This morning I took a quiet, leisurely stroll along the beach. I had intended to take a swim as the day held the promise of being very hot. Already I could feel sticky perspiration on my back and droplets of sweat gathering on my forehead. But on approaching the cool, clear water I was confronted with blue bottles. Hundreds and hundreds of blue bottles(Bluebottle – The Australian Museum) Floating on the shoreline, stranded on the sand. Blue bottles, of every shape and size as far as I could see. Bending down I noticed how beautiful they were – beautiful but deadly. Their bulbous head was a vivid blue, the color extending down into long, straggly tentacles, which of course is where their sting resides. I was mesmerized by the overwhelming number of them. Saddened too. How could this strange phenomenon have happened? The creative writer in me searched for an analogy. What did these eerie, blue sea creatures washed up on the shore with life slowly seeping away, remind me of?
1 Timothy 1:18-19 This charge, I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on the, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare. Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.
This event reminds me of those Christians (and there are tragically far more than the blue bottles on the beach) who have become shipwrecked in their faith. Once pulsing with life for Christ, they have now become washed up on the shores of desolation and despair.
These people make a good start in their Christian life, but then at some point, reject the teaching they once held onto. Jesus speaks of these people in His parable of the soils.
Mark 4:7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
The seed that fell among thorns are those who hear and receive but then become choked by the cares of life. They never mature and produce good fruit. The cares, riches and pleasures of life are the thorns that cause their downfall. Wealth, riches and pleasure disguise the lethal danger behind their appealing appearances.
2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
Many profess to be Christians, but their return to old sinful ways, proves that their knowledge of and love for Jesus Christ is only superficial and does not have the genuine intent to last. Such people become entangled with and overcome by the defilement of the world, forfeiting their faith and a clean conscience before God.
We all need to be disciplined and alert, because the deceitfulness of sin is so subtle. Satan is a master mind at misleading and deceiving God’s people. We cannot for a moment let our heart become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 3:12-13 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Rather than drifting away and becoming shipwrecked on the rocks of deceitfulness, we must hold firmly onto our original confidence in Christ until the end. Those shipwrecked in the faith, see Christ as getting in the way of what they want. But those who remain strong for Christ, desire nothing more than what He wants.
The event that I witnessed this morning on the beach reminds me to exhort others daily in their pursuance of Christ. The grim reality of multitudes of lifeless blue bottles on the sand is a sobering reminder that many fall away from the faith and are lost. Only those who persevere in an enduring faith will receive the gift of eternal life. Let’s consider how to spur one another on, treasuring the gift of Christians everywhere and faithfully supporting them in word, deed and constant prayer.
‘Heavenly Father, turn my eyes from looking at worthless things and give me an undivided heart so that I may honor and serve You alone all the days of my life. Please keep me in Your care and deliver me from evil. Amen.’