What do sailing a boat and growing spiritually share in common?
My family spent a portion of every summer vacationing on the coast of North Carolina. My summers were full and never boring. Snorkeling, sailing, fishing and water skiing were included. My father believed it was important for each of his kids to learn to sail a boat. When the winds were light and calm he would strap me into a life jacket, and together we would launch out on the water.
My father taught all of us three basic principles of sailing. The first was: sailing is all about dependency. All the training, effort and experience will do little good if there is no wind. Likewise, spiritual growth is not guaranteed through following techniques or gimmicks, but through daily and conscious reliance and dependence upon the ‘wind’ of God’s Spirit.
Secondly, Dad taught us that sailing is about discernment. Wise sailors look at a body of water and discern which way the wind is blowing. Sailors take note of the sky to discern whether sailing is worth the risk. They know exactly which sails to hoist to catch the wind most effectively. In the same way, spiritual growth requires discernment. Growth happens best when we are intentional about discerning God’s ways, His voice and His wisdom.
Thirdly, we learned that sailing is about discipline. Successful sailors must remain disciplined under difficult, sometimes threatening circumstances in order to stay their course. Sailing is more art than science. Winds can swirl, currents can change—even other boats nearby can affect sailing outcomes, speeds and direction. It takes discipline to trim sails or to know how to catch a breeze at just the right moment. Eventually by mastering these disciplines, a sailor discovers the exhilaration and freedom that sailing affords. Similarly, spiritual disciplines, when regularly observed, can bring enjoyment and freedom to the follower of Christ. Whatever we discipline ourselves to do in Jesus’ name in our private moments can afford us freedom, joy and confidence to live like Jesus in our public moments.
BrookLink is about to launch a busy season of ministry. The next 21 days will be spent in Southeast Asia, followed by serving with China Partner in three provinces across the mainland of China. In November you can find us in central Ethiopia.
Your financial gifts make our journey possible!
Please pray that we will model and teach dependency upon His Spirit…discernment of His leading…and the spiritual disciplines that lead to joy and freedom in Jesus.
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