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Gowing With The Flow?

Going With The Flow?

       As we travel through life, what path do we take? Are we inclined to take the easy way? Water does. Pour water onto the ground and it will follow whatever path the ground provides. As creeks, streams, or rivers come into contact with an obstacle, the water simply flows around, under, or over any object in its path. Other things of nature could be used as an example, but this one is familiar to all. As water flows, it goes; and where it goes matters little unless it causes a problem. If that is the case, it can be diverted by placing some sort of barrier in its way to change its direction, and it flows on. Where it ultimately ends up doesn’t matter much as God recycles it and it flows again. 
      Man also often seeks the path of least resistance. Most look to avoid the path that is arduous, and in so doing, goes with the flow. Some do so to please others. This may be the ‘easy way’, but where does this lead? What destination is expected? The difference between man and water is that man’s destination is a final one. The ‘path’ we take leads somewhere eternal. We too may have obstacles or barriers in our journey. Another huge difference between water and man is that man can choose his destination.
      As Jesus spoke to His disciples on the mount beginning in Matthew chapter five, He had much to say. He spoke ‘Pentecost Pointers’, directing them to the time when the church was to soon be established. As He neared completion of the Sermon on the Mount, He stated in Matt. 7:21 - Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Man has choice. Whatever time he is granted on earth is to choose the place he will spend eternity. To ‘go with the flow’ is to follow the crowd. If one simply follows the crowd, should it surprise them if they end up where the crowd ends up? Does it stand to reason that the “crowd” is always right? Man can at times be likened to the Leming, who inexplicably follows his kind to mass destruction and leap to their deaths.
      The logic of many folks is faulty. Many people contend: “Everyone is doing it.” Others reason: “if so many are doing (or going) . . . how can it be wrong?” What does the Bible say about this? As God had Moses speak to the people He had separated out in keeping His promise to Abraham, He directed Moses to say in Exo. 23:2: Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil;. Israel often went with the flow and often participated in evil individually and en masse (in a group or all together). Of course, there was always a ‘remnant’ who went against the flow and continued to follow God and His Word.
     As Jesus was preaching in that Sermon on the Mount, in Matt. 7:13-14 He warned that there were two ways to go and that each had a destination. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.    There are many who choose to pursue the same path as the masses, as this is the easy way. This way seemingly has less ‘friction’ and less opposition here on earth. The Lord said ‘many’ participate in this way. Notice the fate of those who follow the crowd.
     The word “strait” is another word for narrow. It is used in reference to water as the place where two seas come together. This word is also sometimes used in reference to a situation characterized by a specified degree of trouble or difficulty: For instance, an idea that should be familiar to us all at present. "Our economy is in dire straits" or (having much difficulty). From this usage, many have concluded that the Words of our Lord in the above passage means “hard” or difficult. This is also because to ‘go against the flow’ is indeed difficult. The Word ‘strait’ in the Bible carries both ideas. The way is ‘narrow’ as the Lord declared, but perceived as difficult at the same time because life presents many barriers to the one that refuses to go with the flow.
      This is true in many cases in nature as well. Salmon comes to mind. As these fish seek to carry out their ‘purpose’ of life, they are presented with many things which make their journey difficult. They cannot choose as man does, and God provided them with instinct to live and die as they do. However, the ‘path’ they take as adults can serve as a valuable example to man. The purpose of Salmon is to go as God created them to spawn in fresh water, and then die. Their young will make the trek to the sea, mature and begin the arduous trip to spawn young and this is where the greatest difficulty lies. The life of a Salmon is fraught with peril. As a youth, it may be ‘eaten’ as it makes journey to maturity. It may also be snared in the fisherman’s net. But as it strives to fulfill its purpose, this is when it becomes the hardest. 1) It must travel upstream (against the current). 2) it must travel ‘uphill’ to the spawning area. 3) It faces death by hungry bears or other wildlife. Yet, against all odds and opposition, success is achieved through perseverance. Finally, once its objective is reached, it has given its all, and it dies.
      With man, the journey to spiritual success is ‘against the current’. It is indeed ‘uphill’ as we face opposition from those going with the flow. And as we read in 1Pet. 5:8, we also have an enemy, (the devil) that seeks to devour those going against the flow (following the Lord). Eccl. 12:13 gives man’s “whole duty” which is to “Fear God, and keep His Commandments”.  This is against the flow of much of humanity. Are we going to be likened to Lemings or Salmon? We should remember, our path leads to our destination. Are you ‘going with the flow’ or serving God in accordance with His Word

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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