Like a River

I often find Jesus speaks to me through pictures and stories, ideas and thoughts. He speaks through pages, through yield signs, through lenses, and more.

I think He speaks to me in stories and stuff because that's how He spoke to the disciples - it's what makes sense to the human brain - a story, a picture, a parable.

    All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable.
(Matthew 13:34 ESV)

He used visuals that He knew would appeal to their brains.

    “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
    “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

(Matthew 5:13-16 ESV)

I sat in a workshop-esk morning the other day. In the same talk about the lens, the pastor spoke about discipleship.

I suddenly pictured a river.

And I wanted to share the imagery I felt the Spirit give me because it really encouraged me.

Discipleship is like a river.

    There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
        the holy habitation of the Most High.
    God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
        God will help her when morning dawns.
(Psalm 46:4-5 ESV
)

Rivers don't stop. They're endless. Just like discipleship and sanctification.

Rivers have different speeds. Sometimes they're fast and sometimes they're slow. Just like discipleship - some seasons seem to go by really fast while others drag on.

Rivers look different at different times.

Oh how I look different in each season - not just physically but spiritually.

Rocky areas are like sanctification - just gotta get through knowing that once I'm through this section I'll be on my way.

Choppy areas are intense and sometimes hard to travel through. They can be scary and daunting, yet, just like the rocky sanctification, those who are faithful will be given reward.

Some areas are picturesque. People will stop and stare in wonder and amazement.

In my life, these seasons are far and few between, but it's amazing when I look back at a season and see Jesus in everything that I was doing.

I stumble often, sin too much, and need Jesus desperately .

I'm learning to lean more on Him as I take each step rather than just stumbling to Him as I fall.

It's even more amazing when the things God teaches me encourages other to go to Him. Yet again, these moments are rare, but I'm honoured (and excited that Jesus is working - honestly, whenever somebody tells me something I ddi pointed them to Jesus, I typically immediately pray in my head Jesus, You're working!!!) when anyone tells me that Jesus has shown them something through my life.

It's very cool to be a part of something far bigger than myself.

    For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ESV)

In some areas of a river, the water will be more clear, while other times it'll be murky.

I don't always know what God is doing, why He is doing it, or how He will possibly work it out, but I do know that He is in it.

    “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
        Tell me, if you have understanding.
    Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
        Or who stretched the line upon it?
    On what were its bases sunk,
        or who laid its cornerstone,
    when the morning stars sang together
        and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
(Job 38:4-7 ESV)

Whether or not the bottom of the river can be seen, there is a never a doubt as to whether the river has a bottom (a foundation).

    Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
(Luke 6:47-48 ESV)

It encouraged me to visualize a river and think of the season I am in, and the one I am coming out of, the one I am entering, and the list goes on - it never ends (oh, just like a . . . river).

    And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
(1 Peter 1:17-19 ESV)

I don't want the discipleship, the sanctification, or the challenge of following Christ to end. I know that one day I will stand before Christ. I want to stand unashamed and pure before His sight.

    For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:20-23 ESV)

Rivers also don't flow backwards. 

They NEVER go backwards. That is encouraging!

They're always going in the correct direction.

I trust that God is leading me where He wants me to go.

I could write more about this river analogy but instead I'll let you picture more ways discipleship is like a river.

How does God speak to you?