Summertime is swimming time in Texas and I can’t wait. I love the water. My daughter and I teach lessons in our backyard pool. Every summer, two types of students give me the greatest concern:

1)      The child that is so afraid of the water that he can hardly stand to be in it, and

2)      the child that has no fear of the water.

One misses the fun of the pool or lake in the summer—diving rings, slides, diving boards, tubing at the lake. The other is more dangerous because he hasn’t counted the cost and has no idea the risk he is taking.

I’ve seen the same thing spiritually. Some people are like my first swimmer. They look at God as harsh, scary, and no fun. They miss the fact that God is love, but look at these verses:

“How great the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” I John 3:1 NIV

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John10: 10 NIV

Fear cripples and keeps one sitting poolside, missing the love and blessings of God.

The second swimmer, speaks only of God’s love and feels free to do—well, anything. They lose sight of God’s authority and their need for obedience and respect. John, in the fourteenth chapter of his gospel, three times mentions the connection between love and obedience.

A toddler who has not mastered basic water safety should not be given free rein in the pool like his older sibling who can float, hold his breath, and swim to the side. He must learn to respect the water.

Likewise, believers enjoy God’s love and his Fathership, but also must remember who is Boss and who is not. Practice obedience to Jesus like you practice the swimming skills of floating, kicking, and breathing. Enjoy the Water of life!

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