or even years, disconnected from Jesus Christ?
Another defense for slow fade is focus. Scripture teaches that we are to remained focused on Jesus Christ, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith. We must constantly be in a state of refocusing and repentance. When we remove either of those from our spiritual disciplines list, we will begin to experience the slow fade. We will find ourselves further and further down the coast. We can so easily go from, “God is good and I will die for Him,” to, “Where is God? I thought He loved me? What’s going on?” So, where is your focus? Are you more focused on Jesus or money? Jesus or your kids? Jesus or your vacation? Jesus or your job? Jesus or your house? Jesus or yourself?
Another defense to the slow fade is to simply talk to another person. Scripture teaches us that confession to another person is good for cleansing the soul. When we keep things bottled up inside, we tend to close ourselves off to God and to people. The more sin we hide inside, the easier it is to hide from God because we feel like He won’t want to hear from us. So we begin the slow fade away from God.
So where are you on the spectrum? Are you already up the coast? Are you feeling like you’re on a high? Or are you somewhere in the middle?
What steps do you need to take in your life to prevent the slow fade from happening to you? Who do you need to talk to? How much more time do you need to spend reading God’s Word?
What examples can you think of that I’ve missed?
It’s amazing how much you can learn at a beach. What have you learned from the beach?