When I’m weary, frustrated, discouraged, I tend to go with the flow. Seems harmless but too often it’s a dangerous current.
When I’m in this state, I tempt myself to think that maybe I don’t matter to God or even that he wants nothing to do with me. I envision him distancing himself from me.
When I keep God out of sight, I permit myself to muddle through life on my own, to make my own rules, set my own standards. Drifting into the flow happens easily, getting caught up in ‘whatever’ is going on out there in the flow.
Or course, me not mattering to God couldn’t be further from the truth. Actually, I’m perfect for God, not due to me but due to him. How I am isn’t what makes me good for God but how he is.
“…we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:9b)
Going with the flow is a perfect way to live life if my goal is to fit in with everyone else around me or to be successful according to the definitions swirling about. Going with the flow can seem so normal that I am shocked when I run across God’s anger when his people defer to flow mentality and practice.
Not that we won’t encounter God in the flow, just that he doesn’t go with it. In fact, he is against it.
Going with the flow is how ancient Israel finds itself in opposition to God who set them aside as his own “chosen” people. While Israel claimed devotion to God, their actions spoke louder than their words. Clearly they preferred the lifestyles and cultures of nearby nations and the neighbors.
To be like everyone else was Israel’s reason for demanding that God appoint them their first human king. Even though God warned them through the prophet Samuel that a king would reign over and demand much from them, they insisted.
“…appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” (1 Samuel 8: 5b, NLT)
While setting up a government seems normal enough for un-ruled people to do, God didn’t see their desire as normal but as a rejection of him.
But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. (1 Samuel 8: 6-7, NLT)
Not like this was their first rejection of God. Track the story of their sojourn through the desert then their conquest of Canaan. Even as God’s “chosen people,” they constantly compromised God’s standards. The more they compromised, the less “set-aside” they appeared until they blended in with everyone else.
God is good so opposition to God is not good. It’s evil.
“The LORD is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!” (Psalm 92:15, NLT)
When I drift into going with the flow, I tend to look at the God’s judgment of “flow” behavior as unreasonable and overly harsh.
For me, going with the flow looks something like escape. When the cards life deals seem overwhelming or even if just a little not to my liking, I defer to my instincts instead of my principles.
To get back on track with the Lord, I’ve invented triggers to check me from continuing with the flow. Whereas flow participation involves action, anti-flow triggers are pauses – a pause to think, a pause to pray, a pause to wait on God and listen for him.
If I fail to pause, I’m in trouble, dragged along by the flow, a dangerous current.
What does going with the flow look like for you?