Rocks, stones and a high tide were the reason we failed. Or at least, that’s what we told ourselves!
We were on Paradise Beach, located on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. We were scrambling around with a heavy bag that contained our snorkelling gears, our towels, our sunscreen and anything else tourists might need while on the beach. Our destination was Hog Island Lighthouse, a picturesque lighthouse at the westerly end of Paradise Island.
We weren’t progressing very quickly, however, and we blamed our lack of an appropriate pace on our heavy bag. When my youngest son decided he’d rather go snorkelling than visit the lighthouse, we gladly deposited the bag on the sand and left him as its guardian. Our progress was now much less hindered, and we quickly reached the end of Paradise Beach. The lighthouse was still a long ways off, however, and between us and it was a long section of rocky cliffs. No problem. My wife and older son are born mountain goats. They would show me the way! And we quickly covered about a third of the distance. Then we came to a section of rock that had no way around without wading. That’s when we realized that the tide was rising!
I stood for a moment, looking longingly at the lighthouse. Was it really worth the trip? We wouldn’t be able to go on without getting our feet wet, and there was still a long stretch of cliffs and rocks before reaching Colonial Beach on the other side. Naturally, the lighthouse was on the extreme end of the beach. What if the tide rose so significantly while we were visiting the lighthouse that it covered all of the rocks? How would we get back? Would our belongings still be there? And what about our snorkeler? Would he start to panic? We quickly determined it wasn’t worth the risk, and with our tail between our legs, we began our retreat to safer ground, back in the direction we came.
We never succeeded in reaching that lighthouse. Although we blamed the cliffs and rising tide, the real reason we didn’t attain our destination was that we weren’t willing to leave behind our goods! (Or our son, for which he was very grateful!)
Reflecting over this incident, the following text comes to mind: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Matt 13:44 NIV)
If we are not willing to get rid of all the junk that hinders us from reaching our heavenly destination, we will never get there!
Is this why many believers lead disillusioned lives? Some are standing with one foot in the church and one in the world, as they try desperately to continue nourishing their sinful appetites. Why are they leading a life of defeat? Is Jesus less real today than 2000 years ago? Or is it possible that we are not willing to let go and let God? Are our worldly passions more important than the One who died for our sins?
We cannot go on if we are sitting on the fence. We need to make a decision and be willing to part with what ultimately will hurt us for eternity: “You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matt 6:24 NKJV)
The apostle Paul urges us to burn our bridges and leave our past behind. “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14 NIV) Our focus should be on what is ahead of us: The prize that awaits us! Only then will we be filled with heavenly adrenaline! Only then will we be victorious through the One we have started to trust!
Are we willing to part with our pet sins? Are we willing to give Jesus a chance? Let us be aware that we are dealing with an enemy that wants our destruction. As partners with God, our part is to resist the one called “the father of lies” (John 8:44), resist when temptation looms, realizing that it is not to the best of our interest. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8)
That is our only part: Resist the evil one and start trusting the One who willingly died for our sins! Only then will we truly experience God’s grace and victory. Only then will we wonder why we even struggled with those disgusting distractive evil insignificances of our life.
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10 NIV)
Are you willing to reach your destination? Or do you prefer to remain behind?
The Hog Island Lighthouse sure looks worthwhile!
What is your choice?
(To access the entire “Heavenly Hash” devotional series, please click here.“