Blog Archive

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Freelance: FLOW

"Temptation usually comes in through a door
that has been deliberately left open."
~ Unknown

Friday Freelance: FLOW

My husband and I visited Alaska one August while the salmon were running. You don’t appreciate the effort a salmon makes to swim upstream until you watch the fish vault the rapids as mist from the pounding water floats into your face. The fish are driven.

When we came to their destination, thousands of dead salmon clogged the water. They had expended every bit of their lives to fight their way upstream and lay their eggs. One need not be a Darwinist to believe in survival of the fittest. No weak salmon reached its journey’s end.

I’ve walked against the flow of a crowd on occasion. The only way to make it through is to be assertive. Without the determination to continue toward a fixed goal, one is swallowed by the throng and carried in their direction.

Can you anticipate where I’m taking this? We do not draw closer to God by being carried along with the crowd of this world. Direction is maintained by setting our eyes on Him we seek and purposefully pursuing Him.

Do not be deceived:
"Evil company corrupts good habits."
1 Corinthians 15:33 (NKJV)

Though we may set our sights on following Jesus, we walk in a world heading away from Him. If in our compassion for people we turn to them in the effort to change their direction, we risk being swept up with them and backsliding. But if we turn a blind eye to them, we lose the strength of Spirit we would have gained through love.

A discerning heart is needed. We must take a hard look at what areas of weaknesses we have, and understand that we cannot afford to maintain close associations with those who might cause us to stumble in such areas. The recovering drug addict might think he can reach other addicts for Christ because he speaks their language. Both they and he will benefit if he first associates with stronger Christians, becomes strong himself through God's Word and Spirit, and only returns to minister in his old haunts accompanied by a friend who's had no such temptations.

Same for those with struggles of any kind—gossip, gambling, sports, porn, alcohol, gaming, media, sex, money, power—the list of obsessions goes on. It's not a matter of how long we've been walking with the Lord, but of how weak we may be in a given area. It doesn't mean we must completely cut off old friends, but that we use wisdom in how we associate with them.

We regularly hear of renowned Christians who take hard falls because they were overcome by some kind of temptation. Each of us probably knows someone personally whose life has been shipwrecked by something they thought they had under control. Rarely does someone fall alone. We are social creatures, and those who crash usually had help.

I hear often, "Jesus associated with sinners." He did indeed. Hebrews 4:15 even says Jesus "was in all points tempted as we are." But He was never weak, never sinned, and never encouraged sin. He ministered to sinners effectively because He ministered from strength.

Going against the flow is not for the weak fish. <><> "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Photo from


  1. Just today I was pulling oranges from a large container. The ones at the bottom suffocated and softened. The spoiled fruit rotted, contaminating it's neighbor with mold. So true with people. Great post Anne!

  2. great post... wise words... I found your blog yesterday and enjoyed reading through it...

  3. Such wise teaching for my heart and soul. Thank you sis, love you.

  4. What a fabulous post, dear Anne, and so true. We are weak creatures. When I feel bad about that, I remember that even Paul did what he didn't want to do, and what he didn't want to do--that he did. Only in God are we strong.

    You left a comment on my blog, and I SO wanted to read it. But when I went to publish it, Blogger ate it! I'd be ever grateful if you have a minute this weekend to comment again. This hand-wringer needs your help. ;)

    God bless you today, my friend.

  5. Powerful message. I find I stumble often inside my own thoughts. I think that is why I felt led to build my blog around the concept of thoughts. I need to learn to move them toward God in order to take them captive.
    I like that His beauty captivates.
    ~ Wendy

  6. T. Anne, the words "the ones at the bottom suffocated and softened" are an apt description of what spoils us. We need the Spirit's breath, standing high, on the rock of Jesus' words.

    Elizabeth, thank you for the blessing of your appreciation.

    Natasa, I'm happy to be found! I likewise enjoyed your blog. I hope you'll come back.

    Denise, the wise teacher will both say and do. I pray I remain faithful in all I offer.

    Gwen, if Paul could struggle, which of us shouldn't take heed? Staying close to the Lord is paramount!

    Wendy, the battle is won in conquering our thought life. We can remain blameless in action, but hide damning iniquity in the heart. Do you remember which commandment Paul noted in recognizing sin? "I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." (Romans 7:7)

  7. But if we turn a blind eye to them, we lose the strength of Spirit we would have gained through love.

    I think we miss that sometimes. I know I do. I forget about how love feeds love -- and coldheartedness starves it.

  8. Tks for the caution! All of us need to hear this post of yours!

  9. This is for me a thought provoking post. I have a lot of friends who do not follow Christ, friends I enjoy and love very much.

    Am I swimming along side them to help turn people I care about up stream or to have an excuse to dabble in the empty promises of the world? I know I am moving closer to Christ, but there have been times I've experienced profound defeats.

    The "world" wins battles as it pertain to my life, but Jesus will win the war.

    The older I get the more I realize it is not what we do that matters, but why we do it.

    A person can walk into a bar for the right reasons or the wrong reasons. A person can plant a church for the right reasons or the selfish wrong reasons. In all decisions Motive is everything.

    If we swim with the crowd in love, but are not of the crowd, we are still swimming toward Jesus.

  10. Lyla, all the more reason to deny no one love, to look down upon no person. I can forget, or even find it inconvenient.

    Bible Lover, this message is perhaps needed most by those who've walked with the Lord longest, who might come to think they cannot fall.

  11. Russell, I agree that motive is more important than method. But isn't the road to Hell paved with good intentions? I'd suggest that not only must our motives be pure, but we must be aware of whether we operate from a position of sufficient strength and wisdom to carry them out effectively without being swallowed up. I'm not ready to concede that "motive is everything," but I'm willing to hear more.

  12. Thanks to Russell for our continued discussion, which reminded me that if we should offer counsel to others, we might help them see the action, motive and consequences of their actions, but they must arrive at their own conclusions.


Your comments are appreciated and you can expect a reply. If Blogger doesn't accept your comment, or if you prefer
another method, I hope you'll respond via Twitter or email
(see sidebar icons or the "Contact Me" tab, above).

(Comments to older posts and will appear after approval.)