Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Life Vest

So, I blogged briefly about my week at Adventure Camp this summer, as part of my job; whitewater rafting, rock climbing, hiking, etc, and all paid... I had some interesting thoughts that week, and they recently came back to me. There is some really unrefined theology in this post. I don't mean it to be entirely accurate of God, but it's mostly accurate from how I perceive God at this point in my life, and perhaps it'll spur your own thoughts to challenge and grow mine.

I was in the lake the first day we got to the camp. All the kids were doing their own thing, and us three counselors were basically okay to do whatever. I decided to go for a swim, and the lake has no official lifeguard on duty, so I had to wear a life vest. They had a ton of things in the lake; slides and obstacles and a mountain to climb (all inflatable stuff), and I did a little bit of that. Mostly I just floated around. See, the life jacket hinders your movement tremendously. Even swimming somewhere took a reasonably difficult effort. It was really frustrating, so I decided to just float for some time.
It's interesting how some thoughts can just strike you. Somehow, I started wondering about how the vest I was wearing compared to Jesus. I had a few ideas sift through my head, but nothing that made significant sense.
The next day, we went white-water rafting. Our boat guide said something that made the previous day's incoherent musings suddenly click together unexpectedly. "Now take your Personal Flotation Device (PFD) - some of you like to call them 'life vests', but we can't call them that because we can't guarantee they'll save your life. We only promise they will keep you floating..." And I don't remember anything else he said, because it was no longer relevant to the revelation I was experiencing.

Do I treat Jesus like my PFD? Did I strap him on years ago, and just expect him to keep me alive, even in the storms that throw me from a boat? See, it's one thing to have faith that, if I just lay there, he'll keep me afloat. That much is true. But if some huge rapid tears me up, and I don't fight against the dangerous sin swarming around me, it's true that Jesus will still "keep me afloat", but I won't really be living. Not the way life should be lived. Jesus will always keep you floating, but if you don't seek his wisdom to navigate the storms and rapids of life, they chew you up bad and leave you feeling pretty dead. Life with Jesus is supposed to be so much more than that! He's keeping us afloat and able to breathe, so we have to choose to pursue life, or wrecklessly drown ourselves in sin. I guess if you dig deeper into the theology of my metaphor, you might perceive that I'm implying once you have the "Jesus vest", you never lose it... I don't necessarily believe in the "perseverance of the Saints", as Calvinists call it, that salvation cannot be lost.

I am certain that Christ would rather die than lose another person to sin and death.

But God granted us free will, to choose good and to choose evil, to choose him or choose sin, and if, in our choice, we deny him... I've heard some really good questions to challenge these things in the defense of the perseverance idea: "Was the person ever truly saved to begin with?"
"Couldn't they re-accept salvation in their dying breaths, proving they never, in their heart-of-hearts, denied him?"
I don't know the answers... I just feel as though, from what I currently know about God, it's possible to lose salvation. I don't understand why anybody would make that choice, but everyone makes foolish choices.

Anyway, are you fighting to live as Christ would have (which, by the way, cannot be done unless you have Christ from the start), or are you floating around, getting smothered by the waves and expecting Jesus to keep you breathing without your actions reflecting the life he desires for you?

As always, please comment with your thoughts or reactions. There is some really rough theology here and it probably isn't all accurate, but I only aim to challenge and be challenged, be transformed by renewing my mind.

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