Encounter: Read through Psalm 2, Joshua 24:14-15, Isaiah 8:11-13 & Deuteronomy 10:20-11:7, James 1:5-8, 1 Cor. 10:13, underline or journal what God is encouraging us to choose and why and how this affects our choices.
On our visit to Sanibel Island a couple of weeks ago, we had a stormy day when the winds blew and the waves grew larger and angrier as the morning passed. Around noon we received a warning on our cell phones to be cautious when swimming due to rip tides detected off the beaches in our area.
I had a friend years ago who was swimming off of a beach in Hawaii and was caught in a rip tide so strong he almost lost his life. The only thing that saved him was his knowledge about what a rip tide was and acted and how not to panic but begin to swim in the direction following the shoreline. He said it was hard not to follow his gut instinct to try and control the situation and swim back the way he came. Thankfully he had learned, in order to survive you have to change course.
In Episode 4 of The Chosen, Peter is trying to control his life yet like a rip tide that tries to take him away from the shore, his choices based out of self-sufficiency take him deeper into trouble. That is until he meets Jesus. Jesus patiently though at times directly, showed him where the rip tides were showing up in his life and to realize that following Him means going where He goes and doing what He does, not choosing to do things his own way.
Like Peter we can live our everyday life and make choices without surrendering our will to God’s will and be “like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by wind.” Instead James encourages us, “…if anyone longs to be wise ask God for wisdom and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace.” (James 1:5)
So take this as a warning coming to your cell phone about the rip tides that are trying to draw you into a life of futility; of swimming against a tide you cannot fight without the strength of the Lord showing you when to change course. God has given you a way of escape so you can break the grip of the rip.
We all experience times of testing, which is normal for every human being. But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face so that you can bear it. And each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape that will bring you out of it victoriously. (1 Cor. 10:13 TPT)
Breaking the grip of the rip,
Reflect: Can you identify where the rip tides are showing up in your life? Where do you feel driven and tossed by the waves of life? Has God shown you a way of escape? Has God shown you where you need to change course in order to align your life with His ways.
Encourage: Take time to share this Renew with someone you know is being affected by rip tides and needs a change of course. Share these scriptures encouraging them to ask God for wisdom, look for the escape and a new course that can bring them out victoriously!
Gather: Share with your small group how you have experienced rip tides and what you found was helpful. Ask one another for prayer to change your course in those areas where you find it difficult to follow Jesus and believe His ways are better than your own.