If you’ve ever stood ankle deep in the ocean, you’ve experienced that unmistakable tug of the tide. You plant your feet firmly in the wet sand, refusing to allow it to drag you out to sea.
Or, if you’re the more adventurous among us, you wade out through the waves, perhaps even venturing past them to tread water among the swells, watching surfers as they await the perfect wave.
And that’s where the powerful tide can draw you in, refusing to let go as you drift further and further into the ocean until it swallows you. A strong swimmer might be able to fight his way back, but you’ve got to be very strong indeed to resist the relentless tide and haul yourself ashore.
As followers of Christ, we have to arm ourselves with the Word of God and deep faith to stand unwaveringly against the tide of corruption that swirls around us.
All of this comes to mind in light of an email The Soulful Catholic received last week from a mental strength and physical fitness guru. He offered this bit of “counsel” to his subscribers:
“Unfortunately, there is no objectively ‘correct’ way to approach life. We don’t know why reality exists, what is waiting for us on the other side (if anything) or what the meaning of life is. Therefore, it is up to each of us to make our own way by assessing our own values, principles and rules to live by.”
Oh dear. Where to begin. Perhaps a letter is in order.
Dear Mental Strength Expert and Strong Guy,
Frankly, we DO know what is waiting for us on the other side. One thing’s for sure: It won’t entail any barbells or positive-thinking sessions. We’ll be meeting with Almighty God to go over the details of what we did with His gift of life. Another critical observation: No one needs to make up the rules. We already have them in the form of the Ten Commandments. In fact, Western Civilization is based in large part on these rules and has flourished in many ways because governments have been driven to enforce them, at least until more recent years.
A case in point: The nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia which allow for legal, assisted suicide. California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Washington each allow the practice. According to Forbes, more than 1,300 people in the U.S. died this way in 2021, up from 850 in 2018.
You wouldn’t have to go too far back in U.S. history to know that if such a thing as legalized killing of the infirm were proposed, it would be soundly defeated after being thoroughly condemned as barbaric.
And yet here we are. From acceptance of abortion, the death penalty, and widespread violence all the way to the denigration of religion and the ubiquity of porn, we’ve drifted a long way from those 10 rules given to mankind by our Creator. We’ve drifted so far that most people no longer even consider the Fifth Commandment when the question of physician-assisted suicide arises. To them, the commandments are mostly irrelevant.
Something tells me our Lord Jesus doesn’t find them irrelevant. In fact, He said so Himself: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill (Matt. 5:17).”
These 40 days of Lent are all about turning away from sin and following Christ more closely. We began the season by considering how He defeated the devil with the Word of God.
Many saints made it a practice to carry a pocket-sized version of the Gospels with them at all times, referring to it frequently.
In 2023, we’re more likely to be scrolling through our smartphones, but there’s something wonderful about placing the phone in your pocket and turning to the Word of God instead as you’re waiting in line, walking down a long corridor or eating lunch at your desk. The words of Jesus, instead of the latest social media post, have a way of deepening faith and thwarting the fiery darts of the enemy.
They also cast moral relativism in the shade without ever actually naming it. God exists. And He calls us to follow in His ways.
Repeatedly focusing on the Gospel throughout the day helps us resist the cultural tide, keeping us rooted in Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life. If we stick with Him, seeking to follow His ways, we won’t be swept away by the tide.
Looking for a way to grow in your love for God’s Word? Check out Christ in Our Neighborhood at dphx.org/Christ-in-our-neighborhood or email [email protected].