Peering Through the Murky Water – Fish Discover Water Last (Part Three)

Fish discover water last. That’s supposedly an old Ethiopian proverb. Fish don’t know they are in water. Water is all they know. They don’t even know that it is all they know. Fish in an aquarium have it even worse. They don’t know they are in water, and they can only assume what is beyond their glass. It’s like air for us. The air in the places we live, and are used to and comfortable with, is all we know. It can be even worse as a follower of Christ – If we believe that what we know of Him is all there is to know of Him, we are stuck. And, if the way we love people now is the only way we think we can, we are stuck. As fish who are loved by Jesus, our job is to know Him and to make Him known – to be a fisher of men. Yet we spend most of our ‘believer life’ centered around the ‘Sunday aquarium’ or the ‘personal aquarium’, because we are comfortable with what we know. My prayer is you become uncomfortable in your comfort zone. We are to swim out there with Him. The open water of life is where our Lord is asking us to go swim. He has set us free. It is His purpose for us. The prophet Isaiah said about Jesus that He would, ‘proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.’ Isaiah 61:1. Jesus quoted that scripture as He said of Himself, ‘He [God] has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives…those who are oppressed.’ Luke 4:18. The One who loved us enough to die in our place had, as His intent, to set us free. Are we? Or are we swimming in the same water? Looking through the glass at what ‘could be’ if we went with Him out there. I literally walked past our aquarium in the preschool area a while back, and because we had been closed due to Covid, the un-attended water was so murky I could not even see the fish. They are stuck in that water. And don’t even know it.

It takes us a long time (or never) to find the water He intends us to swim in as we live our lives. We think of church as a place and time. That is far from the truth. Church is a people. Ecclesia, the Greek word for church, is used in the New Testament to describe the people who are ‘called out’. Those who now follow Christ. That word is never used to describe a place or time. We are the ones who describe it that way. We are wrong. We may meet as a church in a building at a certain time, but WE are the church. We must get out of the building mentality. Mankind has a knack for putting everything nice and neat in a box. Be that a performance box, accomplishment box, attendance box, whatever.

We create religious containers.

Use the building a few hours a week to celebrate and disciple one another. Then get out! Go! Follow Him. Out there in the new water!

When Jesus asks us to “go and make disciples”, He did not say ‘go to church’. He is not talking about only what happens in that building once a week. It is a big part of it. But if we are in the building for two hours a week, it is only 1.19% of our time in a week. It is an important time. But it is not the ‘only time’ we are the church. The rest of the time we still ‘are’ the church. Jesus is our Lord all day, every day. Do we see the water beyond the water we swim in? Or do we only wait to call ourselves ‘His’ during the short time in the building?

Have you discovered the water you swim in all week? Get out of your aquarium. Break the glass, swim free! It is Christ who came to set the captives free. To set you free!

Do not become a re-captive by allowing who you are in Christ to become a place and time. Swim free!

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  1. What do we do, beyond praying, when we see others in the aquarium? Do we tell that they are in an aquarium if that person doesn’t see it, if the water is muddled?

    1. Kirk, my thoughts are not that we tell them they are in an aquarium, but that we show them the love of Christ…love them as He would. John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
      It is our job to love, and the Holy Spirits’ job to convince us (and others) that we are just comfortable…and to draw us out to love other beyond the glass.
      Jesus loved regardless…He was way past the glass!!!

      The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 13:35). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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