Borrowed Truths

Fishing

Picture of Borrowed Truths

Fishing

I used to do a lot of fishing in my youth, and one of the fish I enjoyed trying to catch was catfish. Now, for you folks that don’t know much about catfishing, the best time to catch them is very late at night, up around midnight or later, and where you are going to find them is right up against the shoreline of the river, hiding in holes and under fallen trees.

I like to use the analogy of abiding in the Holy Spirit as one of staying in the middle of the river, a wide, deep river. As long as you can stay in the middle of the river, keep your boat as best you can the same distance from each shoreline, you’ll more than likely be alright, but the closer you get to the shore, the more trouble you are going to find. Fallen trees, rocks, sandbars, there’s a lot of stuff in the water that can really damage your boat. The problem is though, if you want to catch those catfish, you have to get fairly close to the shore. Granted, there are some out there in the middle of the river, but if you want a bigger one, one that will feed you for four or five meals, you’ve got to get closer to the shore. Once you get your hook baited and the anchor firmly on the bottom, you can cast over against the bank and begin an evening of patient anticipation.

Many of the Christians I know don’t even own a boat, they park their car a mile or so from the best fishing spots, fight their way thru the brush and timber, usually losing something in the process, and then they will stay and fish in one spot the whole night, fighting the horde of bugs and mosquitos, many times with nothing to show for it but a long, frustrating evening. They make the path that the Lord has placed them on much more difficult than it needs to be, they don’t want to spend anything extra for a boat, they wouldn’t use it that much even if they had one is their excuse, and even if they did trust the Holy Spirit as they should, well, the waters real deep, there’s lots of things in the water that could just damage their investment, and so instead of investing the time to study and apply the Word of God in their lives, they keep hiking thru the brush in the dark, losing their way, not using their gifts, and fighting all the bugs of the world, and still, most of the time, they end up with nothing.

Some folks will take that boat of theirs right up to the bank of the river without even doing any checking first in the daytime, and the first thing they know their stuck, their boat is damaged, and hopefully they’re close enough to shore to not get too wet as they trek thru underbrush all the way back to where they parked their vehicle. They haven’t studied the Word, they just rush right out there and thought they could catch every soul that came their way, most of those forget to bring any bait along in the first place, and so God strands their boat until they get a little more of the Word in their heart.

Some folks will stay a couple of dozen yards away from the shore, cast their line out only to reach for an anchor that they soon realize they forgot, and so downstream they go, bumping and crashing into every obstacle the river can throw at them. They wanted the prize, that big catfish out there, but without an anchor they have no stability, the river is going to take them wherever it wants. The things of the world still pull strongly at them, they had all the right equipment, but their anchor was not in Christ, it was only in their head, they were ever learning but never coming to the Truth.

Others will keep that boat right in the middle of the river, in the deepest, safest place, but that’s where they’ll go fishing also, and the fish out there are few and far between. It’s safe, but there’s no real fruit to their labor, baits on, anchors down, but they only get a little nibble every once in a while, no one is mocking them, making fun of them, persecuting them, and that’s how they like it, safe, but not a very profitable evening of fishing.

The wise fisherman? Well now, this fella knows what he’s doing. He’s been out on that river several days in a row, checking the shore, noting all the obstacles in the river when the sun is high, checking to make sure, as best as he can, that where he wants to go witnessing for the Lord is going to be a profitable adventure. Poles, bait, anchor, extra line and hooks, his Bible has been read, re-read and studied, he’s got the flow of the river memorized. When he gets out there on the river in the dark of the night, he knows no fear, he knows exactly where he’s going. Not right in the middle of the river, but never too close to the shore, the lost have a strong pull, the world wants him useless, because it knows it can’t have him back. Lots of line on the reel, stay away from the dangers in the water, anchor firmly in Christ, because he’s in dangerous waters. The bait is enticing, he has the Word of God in his heart, those who nibble at his hook turn away from the Truths of Scripture, but every once in a while he gets a solid hit, and the words of the love of Christ are listened to, heard with ears that have been blessed to hear.

He hands the pole to his Lord and Master, the One that always goes fishing with him, the fish on the line is His to pull into the boat, for He is the great Fisher of men, the anchor, after all, is what keeps all of us in the middle of the river. I like to go fishing as often as possible, I just don’t go for the catfish anymore.

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