I went with a friend and his son to Key West as he participated in the Swim Around Key West and I was his kayaker for the event. The swim is 12.5 miles in the ocean and we completed our trip in 6 hours and 15 minutes. The morning of our race I read this devotional by Oswald Chambers,
If you yourself do not cut the lines that tie you to the dock, God will have to use a storm to sever them and to send you out to sea. Put everything in your life afloat upon God, going out to sea on the great swelling tide of His purpose, and your eyes will be opened. If you believe in Jesus, you are not to spend all your time in the calm waters just inside the harbor, full of joy, but always tied to the dock. You have to get out past the harbor into the great depths of God, and begin to know things for yourself— begin to have spiritual discernment.
When you know that you should do something and you do it, immediately you know more. Examine where you have become sluggish, where you began losing interest spiritually, and you will find that it goes back to a point where you did not do something you knew you should do. You did not do it because there seemed to be no immediate call to do it. But now you have no insight or discernment, and at a time of crisis you are spiritually distracted instead of spiritually self-controlled. It is a dangerous thing to refuse to continue learning and knowing more.
The counterfeit of obedience is a state of mind in which you create your own opportunities to sacrifice yourself, and your zeal and enthusiasm are mistaken for discernment. It is easier to sacrifice yourself than to fulfill your spiritual destiny, which is stated in Romans 12:1-2. It is much better to fulfill the purpose of God in your life by discerning His will than it is to perform great acts of self-sacrifice. “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice . . .” (1 Samuel 15:22). Beware of paying attention or going back to what you once were, when God wants you to be something that you have never been. (My Utmost for His Highest, June 8)
I have discovered there is a transfer of knowledge of what I am learning in everyday life to my spiritual walk. The previous weekend my friend and I participated in the Lowcountry Splash (a 2.4 mile swim down the Wando River to Patriot’s Point). People ask me, “Why do you do these things?” I find that events like this get me out of my comfort zone – they cause me to grow, they reveal my weaknesses and lack of faith, and they teach me to depend more upon God. The reality is if we stay in our comfort zones we don’t grow, but when we’re stretched it’s an opportunity to gain greater dependence upon God and to grow. The Apostle Paul realized this principle as he wrote,