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.