I remember going swimming at a wading pool when I was quite young. I had seen adults swimming and I was determined that I could learn to swim as well. I worked hard to imitate the kicking and swimming motions that I had seen others do, and it wasn’t long before I was doing the front crawl all over that little wading pool.
To the casual onlooker it must have seemed odd to see this little boy swimming so well. And it wasn’t until I began to swim out in the deeper water, that I made a discovery. I hadn’t been swimming at all.
I looked like I was swimming. I thought I was swimming. But, in reality, I wasn’t. I had been kicking my feet and making the stroke motion with my arms. But the whole time, my other hand had been firmly placed on the bottom of the pool. Now, as I got out into deeper water, I had to really learn to do, what I had only been going through the motions of before, I had to learn to swim.
Many christians live out their christianity the very same way. To the casual onlooker, they seem to be christians. In fact, they may even have fooled themselves. In reality though, they are only going through the motions. They copy the actions and life styles of christians around them, but they have never learned to let go and trust God. They are buoyed by the fact that they believe in a God, in much the same way that as a boy, I was partially buoyed by the water of the wading pool. They are christians because the people they are copying are christians, aren’t they? But theoretical christianity just doesn’t cut it.
Real christianity is an applied science. The problem is, that you don’t know the difference until you experience the real thing. It is a frightening thing to try to do something that you have never done before. It is frightening thing to take God at His word. No theological excuses, qualifications, and exceptions. Just to take Him at His word, and learn from Him.
The call is to launch out into the deep, where you can no longer touch bottom, where your reason, your intellect and your strength can’t carry you. Then, and only then, will you learn to swim. Then the reality of the christian life will open to new depth, opportunity and purpose.
So launch out into the deep and trust God!