Lessons From Scuba
Posted by August 9, 2016on
Open water divers are trained to dive within their limits to minimize the risks of diving. God’s laws actually have a similar function!
I recently became certified as an Open Water Scuba Diver. Diving is an exhilarating experience and—like similar experiences in life—carries inherent risks. However, with proper training, those risks can be minimized. Open water divers are trained to dive within their limits, which basically means to minimize the risks of diving.
Likewise, God has provided us with His laws to guide us so that we may experience joy, peace and happiness in this life and avoid the harmful consequences of sin (Psalm 119:97-104; James 1:25).
Let’s look at three similarities between the principles of safe diving and the purpose of God’s law.
1. Dive within your limits.
During the course, I quickly learned to pay close attention to what the instructor both said and did. Having the experience of many dives, he was able to share those experiences with us so that we, too, could learn from his experience and knowledge to become skilled divers ourselves.
Similarly, God instructs us in righteousness through His instruction manual for life—the Bible. God’s Word offers laws to live by and examples to learn from. Jesus Christ left us a perfect example of how to live (John 13:15; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:1; 1 Peter 2:21). The Bible also provides us many more examples from God’s faithful servants (1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 11).
Sometimes our instructor shared examples of divers who did not dive within their limits, or who disregarded safety protocols, in order to show us the reality of the consequences of breaking these principles. God has also provided us with examples of individuals who did not follow His instructions, and He shows us what consequences followed. (Think about the examples of Cain and Saul.)
2. Stay with your buddy.
“Stay with your buddy.” I heard that phrase many times each class session. Underwater, your buddy is your source of help. Your buddy can provide extra air, free you if you become entangled in something and add to the fun because you get to share your experiences.
God has provided us with many “buddies” (our brethren) who can help us to stay strong in the faith, correct us when we are in the wrong and offer encouragement when we need it (James 5:19-20; Proverbs 17:17; 27:17; Galatians 6:1-2). God instructs us to assemble together every week on His Sabbath day because He knows fellowship with our brethren is so important for us (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Remember, however, there is such a thing as a “bad buddy”—one who would push you to go beyond your limits or make risky decisions underwater. We must be watchful of the habits of those around us in the world and not allow bad influences to sway us negatively (Galatians 6:1; Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33).
3. Trust the instruments.
During my final certification exam, I had to swim a certain distance underwater, navigating with my compass in conditions where visibility was somewhat limited. I thought I was swimming in a straight line, but my compass kept swinging farther off the line I was set to follow! I rationalized that perhaps I was swimming straight, but holding the compass wrong!
When I surfaced, I felt foolish for doubting the compass. I had missed my target! I learned to trust my instruments. Similarly, God expects us to have faith that He will guide us and provide us with what we need (James 1:5-8; Matthew 6:28-34). We can only grow by regularly using the instruments He has provided us: the Bible, prayer, meditation and occasional fasting. God’s Word provides light to our path, and we can trust that He will never leave us (Psalm 119:105; Romans 8:38-39; Hebrews 13:5).
Will YOU “dive within your limits”?
God and Christ are the perfect instructors and have an eternity of experience with which to guide us through this life. God provides us with laws to protect us, buddies to help us and instruments to navigate through the paths of this life. But in the end, it is up to each of us to choose whether we will “dive within our limits” and abide by these perfect guidelines—or dive beyond our limits and suffer the natural consequences.
(To read another interesting spiritual analogy by Gabriella Kroska, see “Are You a Spiritual Carpenter?”)