What Does Surfing Have to Do with Life in the Spirit?


Just as we cannot supply the waves when we try to surf, we cannot supply the power we need to live the Christian life. We need God's Spirit.

Recently, God has been teaching me that just as I cannot please Him apart from His Son, I cannot live a life that's pleasing to Him apart from His Holy Spirit.

It all started several months ago when our staff began watching the "Flow" video series by Pastor John Ortberg, who said life in the Spirit was like . . . surfing!

A surfing instructor once taught Pastor Ortberg how to center himself on the board, catch a wave, and ride it in to shore. But the one thing the instructor couldn't teach him was how to create a wave. Just as Pastor Ortberg had no chance of creating the power source needed to surf, so you and I cannot live the Christian life without "catching the wave" of His Spirit and harnessing His power all day long! You'll know you're maturing and growing in Christ when . . . after falling, it takes you less time to catch the next wave. 

I used to think being a good Christian meant acting like one, striving to be one. I'm slowly learning that it's letting the very-alive Spirit of God take over every part of me and do what's natural for Him (and absolutely unnatural for me!). When I see Him responding through me to frustrating situations in ways I never could on my own, I am absolutely in awe of Him!

So how about you? Have you been living your life in the power of the flesh or filled with the Spirit? (These are the only two options, according to God's Word!) "Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature" (Gal. 5:16).

It's time to ride some waves! "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25).

God, thank You for gifting us, sealing us with Your precious, powerful Holy Spirit when we trusted in Christ as our Savior and Lord. Forgive us for misunderstanding, undervaluing, ignoring, and quenching Your Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19). Would you teach us more and more how to live in the power of the Spirit rather than in self-effort? We want to keep being filled with Your Spirit from minute to minute, staying in the "flow" so we might be Your powerful witnesses. In Jesus' name, amen.

PS: How can you tell when you're living by the Spirit? For me, it looks like keeping short accounts with God, talking to Him frequently throughout the day—confessing sin and asking Him to fill me with His Spirit rather than living independently and self-sufficiently. It means I'm marked on the inside more by "fruits of the Spirit" like peace rather than "acts of the flesh" like anger. (Check out Galatians 5:19–26 to see what I'm talking about and to examine whether you're allowing the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit or if your flesh is boss.) 

Sacrificing Our Way to Glory
Gregg Matte
God Will Teach Us
Dr. James Boice
My Very Caustic Tongue
Whole Magazine
Kidnapped Hearts
Brenda Emmons
Go Jump in the Lake, Part 1
Derek Grier
Follow Us

Want to access more exclusive iDisciple content?

Upgrade to a Giving Membership today!

Already a member? Login to iDisciple