OK, I may get the nautical terms wrong, or just not use them, but I AM a landlubber with merely three sailing experiences. My first came when good friends and former neighbors, Ray and Carol Ann, invited Sheila and me to join them for a day on the water with their sailboat. The air rushed past my face as we flew into the wind. One side lifted as we turned, reminding me of taking a tight turn on my motorcycle, but somehow even more thrilling. The joy of “driving” it, and handling one of those wild turns as my wife screamed “Slow down!” in fear, even as Ray encouraged me on.
Finally we headed back to the harbor. A harbor. A secure place to store it. A good port in a storm. A place for any needed repairs. But I learned a sailboat’s purpose is sailing, not resting at a dock. That boat came alive on the open sea. Nice at the dock, but awesome on the ocean.
Spiritually, we also need safe harbors. A base to venture out from. Safety from storms. Needed repairs from wounds. But like boats, we’re designed to go. Out into the world. To find new lands. To sail. To serve.
When Peter identified Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus then gave its significance, “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:16, 18).
Our question—are we sailing with an armada to take on Hell? Or do we rest, safe in our harbor? We can continue to harbor resentments, anger, and wounds. We can pursue our interests, and clean our boat every week or so. We can continue in habits and sins that keep us from sailing.
Or we can loose the moorings that hold us in and set out to take on Hell. Which option does Jesus desire for us?
Kick Starting the Application
What most tempts you to stay safe in the harbor? Why does it work? Name one time you went “sailing into the wide open ocean” and found a great new land. What did that teach you? What are you specifically doing, as an individual, to beat down the gates of hell? How can you expand what you’re doing, with God’s help?