While shopping, I saw an interesting phrase on a T-shirt. It read, “Go against the flow – Any dead fish can float downstream”. That concept previously drew the attention of at least one major literary figure. Alford Lord Tennyson (1850–1892) is credited with the following line: “Remember, a dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream.”
Perhaps you have had occasions where you decided to swim against the current. You felt it necessary to go against a prevailing or popularly held opinion or perspective. I am finding in my spiritual walk that it is increasingly necessary to choose to go against the current in order to maintain my spiritual integrity.
A Christian should not be surprised by this. Jesus said, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3, NIV). The Master also advised against moving along with the crowd because “wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matthew 7:13, NIV).
In some old notes on the topic from years ago, I had written the following quote: “If in stemming a current we cease pulling the oar against it, we are carried back.” We are either moving forward in God’s high calling or drifting back. God’s word to us is as it was to Israel, ‘Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward’ (Exodus 14:15). I affirm the following statement found in Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary: “The Bible is our landmark to show us whether we are progressing or retrograding.” Because we are faced with many situations where it would be easier to go with the flow than go against it, we should heed the following scriptural advice, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
The following Scripture provides us withan important guide: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:7-13, NKJV).
Prayer: Lord, if following your teachings requires that we swim against the current, may we have the determination to do so!
~ Brother Roy