Free to Swim
By Gary Amirault
Recently, I did a bit of snorkeling in the lake behind our house. When the water is not too disturbed by storms, one can see faintly perhaps as far as about eight feet away. I had a pair of swimmers goggles on, which somewhat limited my peripheral vision. All of a sudden a piece of moss came floating by very close to my eyes. Because my focus was on the bottom which was a few feet away, I didn't at first recognize it for what it was and became frightened. When I saw what it was, I was embarrassed. Thankfully my wife wasn't watching. She would not have let this incident pass without making fun of me for many weeks to come. You see, I used to kid her quite a bit because of her fear of swimming in the lake. She had one frightening experience as a child and heard too many scary stories about swimming in lakes to feel comfortable about getting in one. Fortunately, in recent years she has overcome much of her fear.
As I contemplated about my fear, I began to think about some of the anxieties people have about swimming, I began to see a similarity in what causes one to fear swimming and one's fear about God and swimming the waters of the Holy Spirit. I noticed that my reaction of fear to the moss came about because of my impaired vision. The goggles removed about 30 percent of my peripheral sight. I also noticed that because I could only see about eight feet ahead of me, this added some apprehension to my senses which put me in a state to react more quickly out of fear.
Our lake does have snapping turtles and snakes in it which could possibly cause harm. There is much less likelihood of this happening than going for a drive in my car. But I drive in my car everyday; I don't go snorkeling everyday. And so, because of not being used to the water environment, my fear was activated more easily.
I was on a raft when this occurred. If I didn't have the raft, my fears probably would have heightened. If I was in the middle of the ocean my fears probably would have increased even more.
Now if I had perfect vision and saw that piece of moss coming towards me at a great distance away, I might be frightened by it until I recognized what it was. Once it became clear enough to identify it, the fear would be dispelled by recognizing it as an object which will not harm me. The greater my vision and the more confidence I have that there is nothing in my environment which can cause me harm, the less likely I will be to react out of fear.
Man is swimming in a lake much larger than the lake behind my house. As a matter of fact, mankind is swimming in a body of water much larger than all the oceans combined. Compounded with the fact that man has been told many horror stories of all the dangerous things that can happen to us while we are swimming in this body of water, it is not too surprising that mankind is held in bondage to fears of all kind. The awful stories which are told about all the potential evil which can come upon us in the swim of life usually come from the religious folks. And the most dangerous thing to watch out for in this vast body of water, according to these religious folks, is the one Who owns the water, God, Himself.
Now the vision of much of mankind is very impaired, most not being able to see past their own noses. Many of those who "claim" to be able to see further, have come back with many horror stories of how difficult it is to survive in these waters. The horror stories are so bad that few dare embark into these dangerous waters. Most camp around someone who is building an ark which will give them safe passage. It's too dangerous to swim these waters. It certainly would be foolish to go out beyond the horizon, out of sight of the view of the ark. Mainline denominations usually don't even allow one to leave the beach. Even touching the waters could cause one to become insane. There are many stories around about what happens in "Holy Roller" meetings. The born-again sects give you one good dunking, but only while a pastor holds you. The Charismatics let you splash around once in a while, only for a little while. Of course in all of these camps, most of the time is spent building the little arks which hopefully will hold up when the big wave comes. Very little time is spent learning how to swim. They are told just how far they can travel from their ark. If one strays too far away, when the water rises they will not be able to get into the ark (denomination) and cross this water safely.
As long as man fears God based upon the superstitious wives tales spun by the blind leaders of the blind, instead upon a reverence for God, man will never feel safe enough to live in the spirit, to live in God, to abide in Him. As long as mankind has their vision impaired by the false fears instilled into them by theologians who do not want God's people to swim, we will always camp around the illusionary arks built with material such as fears, lies, deceit, and self-centeredness.
In the natural, when man's abilities were greatly limited to explore the oceans, the tales of horrors were great and plenteous. Why, we were told that one could fall off the very edge of the earth if one went out too far. Today, we have invented machinery which has greatly increased our abilities to explore the oceans and it seems all the wild monsters have all but disappeared. There was no edge to go over after all. The church was wrong. Today mankind is busy swimming with the whales, piggy backing on the backs of giant rays, exploring the deepest parts of the oceans. The surface is covered with boats of all kind, surf boards, inner tubes, water skis, etc. What was once a barrier dividing mankind has now become the highway we travel to see each other.
Are there careless travelers in this realm who spew out nonsense like water boats running recklessly about not caring for the safety of others? Absolutely! There are people who abuse the gifts of the spirit, misuse revelatory knowledge, misread types and shadows, etc., but then again, there is also abuse on the shores. Sometimes nasty religious people throw sand in your eyes so that we cannot see clearly.
In the natural, a person who knows how to swim increases their chances of survival. Furthermore, they can enjoy more of the life this world has to offer. So too, in Christianity. Those who are able to freely move about in the waters of the spirit of God, enjoy life more and make this world a more enjoyable place to be. They are more salty, if you will.
The life in the Spirit and the life on the other side of the grave are very similar to man's difficulty in overcoming the giant bodies of water on the earth. Will it again be the church which must be overcome to enjoy the wonder of His creation? The Roman Catholic church holds it's prisoners around its ark with the traditions of men-a hodgepodge collection of all kinds of horror stories of those who have decided to leave the shore and learn to swim in the Spirit. The Protestant church has used the banner "Sola Scripture" to the same effect. Neither have allowed the free flow of the Spirit of Revelation to be the guide into the deeper waters of God.
But these restraints will one day be removed. Just as natural knowledge has dispelled many of our fears about the physical creation around us, so too, will the wisdom which comes from above will one day set us free to enjoy the spiritual creation. In the natural, it was the explorers who risked their reputations, those who bucked the system, those who were hungry for more who finally broke the chains of ignorance and opened this world for all to see. They risked their lives in hope. So too, do spiritual travelers. As we enter into deeper waters of the Holy Spirit, our reputations among men become tarnished. But this is only for a season. Mankind, as a whole, will one day be set free of its fears and we will all be able to enjoy the freedom we have in Christ. When we are able to see the beginning from the end, when we see God's Sovereignty, election, predestination, that of Him and to Him and through Him are all things, that He is for us and not against us; that His desire for us is life (and not death or eternal punishment), that he came to set us free from fears, not to enslave us with them. When we see that we can trust Him with our very lives and even more, we can trust Him with our friends and enemies alike, then we will have the courage to leave the little arks of illusions and lies, and swim in the river of Life and enjoy every moment of it knowing there is nothing to fear because we swim in Him Who gave His life a ransom that we may have life, life abundant, life free to explore the very universe He prepared for us to enjoy . . .free at last to enjoy life the way God meant for it to be enjoyed. "I have come that you may have life . . abundantly."