Before this month I had only seen the clear blue waters of the ocean in person one time while deep sea fishing and, therefore, from above the water. My family and I had the privilege of going on a cruise with my parents and my sisters’ families to celebrate Mom and Dad’s 50th anniversary. While on the cruise we went snorkeling in Roatan, Honduras and Cozumel, Mexico. It was amazing.
I am a good Louisiana boy. We have water and we enjoy the water, but our water is not blue and it is not clear. I have enjoyed water all my life. I enjoy swimming, skiing, and fishing. Yet, I had no idea the joy clarity brings. I have seen clear waters in the north where the water is clear but too cold to enjoy. This experience was eye-opening, to say the least. We often miss the beauties of life, not because it does not exist, but because the world around us is not clear. Our view is so obscured, distorted, clouded, and shadowed that we miss the beauty that clarity itself brings.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
There are reasons that water gets muddy. There are also reasons that life gets murky. Here are few things to consider if you desire to see the beauties God has created and intended for us.
- People muddy the water.
Once, as our ship sat in deep dock last week, I watched the clear waters of the Caribbean get muddied. We were causing it. The water was as murky and muddy as the waters of south Louisiana close to the mouth of the Mississippi, but it was not because of nature. It was muddy because of people.
We muddy the water when, we as Christian, want salvation to be salvation but we are not willing for sin to be sin. The problem with this type of misguided grace is that the person who will not call sin sin has no moral authority to call the Savior Savior.
When it comes to sin, there are no excuses and no exceptions. Wrong is wrong. Right is right.
The issue is not a lack of truth nor a lack a clarity in Scripture. The problem is rejecting truth. The majority of people who confess to follow Christ but reject absolute truth rarely have the audacity to say they are rejecting Scripture. They find convoluted ways to interpret around everything so they can either excuse their own sinful behavior or they can make an exception for the sinful behavior of someone they love.
Here is the problem and it is a big problem for those who confess Christ. This problem is a Gospel problem.
When sin has excuses and exceptions salvation is extinct. One cannot believe nor profess a salvation that is unnecessary. One cannot be saved from a lack of peril. Once you become the person who is excusing around and making exceptions for sin, you become a person who has lost the Biblical foundation to profess personally or proclaim publicly salvation. The Bible is either “God-breathed” and “useful” or it is not. Once you surrender moral ground by making excuses and exceptions for sin you give up the ethical ability to use Scripture to proclaim anything as true. If you are unwilling to proclaim the holiness of God clearly found in Scripture, you have no ethical ability to use Scripture to proclaim his love either.
You have muddied the waters. The beauty of God’s love and grace still exists. The problem is that you nor anyone around you can see it…and you are to blame.
- Dirt Floats
We live in a world muddied by sin. If you have ever been in the Gulf in south Louisiana you are well aware of the reality of mud. The Mississippi River brings a great deal of power, industry, and beauty all of its own. It is also bring a lot of dirt…and dirt floats.
Christians who want to pretend the world we are living in is not dirty have lost their way. Jesus instructed us not to love the world, nor the things of the world. Our world is lost, broken, and dirty. It is so dirty that dirty is no longer considered dirty. It is normal.
I have never been bothered by the dirt in the water, and I doubt I will in the future either. I am quite accustomed to it. It is the only type of water I have known in my life. I will still go to the beach and play in water I cannot see through. I will still jump into the lake, pond, creek, or river I am at and enjoy the waters. Truth is, I have never even considered the water dirty. It’s just water.
Now I know the truth. I have seen clear water in a way I had never seen it before. It will not cause me to have new fears of being in muddy water. It will not rob me of my ability to enjoy the waters as they are. It will, however, inform and enlighten what I see – and what I do not see.
We must quit using dirty water as a metric to determine whether the water is dirty or not. The fact that someone feels happy living in sin does not make it right. Just because a person feels something wrong feels right does not make it right. The reality that there are people who are so accustomed to and conditioned to the sin of this world that they feel it is clean and good, does not make it so.
We, as followers of Christ, must learn how to live in a dirty world without fears, without excuses, and without exceptions. There are dangers in dirty and clear waters. We see them better and can prepare for them in the clear waters, but that does not mean we are supposed to stay there. We are to be in this world but not of it. Accepting the world for what it is and loving people as they are does not require giving up the clarity of truth. It actually requires to bring the clarity of truth into the dirty waters with us.
Dirt floats, people. We live in a sinful world. Christians must accept and speak the standards of Scripture without exceptions or excuses. Rejecting truth means rejecting the Way and the Truth. You cannot accept the world’s standard for sin and the Bible’s standard for salvation. It’s one or the other.
People need to see the beauty of God’s love and grace clearly, but they must see holiness and righteousness just as clearly, or they do not see God at all. You are not making the world a more beautiful place by making excuses and exceptions for sin. You are muddying the water.
So dive deep into the truths of God found in His Word. Let them be what they are no matter how much they hurt or how close they hit to home. You will find the path more clear even if it is not clean.