Preparing a “fish” for the table:
Previously: We’ve been using the analogy of fish and fishing to describe our relationship with Christ: first, we swim into His net, just as we are (a bit fishy); afterwards, Christ begins to clean us like a fisherman cleans his prize catch.
Step 3: Get rid of the tail!
The tail of a fish is boney, scaly, hard to chew and not very flavorful. When preparing a fish it pays to get rid of it. Christ wants to do the same when He’s preparing His “fish” for life on the road ahead.
In nature the tail of a fish performs two very important tasks: it propels and steers. It allows our finny friends to swim wherever they wish and whenever they wish. We, too, have something that enables us to go where we want when we want. It’s called the human will. The human will motivates and empowers us. It gives direction and determination. The phrases “He (or she) has a lot of will power” and “Where there’s a will there’s a way” spring to mind. And when someone is stubborn we often describe the person as “strong-willed.”
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: God created each of us to have a will of our own — the ability to choose for ourselves, to swim in our own personal style. When He first created us, He looked down and declared, That’s good! And although He hopes we’ll use this God-given freedom to make the right decisions in life — for instance, to swim beside Him, not away from Him; in His great ocean, not in a mud puddle — we don’t often choose the best course for ourselves. That’s Bad! In fact, without God’s daily guidance in every area of life, we always manage to screw things up. That’s when things can get pretty ugly! But that’s okay. God understands that we’re only human. Again, He created us that way. He could have made us to be like little windup robots, but He didn’t want that. He wanted us to have free will.
So how do we reconcile our free will (our desires, our plans, our inclinations, our dispositions, and our always poor choices) with God’s better plan and direction for our lives? Simple, make a conscious decision every day to “get rid of the tail”; to surrender your will and choose to do His will; to do the things He wants, not the things you want; to swim with God, with the current and not against it. In the end (haha, remember the fish’s tail), it all comes down to the choices we make because, after all, we have a free will. We can swim our way or swim with God, following Him wherever He leads.
“Jesus said … ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.'” (Matthew 16:24 NLT) Listen to Chris Tomlin’s cool song “I Will Follow” and choose to have the attitude expressed by it.
Join us on Monday for Part 2 of “Get Rid of the Tail,” and we’ll explain how following Christ is like a “Surfin’ Safari”!