“If they hit those rapids, they won’t make it,” shouted our rafting guide. My wife and I were white-water rafting, and we had just come upon an overturned raft. For those who may be unfamiliar with the sport, white-water rafting is an exciting activity utilizing a rubber raft to navigate through river rapids. The classes of white water are rated from Class 1, very small rough areas, to Class 6 rapids, which due to their danger are considered unnavigable. The river we were on had Class 3 to 5 rapids.
We were rafting with a reputable rafting company with excellent equipment, including wet suits. Our guide gave us clear instruction on how to perform our duties. He taught us the proper paddling technique and how to paddle together so that we could be successful individually and collectively. For each rapid he explained which direction to swim to reach calm waters if we were to fall out of the raft. Altogether, there were seven of us in the raft, and it took each of us working wholeheartedly in one accord to keep everyone in the raft through our entire journey.
As we paddled down one section of the river, we saw that another outfitter’s raft had flipped over in some rapids. All the people were floundering in the river, and they were not moving toward the calm waters. The guide, who was sitting on top of the overturned raft, was providing no direction. Very few were wearing wet suits in the forty-seven-degree water, and many were frantically waving their arms and screaming for help.
Our guide indicated that we needed to rescue them before they reached the Class 5 rapids up ahead, or it could mean their lives. Everyone in our raft moved swiftly with unity of purpose to save those in the water. Once we started pulling them into our raft, we could see the panic in their eyes and their ashen skin. “I can’t breathe,” one gasped. Another exclaimed, “I can’t feel my legs.” We got them all safely in our raft. After having spent several minutes in such cold water, they warmed up, caught their breath, and repeatedly thanked us for rescuing them.
Just like those we rescued from the water that day, there are people in this world in dire need of being rescued from the turbulent waters of life. And just as it took all of us on the raft working together diligently, it takes the individual and collective strengths of us in the Body of Christ to rescue others in need and to bring them into God’s safety and care. As we individually commit ourselves to live for God, each doing our part, we can fearlessly advance together with like-minded believers on God’s spiritual rescue team.
Committing ourselves to live God’s Word is a personal decision that each of us makes.
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of [pertaining to] Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit [as one, spiritually], with one mind [soul] striving together for the faith [family faith] of the gospel.
Before we move together as a team, each of us chooses individually to live according to the gospel as it pertains to Christ. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament defines the words “let…conversation be” in verse 27 as “to behave as a citizen…to conduct one’s self as pledged to some law of life.” Our conversation, or citizenship, is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), and each of us can pledge ourselves to live in a manner worthy of the gospel pertaining to Christ as set forth in the Church Epistles.
On our rafting trip, our guide taught us that one of the keys to staying in the raft was anchoring our feet in the bottom of the raft. We did this by wedging our feet in the crease between the floor and the side of the raft. I could not anchor my wife’s feet for her; she had to make the decision to anchor her own feet. It is our job to anchor ourselves in God’s Word by reading and considering the Word daily, sharing of our abundance, witnessing, fellowshipping regularly with like-minded believers, and praying. By our freewill decision, we seek after the things that bring spiritual abundance and wholeness to our lives.
And they continued stedfastly [persisted] in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
And fear [respect] came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
As the believers in this record steadfastly anchored themselves in the fundamentals, their respect for one another grew, and the power of God was manifested. The end result was that many people were rescued as the Lord added daily to the Church!…
This is an excerpt from the July/August 2012 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2012 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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