On our honeymoon nearly 7 years ago, we decided to spend half of our 8 days of celebrating newlywed bliss on land, and the other half on a Caribbean cruise ship. Neither of us had been on a cruise, but it sounded fun, and my wife only got the occasional motion sickness… so of course this was a good idea!
The first night of our ocean journey began with a storm in the bay in Miami before we set sail. We made our way to our room on the ship that afternoon, and got our things in place to begin exploring the vessel before departure the next morning. Since vacations are basically just a trip for you to go and eat in other places, our first stop was the dining halls where we had a world-class dinner. As we left the table, my wife made some comments about beginning to feel a little woozy, like she could feel the ship moving – I didn’t notice it much myself.
When we got back to the room, she laid down on the bed to regain her composure. I headed to the small restroom in our room, and as I walked across the room, I felt the ship bob significantly and I stumbled into the restroom door.
“Luke, stop! Quit messing with me, you’re making me sea sick just watching you mess around like that!”
My wife thought I was just playing around, but I legitimately was feeling the moving of the ship so strongly that I couldn’t help but be propelled sideways across the hall! Although I would totally mess with her like that, in that instance I wasn’t. I’ll spare you the details of the rest of the effects of the motion sickness, but fortunately it got better the rest of the cruise as we set sail in calmer waters the next day.
I was reading Romans 8 not too long ago and a study I came across described the passage in a way I had never heard. I was in verses 1-9:
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
The study I was reading highlighted verse 9 in a unique way:
What does it mean that “you are in the Spirit”? It means that you are in the sway of the Spirit, under the power of the Spirit. It means that the Spirit is the decisive influence on your life. I don´t say only influence. He has his enemies and competitors. But to be “in the Spirit” is to come from the power of darkness into the power of God (Acts 26:18).
I loved that terminology, ”Sway of the Spirit”. I immediately thought of that first night on the cruise ship. I don’t believe God wants to be like some maniacal puppet master of your life (that’s a whole other blog series on Free Will). However, He wants to nudge you, lead you, and guide you through this life! Are you allowing the Spirit of God to influence your movement? Is there a “sway” in your life that is caused by living surrendered to the power of His Spirit? My dad used to constantly teach us as kids about living for the flesh vs living for the Spirit – and he would constantly drive home the fact that life was easier and better lived in a way that was surrendered to the Spirit’s leadership!
So live in the Sway – I promise you won’t get seasick!