A few years ago, my family and I had the privilege of experiencing one of the most peaceful sights on earth. The feel and sound of the ocean sweeping in on an empty beach. Standing at the edge of the ocean, as the water rushed over my feet, I noticed that the receding water would dislodge some of the sand underneath my feet as it left. This would cause my footing to be less sure when the next wave came ashore if I did not secure it again.
There is a lesson of great spiritual significance to be gleaned from this observation. As the storms and trials of life roll over us, though we may not be pulled under or washed away by them, they can destabilize the foundation upon which we stand. Sometimes the waves come fast and furious, or sometimes it is but a lapping at the feet. Each, however, can cause damage to the foundation of a Christian’s faith.
It has often been observed that most individuals who stray from the safety of the kingdom of Christ do not do so suddenly. It is a gradual process, sometimes over a great deal of time, that deteriorates their foundation and faith. This slow process is just as deadly as the one who is immediately swept out to sea, it simply takes longer.
In the parable of the soils (Luke 8:5-15), Jesus compares some souls to rocky ground. They grow for a while but don’t have the necessary roots and eventually fade away (Vs. 13). This soul has a problem that often goes unrecognized because it is below the surface. It is not immediately evident, but will begin to come to light soon enough.
The good news is, such catastrophes can be prevented. We generally call this type of work “maintenance.” Just as buildings, parks, and all other things need maintenance, so our spiritual lives do as well. When the ocean pulls the sand out from under you, the only way to prepare for the next round is to reset or strengthen the foundation on which you stand.
Spiritually, this strengthening can be done in many ways. Constant study of God’s Word will continue to cement the Christian’s faith in the Creator and confidence in His promises (II Tim. 2:15). Conversing with fellow Christians who are seeking to keep their foundations strong as well can help secure the faith of all involved and help support one another as the waves roll in (I The. 4:18). Consistent prayer to God will help the Christian fight through the trials of life and maintain their strength in Christ (I The. 5:16-18).
If we follow these things through to the end we will have the strength to be able to withstand the waves that are constantly lapping at our feet. Let each of us live our lives that we may not only stand firm, but encourage others to do the same.