Just recently, my family and I went on a 7 day Caribbean cruise. It was amazing to see the blue water and beautiful scenery. We even got to see dolphins jumping and playing out in the middle of the ocean. It was so much fun to see them out in the wild like that rather than in a tank at Sea World.
One of the ports that our ship visited was Cozumel, Mexico. We spent the day at a beautiful beach. Our son and daughter parasailed and rode wave runners…but there was another interesting activity that we saw also; water ball walking. The picture above gives you a pretty good idea of what it is. We looked at that and immediately began to think of the negatives about such an activity; getting hot and sweaty, feeling closed in, having to touch the sweat of the people who had been in there before you! Yuck! As you can probably predict, we didn’t participate in this particular “sport”.
We enjoyed several hours there and then headed back to the ship to shower and get ready for dinner…the food is dangerously good on those ships! Anyway…I haven’t given that “water walking ball” any more thought, until today. Now let me go on what might seem like a rabbit trail for a minute, but I promise I will come back to this ball thing 🙂
Over the last couple of days I have really been thinking about God’s grace and the law, which is what we would refer to as “The Ten Commandments” Now I don’t have time to go into a full-blown lesson on the Mosaic Law and the grace of God. I don’t comprehend it fully myself, but I would like to touch the tip of the iceberg for a moment.
We know that according to Romans 3:20-22 that no one is made righteous by trying to keep the law, (by trying to be perfect), but that the reason the law was given was to prove to us that we can’t keep it and to make us aware of our sin. The reason? So that we would recognize our need for a Savior, (Jesus) and so we would come to understand that true righteousness ONLY comes by trusting IN HIM, IN CHRIST as our Savior; not by DOING a bunch of good stuff. You may be wondering why I keep italicizing the word righteousness…I did it again. The reason is because I want to tell you, in plain English, what it means. That fancy word “righteousness” means nothing more than “right standing” or “right relationship”. So when the bible says that no one is made righteous by trying to keep the law…it just means that no one will reach a place of “right standing” or being in “right relationship” with God by trying really hard to be “good”or by doing “good” stuff. It’s impossible. There is nothing wrong with doing good stuff, but we can never DO enough to be perfect or take care of our “sin” problem. If you could, you would have already done it! If you’ve ever told a lie or sassed your mother or father, or stolen a piece of candy, or even wanted what belonged to someone else (their position, their power…or even their purse!), then you’ve failed at keeping the law…or being perfect…now it seems pretty hopeless, doesn’t it??? BUT…I have good news!
Jesus came and lived a perfect, sinless life, keeping every point of the law, because He knew we couldn’t do it. This was God’s plan. Jesus then became our substitute on the cross when He, knowing no sin, became sin for us and took the punishment of that sin, “so that we could become the righteousness of Christ Jesus” (2 Cor 5:21) To become the “righteousness of Christ Jesus” simply means to come into “right standing” or “right relationship” with God…IN HIM. That’s why Jesus said,
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Matthew 5:17
Back to the ball…(I know it seems crazy, but stay with me)
We immediately looked at the negatives of being in the ball, but we didn’t look at the benefits. While in the ball, I get all of the advantages and get to take on the identities and properties of the ball. I can defy natural laws of physics as long as I stay in the ball. If I try to walk out on the water on my own, I will sink immediately. If I am in deep water, I can only keep my head above the water for as long as I have strength to tread water, but when my strength runs out, I’m going down. However, if I’m taking a walk in the ball, I’m going to glide right over the top of that water. Twenty men could shove it under the surface of the water, but it would just pop right back up again! Shoot, if I get tired, I can lay down in the ball and rest and still stay afloat. If the water gets rough and the waves get to high, without the ball, I can easily be overtaken by the waters that surround me and threaten to push me under while tossing me to and fro, leaving me at the mercy of the storm and impossible to breathe. BUT, if I am in the ball, I may be tossed around, but I will not go under and I can stay on top of the storm and ride it out. Though it may be scary and I may not have much control, I’m cocooned safely inside until the storm is over.
The same holds true for us in life if we are IN HIM or IN CHRIST. We may get tossed around, but we won’t go under. We may get tired, but we can have “peace that passes understanding”(Phil 4:7) and lay down and rest if we realize that we are IN HIM! When we decide to depend on our SELF to get through a tough situation, our ability to stick it out is only as good as our human limits and human strength. But, if we remember that we are IN CHRIST, then we can trust the scripture that says, “I can do all things through (IN) Christ who gives me (HIS) strength.” Philippians 4:13. If we feel that life has us down and we just can’t go another round, remember, “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 When we are IN HIM, we have benefits and advantages that we don’t have when we are on our own. We will still encounter hard times, but being IN HIM is like a shelter from the storm. No longer do we have to live under guilt and condemnation because Romans 8:1 says “Therefore, there is now NO condemnation for those who are IN CHRIST Jesus.
Begin to really think about these truths and let them begin to permeate you. See how many of these scriptures you can find that talk about who we are and what we have when we are IN HIM. You can even go to google and look up “In Him Scriptures”. The next time you begin to feel as if you don’t measure up or that God must be displeased with you, or that you don’t know how to make it one more day, go to the Bible, meditate on these verses and get a visual of the water walking ball and remember that you are IN CHRIST and that nothing can take you under!