The Benefits of Neutral Buoyancy! A Spiritual Formation Analogy from the Sea
[Jesus] told [the disciples], “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” (Luke 10:2)
Dangerous adventure sports like scuba diving make for great illustrations to expose the concerns many of us have to GO into the harvest field and make disciples. Think about it: scuba diving takes me to the bowels of the earth into vast open spaces void of life. Sounds like the task of evangelism doesn’t it? Yet I especially like to descend over spectacular ecosystems of coral reefs that are teeming with animal life from all parts of the food chain. Sometimes I dive to see a sunken ship where marine life is less abundant. These critters are often skittish because aggressive predators lurk about.
I’ve come to learn that being able to attain neutral buoyancy is the key to easy diving. Before sinking down, a diver must be able to maintain floatation at eye level with air exhausted from the “BCD” (buoyancy control device). It’s common to have to use a belt with lead weight attached to achieve eye level floatation.
Lack of Neutral Buoyancy Hampers Visibility & Holds us Down
Struggle lies ahead for a diver who is unable to maintain this balance. If you too easily sink to the bottom, sediment is stirred up, hampering visibility. Delicate coral can also be damaged as the diver clumsily collides with it. Or if you are unable to float back up to the surface, that’s a real “downer” (no pun intended).
I’m a scuba diver and a disciple maker. I get the importance of being able to “dive” with ease. In spiritual terms, neutral buoyancy illustrates a parallel to overcoming the “prince of this world.” To “dive” without an ability to maintain neutral buoyancy is like being a disciple without knowing how to ward off the enemy.
[Jesus said] I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (Luke 10:19)
Diving Into a Ship with Aggressive Predators
When we choose willingly to enter in to territory the devil claims as his, the harvest field, we should expect to meet him there among those he’s been influencing. He is an aggressive predator, so we need to be on guard. As we pray and cover ourselves in the full armor of God, we have both offensive weapons to overpower him, and defensive weapons to defend ourselves.
The devil knows our weaknesses. In truth, it’s likely we’ve allowed him to get a foothold in some way (Ephesians 4:27). His goal is to meet us in our frailty and tempt us to react with sin and cause harm to our testimony.
As we surrender to God, Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross brings divine healing and release from any stronghold the enemy has bound us to – if that is, we repent and believe (2 Corinthians 10:4).
Breathe Easy | Believe His Promises & Release Control of Circumstances
Taking regular steady breaths helps a scuba diver to maintain balance. All we need to do is breathe easy: Fill up your spiritual lungs up with air by believing God’s promises and then exhaust the air by releasing control of my circumstances to Him.
Let’s consider for a moment certain practices we do in order to maintain “neutral buoyancy” at any depth on our “dive” as we GO and make disciples.
B – Breathe steady by believing and trusting God (Revelation 1:8)
U – Undergo heart transformation (Hebrews 12:7-11)
O – Overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21)
Y – Yahweh will not allow us to worship idols (Isaiah 42:8)
A – Armor wards off the enemy (Ephesians 6:10-18)
N – Name the Word of God [Jesus] as truth (John 1:14)
C – Call out for insight and cry out for understanding (Proverbs 2)
Y – Yearn for food that will feed your soul (Matthew 4:4)
Guest Blogger | Edy Sutherland
Edy is an outdoor adventure sport junkie, uses her experiences in the wilderness as the back story to write object lessons. She desires to build up the body of Christ to maturity to know God so intimately their souls joyfully sing “Wheee!” Edy’s blogs are where she develops the new lessons God is presenting to her. Visit her author site at www.edysutherland.com.