Parris and I recently went on a trip to the Virgin Islands, it was a gift given to us to celebrate our 30th church anniversary. We had a great time.
One of our outings in St. Thomas was a snorkeling trip. We asked around and found one of the favorite places to go. When we arrived it was just a “normal” beach. It was a mixture of locals and tourists on the beach, enjoying the sun and warmth just a few feet from the water’s edge. Lying on the beach, you can be unaware of the “other world” that lies just beneath the ocean’s surface. This other world has different kind of life forms living a whole different kind of life. This contrast of “worlds” and the different kind of “lives” reminds me of the contrasts that are all around us everyday. We live in a natural world with natural people living natural lives. This natural world is a picture of this carnal man, unaware of the kingdom of God all around us.
Then there is the kingdom of God, the world of the Holy Spirit. This is the world opened to us by the forgiveness of sins made available to us by the blood Jesus shed at Calvary. Through this forgiveness, we are brought to God and become aware of this other life available to us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We began to see the parallels of the kingdom of God all around us, as Parris and I entered into the ocean that day and began our snorkeling experience.
First, we saw creatures living in a different substance. In the natural world we live and are sustained in this “ocean” of oxygen. We live and breathe it and are totally dependent on it. In the undersea world, the creatures live in a different substance: they live in water and somehow get their life support through this other substance. This is just like the kingdom of God. When we are born again, we begin to live in this new atmosphere. It is the atmosphere of heaven. This atmosphere is a different substance. This substance is the love of God. This love is alive and is actually a person. This person is the wonderful third person of the godhead, the wonderful Holy Spirit. It is in Him we live, breathe, rejoice and have our existence. We are sustained and totally dependent on Him for our life.
As we continued our underwater journey, we began to see some amazing creatures. We saw a family of squids, all moving in formation, flowing in the life of rhythm of the ocean. We saw large schools of hundreds of fish with beautiful colors all flowing together with the current and flow of the ocean. Everything seemed to flow in beautiful harmony. When we are awakened to the kingdom of God, we begin to perceive a different rhythm, a different melody, a different source of life. As we yield, our life begins to flow with God. God Himself is like the ocean, too big to comprehend, full of life and purpose. As we yield to Him, we find ourselves flowing with God to fulfill His plans for our life.
At one point in our journey we came around a piece of coral and a strong current was flowing against us. We tried our hardest to swim against it but we became so exhausted and had to turn back. We wanted to see what was on the other side, but the “ocean” had other plans. Maybe you are trying to move against the flow of God. Sometimes it is better to turn back and flow with His current that to try to launch out in human effort. Exhaustion and frustration are always the result of fighting against the plan of God.
The unseen world of the Holy Spirit is a very real place. It is actually the very atmosphere that we will live in for eternity with the Lord. Today, we catch glimpses and tastes of this world that is breaking in on us. As the return of Christ draws nearer, His kingdom will increase all around us. Now is the time to launch out into the deep. There is an unseen world of God all around us. Dive into this new adventure. He has awesome plan for you.
Pastor Frank Bailey