Jeff Martell | Pastor, Spiritual Maturity
I remember one time we were down in Florida on a family vacation. My wife Marcia, son Luke, daughter Natalie, and me. Strangely, my kids don’t love the beach. But we were in Florida, so Marcia and I “made them” come to the beach with us one day. And of course, once we got there, they had a lot of fun. One of the coolest parts was seeing a pod of dolphins right off shore. They were literally swimming 12-15 feet from Luke, Natalie, and me. It was amazing
The dolphins swam around us for about 15 minutes. And that whole time we were watching them, we were facing the ocean—intently focused, with our backs to the shore—looking for where the next dolphin would pop up its head.
Marcia was on the shore sitting with our supplies on the beach. After a while, when I turned around to look for her and head back to shore, I didn’t recognize any of the people on the beach. And I thought, “Where’d she go? Did she leave? Is she messing with us??”
But as I scanned down the shore… I saw her. Down a ways. Actually, quite a ways. In the exact same spot she had been. She hadn’t moved one inch. We were the ones who moved. I wasn’t keeping my eyes on the shore, and the current had caused me to drift. It pulled me down the beach without me even realizing it.
,As I was reflecting on the day later that night, I thought, “Man, if we’re not careful, this is exactly what can happen to us in our spiritual lives.” In pastoral ministry for 18 years now, I’ve seen this happen in many people’s lives. They hear the gospel, come to trust Jesus, have a vibrant relationship with Him, have the right heart, and try hard to do right things for the right reasons. But somewhere along the way, they lose their focus. They start to drift. They start to make compromises. They start to do ministry independently. They take their focus off that spot on the shore. And it’s not just “them;” it happens to me and you too.
But just like the solution in the ocean is to simply keep turning back to the shore to focus on your spot on the beach, the solution for us spiritually is actually very simple too. And yet, if we’re honest, we often feel the temptation to get away from it. Here’s the solution to our spiritual drift: Jesus must be my focus and my anchor. He’s the one who keeps us from drifting. He’s the one who keeps us from making moral and spiritual compromises. He’s our anchor when the storms of life come our way. He’s like our compass who shows us True North. It’s incredible how quickly and easily we can begin to drift when our eyes are off our Savior. And how quickly He lovingly reorients us when we turn our attention and focus back to Him.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.Hebrews 12:1-2a
Where is your focus? What is your anchor? When the storms of life come, or the cultural currents begin to shift the sand under your feet, Who is holding you firm? May Jesus be our focus on the shore and anchor in the storm.