Swimming Upstream

June 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By James H. Pence –

As I consider my Christian walk, I often feel like a salmon swimming upstream.

Most of us have seen videos of this amazing phenomenon of nature. These fish not only swim against raging currents and rapids, but often have to jump up small waterfalls, all to fulfill their final task in life—spawning and creating a new generation. It is an all-out effort in pursuit of a virtually impossible goal, and it takes every ounce of strength these fish have. And when their task is complete, they die.

It is a nearly perfect picture of the Christian life.

The Christian life is all about pursuing a goal. You can describe the goal in different terms: heaven, glory, holiness, righteousness, etc. As Paul described it in Romans, God’s goal is for us to be conformed to the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29). He puts it in more practical terms in his letter to the Ephesians: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Ephesians 1:4 NIV).

God’s goal—and our goal—is to become like Jesus Christ. The problem is, everything in our world runs counter to that goal.

To pursue Christlikeness while living in this world is like swimming upstream against roaring rapids, jumping over waterfalls, and fighting a constant, unending battle against a current that would inevitably take us in the opposite direction. What is worse, not only do we have to struggle against the current of the world; we also have to resist our natural inclination toward sin. At least salmon don’t have a sin nature to contend with.

Yes, this is a nearly perfect picture of the Christian life. Except that we have something the salmon don’t have. They must pursue and reach their goal, driven only by instinct and gritty determination. We have One who lives in us and empowers us daily, and He has promised to complete the work He began in us.

I often find myself discouraged in my daily battle against my own sin, against my own tendency to allow the stream to carry me away from God. But God has begun a good work in me through His Son, Jesus Christ, and He has promised to carry it on to completion.

AUTHOR QUOTE: I will finally reach the goal of Christlikeness, not because of my own will and gritty determination, but because of His faithfulness.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

Today’s devotion is by James H. Pence. James is an author, speaker, singer, and gospel chalk artist, but prefers to be known as a storyteller. To learn more about James and how he draws the stories of your heart, visit his website at: www.jamespence.com.

About James Pence

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One Response to “Swimming Upstream”
  1. Hally Franz says:

    I love this picture and your devotional! Thanks!

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