My family and I were on vacation last week in Long Beach. A kind member of our church lent us her beach house which provided a well-needed sanctuary for rest and relaxation. My seven year old had other plans. He was not interested in resting. While mommy and daddy wanted to veg, he was outside training our dog, Martha, to pull him around on his scooter.
My son also wanted to go the aquarium. So on Tuesday evening we headed off to see the living things of the ocean world. One of the creatures we first encountered were jellyfish. We saw tons of them in all different shapes and sizes.
What is fascinating about jellyfish is that they have no brains. They live their lives at the mercy of the ocean current. They never know where they could end up. If the current leads them to areas with abundant sources of food, they thrive. If the current pushes them onto shore, they die. They put up no fight. They passively summit to the greater force.
Following the promptings of the Holy Spirit can sometimes feel like giving into the ocean current. We’re content as long as he leads us into familiar, comfortable settings. It is when he takes us into the unfamiliar, the challenging, the overwhelming—those places where we have no natural expertise—we resist and put up barriers because we are not jellyfish. We have minds that will and reason so we have the capacity to discern danger and change course before it is too late. Our minds set up apart from all other creatures.
When we become Christians, we don’t give up our minds and blindly follow God like the jellyfish guided by the ocean current, nor do we strictly allow reason to dictate our course of action. If we did, we would put ourselves in the position of being our own gods.
Rather our minds must be renewed. They must be reoriented toward God or else we will always resist God’s calling to growth in our lives. Renewal comes in two ways: rooting out the evil patterns of thinking in our lives that stand against God and embracing the idea that God is a loving God who is trustworthy.
Our spiritual growth hinges on learning to follow to God by submitting our minds to him, not giving them up.