While navigating this peculiar path and living aboard a sailboat, which my husband and I named ‘Sailvation’, I thought a nautical inspired analogy may inspire fellow boaters and others to reflect on God’s love and His plan of salvation.
B.O.A.T. – Count The Cost
Every mariner knows what the famous acronym B.O.A.T. means: ‘Bring Out Another Thousand’ for we know just about anything and everything with the word “marine” in front of it is going to cost you a fortune!
Now imagine you are a boat owner who has found themselves in a financial fiasco unable to pay the loan on your vessel, let alone the expenses of maintaining it and enjoying her. After awhile, the bills continue to build as does the green algae and moss attacking your once pearly fiberglass hull. Before you know it, many more months have passed, except now the Harbor Master at the dock yard informs you that your slip fee is even more green than what’s growing on your vessel and he is going to have to put up your beloved boat for auction to pay your debt. After all, ship happens. Meanwhile, all your dreams of cruising are sinking further and further into the muck and mire of despair.
Amazingly, in your darkest most desperate hour of need, along comes this guy name Jesus, or Yeshua in His original Hebrew name, who offers to not only pay off the now very-overdue loan on your vessel, but He’s also going to pay all your slip fees causing you to be debt free and in the clear!
You see, fellow mariner, we all are imperfect sinners, who find ourselves making foolish choices and then suffer the damning consequences. We all are sinners who have gone off course and find ourselves run aground spiritually. But the Bible, which is our nautical charts for life, tells us the wages or cost of sin is death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Meaning our poor choices cause eternal spiritual and eventual physical death or separation from our Creator/God, who created us for relationship with Him and others. Seeing our need for help…for a Savior, or boat tow you could say, God loved each of us enough to send Yeshua, Jesus, His Son, the Messiah, to help us out by paying the cost of our sin..the cost of our lawlessness (I John 3:4) through the shedding of His blood on a cross. Can you imagine our sin cost even more than our yachts?! So much so that the only way to pay off the debt is for a perfect, sinless, Messiah named Yeshua / Jesus of Nazareth, born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23), to pay off our debt by bleeding to death on a cross fulfilling prophecy (Isaiah 53; Psalm 22; Zechariah 9:9; 11:13;12:10). Thankfully, just as the prophecies foretold, Jesus / Yeshua, rose from the dead three days later providing each of us with a hope and future of overcoming spiritual death and eventually even physical death when we are resurrected!
Clean The Exterior
After accepting His gracious offer, Jesus / Yeshua, then tells you He’s going to hose down your now debt-free yacht and even clean the barnacles of her hull. It would seem in just a matter of moments, not only was your debt washed away, but now, the exterior off your yacht gleams too!
Upon accepting God’s gracious gift of paying off our debt, He instructs us to be washed cleaned through baptism. It represents being made new and clean, being born again, or a fresh start as we wash away our unclean past.
In addition to paying all your vessel’s debt and providing your vessel a fresh start, Jesus / Yeshua, then sends His Helper over to refit the interior of your vessel. As long as you cooperate and are willing, Jesus’ Friend will teach you how to address the various issues that just about all vessels encounter at one time or another. He’ll help you remove any glaring mold while also fixing leaks and rusted chain plates. He’ll even help you replace the holding tanks, repair or replace port lights, rewire your vessel’s entire electrical needs, make sure the water pump is operating as it should along with the plumbing, replace the fabrics throughout, and just to ensure a smooth passage, He’ll even help you replace the engine and fill up your fuel tanks. Need a new bimini, a dodger, or those shabby sails replaced? No problem, Jesus and His Buddy can help with all that too!
Much like the refitting of our vessels, at some point, in God’s time, He sends a “Helper”, the Holy Spirit, which is God’s Spirit or put another way Yeshua / Jesus’ Spirit, to work on our mind, heart, and soul teaching us God’s ways and cleaning up the mess lurking within our souls (John 14:15-18; John 17:17; Acts 2:38; Acts 8:14-17; Acts 19:2-6; Romans 8:9-17; 1 John 2:24-29; 3:7-10).
The Manuals & Charts
All mariners know the manuals to your engine, electronics, and other systems on board your vessel dictate how such systems and your vessel should operate. Similarly, the nautical charts, whether in paper form or through apps, help you safely and legally navigate the waters.
Consider God’s word, whether in print or in app format, to be your guide and manual for life as it is designed to personally reveal to you important instructions on not just how to sojourn the calm waters of life, but God’s word will help you safely navigate the storms too (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:14-17)! Moreover, His words teaches us how to best operate in God’s kingdom among many other useful tips.
Unlike waterways and nautical charts though, God’s ways and His word never change (Malachi 3:6-7; Isaiah 55:11). Instead, the more you come to know and experience as a mariner circumnavigating God’s word, you will find God’s Holy Scriptures ultimately changes you and your course (Romans 12:1-2; 8:14).
Sailing In The Spirit
Speaking of changing course, while sailing, the sailor must be in alignment with the wind or they are stuck in bondage called “in-irons”. Woven along each sail are strings called the “telltales” because they tell if you and thereby your vessel are in alignment with the wind. The telltales will be flowing horizontally when your vessel is in alignment with the wind.
Similarly, when we as followers of Yeshua/Jesus are NOT in alignment with His Holy Spirit/the Spirit of Holiness also known as wind, we too will be stuck “in-irons” or bondage as slaves to sin..slaves to lawlessness. For we know the “telltale” signs or results of being in alignment with Yah’s Wind (God’s Spirit), we will cheerfully and willingly “horizontally” submit unto His Holy Wind… The telltales of our “course” is our obedience unto Him and His directions found in His Holy perfect Word.
Obedience to Abba’s ways (Father God’s ways)..His will..His laws aren’t bondage, but liberty. Rather, rebellion is stuck in-irons to sin.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 (Free from the consequence of sin! Avoid the law of sin and death//lawlessness see 1 John 3:4, but embrace the law of God//law of the Spirit of life Romans 7:22-8:10)
“So shall I keep Your law continually, forever and ever. And I will walk (or sail) at liberty, For I seek Your precepts.” Psalm 119:44-45