“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Avoiding Spiritual Shipwreck
by Randall D. Kittle
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In a vision, the Lord showed me a fleet of ships sailing together on the ocean. At first I thought it was a military convoy, but as I got a closer look they seemed like a rather odd assortment. Some were large cruise ships, others navy battle ships, some were sailing ships with tall masts filled with sails, others oil tankers. What was even more unusual was that all of the various ships were tethered together with ropes. At various times, some ships were ahead of the others while still others seemed to be almost in tow. Looking at the faces of the ships’ captains, I could tell this dependency made some uncomfortable and others just plain mad.

The sun began to set and the ships sailed into a harbor and anchored together. During the night a number of the ships cut their tethering lines and set out on their own. A large storm began to blow, bringing heavy rain, high winds, and huge waves. When the storm subsided and the sun broke through, the harbor showed signs of heavy damage: trees were down, parts of the docks were damaged, and debris from the sea was scattered everywhere. Yet, the ships that had remained there tethered together had all safely weathered the storm.

I then looked out over the ocean and began to see the other ships that had set out on their own. Many were capsized. Some had run aground. Others had been broken to pieces when they were dashed against the rocks.

The ships in this vision represent believers traveling through time on the journey of life. The tethering ropes are the accountable, submitted relationships we have when we are in true, Christian fellowship. And the harbor represents the individual congregation or assembly of believers. In the days ahead, those who are not connected to a body of believers — regardless of any “good” reason they may have — are heading for spiritual shipwreck.

The days of God tolerating the “Lone Rangers” and other independent mavericks is over. Some cloak their renegade hearts by saying they are a part of numerous churches. But they are just playing spiritual sounding word games. In reality, they are not a part of any assembly.

God has designed the Church to be a
body — not just a bunch of independent organs that happen to be next to each other. He expects the love we have for one another to testify of His love and power. God created man for relationship: relationship with Him and each other. Jesus told us that the two great commandments were: “love God … and love man!” In the body of Christ, this love for one another means letting go of past hurts and wounds, and be willing to truly connected to a body of believers. As the day of the Lord approaches, it will be even more important that we continue to abide together. “Let us not give up the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

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