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Swimming Up Stream

“Take a lesson from the salmon, you who are dead in your religion. Learn from their ways and die to your own desires, live an extraordinary life and pursue your destiny in Christ!” – Proverbs 6:6 LFT (Linda Frederick Translation)

We have been issued a challenge to live the life Christ provided for us on the cross. It’s not easy… it’s not a cake-walk…it’s not for sissies! Walking in all the power, anointing, and grace that belongs to us is challenging to our mind and our flesh. Many Christians never do walk in the fullness of their salvation; in fact, religion makes it easy to lay back and settle for fire insurance and a one-way ticket to paradise. It doesn’t take much sacrifice or effort to live the “Christian life” of most Christians today. All you have to do is attend the church of your choice only when you feel like it and apply only the Word that is easy, comfortable, and doesn’t contradict your grandma. As Kenneth Hagin so aptly put it, “Any old dead fish can float down stream.”

Christians not walking in the fullness of their salvation can drift along lazily following whatever is trending in Christianity Today while singing “Que sera, sera… whatever will be, will be”. It’s so easy to just “go with the flow.” After all, one symbol of Christianity is a fish, right? Isn’t that what fish do…go with the current? Well, that’s certainly not the life we preach and pursue here at Gateway. We embrace more of “salmon” approach to living the Gospel.

What does that mean? Well, consider the Pacific Salmon for a moment. A few years ago, we were visiting in Seattle and went down to the shipping locks to watch the salmon run. It was amazing to watch them push against the current and navigate through natural and man-made obstacles, forcing themselves to head in the direction of their spawning grounds. I remember thinking how much easier their lives must have been cruising around in the open ocean. Yet, here they were, leaving the easy provision of one ecosystem, while risking entrapment by bears and humans to enter into another. We’ve all seen it on TV and marveled at the strength and determination of these fish, but most of us don’t realize the most fascinating aspect of their journey… these fish are dying.

See, salmon aren’t dead fish, floating forgotten down stream. Nor are they content to remain living fish, swimming comfortably around filing their own bellies. These salmon are dying fish, struggling and fighting against raging currents, leaping over rocks, desperate to fulfill their destiny. Once they transition from the open sea into the fresh water, their bodies begin to change and they, literally, begin to die. The Sockeye Salmon even begins to turn a brilliant, crimson red. Why do they do it? The sole purpose of their return is to lay or fertilize eggs and to die in the spawning grounds so their bodies provide nutrients for their newly hatched young.

Okay, so what does that have to do with the church? Let’s go back to that symbol, the fish, again for a moment. I know the scriptures talk about us becoming fishers of men. But we also need to recognize the fish that was broken and divided to provide food for the multitudes. Early Christians used the symbol of the fish to represent themselves, not the lost. The Greek word, ICTUS was used as an acrostic to mean (in English) “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior”. So, while we are fishermen, we are also fish.

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re not all about succumbing to the easy tide of trendy religion here at Gateway. We acknowledge the fact that we are transformed by the Blood, and like the Sockeye, this transformation drives us to give our life for others. We die daily to our selves, striving to enter into the Kingdom and turning from the comfort of the flesh to fulfill destiny and purpose. We understand purpose and sacrifice and the need to lay a foundation of Kingdom life for future generations. Like the salmon, we travel upstream dodging the enemy and overcoming obstacles so that, at our end, we will hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

What kind of fish are you? Are you a dead fish, filled with dead stinking religion? Are you a live fish, swimming comfortably following your own pursuits, filling your own belly? Or are you a dying fish, laying down your life for the sake of the Kingdom? Consider the salmon!



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