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Daily Worship


July 29 | 1 Timothy 6:11-19





Grasping for Life

by Mary Alice McGinnis

One year my former pastor and his family were on vacation on the beach in the Carolinas. As they entered the beach area, there was a sign which said – “Dangerous Riptides - Swim at Your Own Risk.”

While they were relaxing on the beach, they watched a young surfer riding the waves. Time after time, this daring surfer would paddle out to the edge of a wave, stand to his feet on his board, catch the crest of the wave, and ride playfully toward the shore.

But then it happened. The surfer was overtaken by a wave. Just like a spinning washing machine, that wave kept spinning him over and over and over, flopping him this way and that way. He kept struggling, flailing his arms and legs, trying desperately to gasp for a breath, only to be dunked under again.

My pastor’s son, Seth, who had an advanced coastal lifeguard certification, jumped into the water, and swam out to the surfer.

Seth got as close to the struggling surfer as he could. But to everyone’s amazement, he just watched.

As part of his training as a coastal lifeguard, he had been taught not to rush in too soon. A person caught in a riptide becomes frantic, desperate to breathe, and will furiously fight for their life. They become so disoriented by the waves, they won’t even know which way is up toward the surface. The victim’s instinct will be to will grasp hold of anything or anyone, desperate for a way out, a way up, a way to escape certain death. If they gain a death grip on the lifesaver, the frantic struggle will likely cause them both to drown.

Seth allowed the surfer to come to a state of exhaustion. When he had no more strength left, the struggling stopped, and the young surfer’s body rose to the surface of the water. Seth then gently took hold of him, one arm around this chest and the other around his neck and he swam him safely back to shore.

Don’t we see this kind of grasping for life in ourselves? In John Eldridge’s book “Resilient” he says this:

“The epicenter of our being is the deep longing to aspire for things that bring us life, to plan for those things, to take hold of them, to enjoy them, and start the cycle over as we aspire toward new things! This is the essential craving for life given to us by God. Let’s call this capacity the Primal Drive for Life.”

The issue is we often look for ways to make life good again in empty pursuits. The next Amazon delivery, the latest podcast, frantically trying to live up to other people's expectations, the next promotion, seeking praise, honor or respect, social status, financial security, etc., etc., etc.

Paul tells his young disciple in the faith, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”

Take note of these phrases in what Paul says about how to pursue TRUE LIFE.

Instead of striving and struggling to grasp hold of the things of this life that are fleeting, he encourages us to “take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.”

This is a different kind of life. This TRUE LIFE, not a vapor or figment of our imagination. It’s a fullness of life that is real, genuine, and vigorous. It is so vigorous that death itself cannot stop it. Jesus’ resurrection won this unstoppable, never-ending life for us when He stomped out the curse of death on the cross for us forever. He has promised that He is preparing a place for us to live with Him eternally.

Paul says, God is the one who “gives life to everything.” These days, many have forgotten that they have a Creator. Our Mighty God formed everything, and He breathed the breath of life into all living creatures. Who could be a better source of TRUE life than the one who created it in the first place? He is the One “who alone is immortal, and who lives in unapproachable light.”

So how do we take hold of this life that is TRUE LIFE?

The downward spiraling riptides of this world’s promises will disorient us and lead us to succumb to the death grip of self-preservation. When we stop striving and release all we are to Jesus our LIFE saver, and trust Him completely, He will show us the way to true life.

How might God be calling you to identify some of the empty quests you have been pursuing and instead, humbly take hold of HIM?

How is He calling you to pursue the TRUE LIFE He has to give, and generously give to others from the abundant storehouse of Him who is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE?


Lord, please forgive me for my relentless pursuit of empty life. Draw me closer to You, teach me to trust You, to surrender to You, to let go and let you lead. Show me how to pursue a life of righteousness, goodness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. You are blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings, and Lord of Lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light. To You God be all honor and might forever. AMEN

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