She had three boys. I have three boys. My two oldest were the same age of her youngest, and it was quite the waterworks and poolfest to get them all in there together splashing around with the noodles, floats, water pistols, goggles and the like. Those were great summer days of playing together. For three years, we enjoyed that luxury of almost daily swimming.
But then this marvelous family moved 15 minutes away and another family moved in--one that chooses not to invite anyone to use the pool.
My two oldest boys because of their almost constant exposure and practice with swimming during those three summers, and because I was nervous about them drowning and so put them through my former lifeguarding style swim lessons, became quite adept at swimming and all its delights.
However, the youngest did not receive that advantage of constant swim access and practice. I was quite nervous last year towards the end of summer when he began to resist the whole floatie wearing event--declaring it babyish.
This year, I wanted things to be different for both of us. The marvelous family put in another pool at their new house, and they again generously invited us to use it as liberally as before. With much thanksgiving for their offer, I've been more determined this year to make sure we regularly visit. Now that my youngest is receiving the consistent practice of swimming and lessons to make both of us comfortable in and at the pool, he is particularly enjoying all the delights that come with the exercise of swimming. Today as he was flipping around in the water, touching the bottom, jumping off the diving board and swimming back and forth, I was reminded of Hebrews 5:14, "But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." (NIV) I like the Geneva translation too, "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of age, which through long custom have their wits exercised, to discern both good and evil."
I've been thinking about this verse quite a lot lately because of my current Bible study. The significant theme is that a Christian is called to increasing maturity and growth through the regular exercise of God's Word--in study, reading, prayer, and memorization. Neglect in this area for a Christian brings serious consequences of stagnancy, decay, lack of understanding, inability to be biblically renewed and transformed, as well as the inability to biblically help others.
So back to the pool, lack of consistency with my youngest son's swimming produced in him the very great risk of the dead man's float being a real event. He was absolutely unsafe and untrustworthy around a pool. His inadequacies prohibited him from freely participating in swim parties or water slides. His brothers suffered as well because all my time was spent attending to his safety and not having the time to appreciate their enjoyment. Renewed diligence in lessons as well as the consistent practice have blessed all of us.
Thereto, lack of consistency to the instruction of God's entire Word produces an individual with dead fruit and deadened responses. They are unsafe and untrustworthy in any advice they give because it issues only from vain imagination and wisdom that is not. The inadequacies accompanying this neglect prohibit a true and free understanding of God's counsels, precepts and statutes. Essentially, every one suffers.
Renewed diligence, consistent practice, and humble thanksgiving all grant a blessing to the one hungering and thirsting for the strong meat of God's feast. Then everyone can enjoy the pool of Living Water.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. Psalm 119:9-16