What floating a river taught me about following Jesus

floating a river

I recently floated a river…

And it was a lot of work.

I made a bad assumption that floating a river just meant deciding to get into an inner-tube and letting the river take you downstream to your destination.

I was wrong.

Three things happened on that river that taught me a lot about the bad assumptions we can make about what it means to follow Jesus.


First…the current was strong and didn’t always take me where I wanted to go.

Turns out I had to paddle with my arms a lot to get where I wanted to go.  And, I had to pay attention to my surroundings…especially to the obstacles like sharp rocks and river debris.

Second…the pace of the river wasn’t the same for everybody and our group easily became spread out and disconnected.

Remember what I said about the current not always taking me where I wanted to go and having to paddle with my arms a lot?  Well, now you can add having to get out of my tube and swimming with the current to catch up with my group to that.

Third…it was a long day on the river.

Just when I thought we were done floating, there was another stretch of river.  And another and another…

So, what did all of that teach me about some of the bad assumptions we can make about following Jesus?

Bad Assumption #1:  Following Jesus just means deciding to follow Him and then waiting to get to your ultimate destination…heaven.

This is the classic “get-out-of-hell-free” approach to following Jesus.

You pray a prayer and wait for heaven.

But, following Jesus is so much more than that.  It takes a lot of work to stay in His current and avoid the obstacles of life that get you off track.

Because, life is full of currents…some good and some bad.

And, you better know where the one you’re in right now is taking you.

Bad Assumption #2:  Following Jesus just means connecting yourself with other Jesus followers by going to church once a week.

If you truly want to be connected to other people who are going to help you follow Jesus, it takes more than just going to church with them.

Six days between Sundays is a long time and it’s easy to live our lives disconnected.

You may find that you need to get out of your comfort zone a little bit and work at getting to know the people following Jesus with you.

At the least, you need to look around right now and see who you’re floating through life with…are they helping you follow Jesus or not?

Bad Assumption #3:  Following Jesus just means following Him when it’s convenient or comfortable…and when it fits into your schedule.

(Did I mention that it was a long day on that river?)

We can easily wish away our time on this earth or fill it with stuff that has little value in the end.

And, we can always find things to complain or whine about if things don’t go our way.

But, we miss out on so much that God has for us when we choose to focus on our own convenience and comfort instead of trusting His timing and plans for us every day.

So, how are you following Jesus right now?

Are you just floating through life?

Are you trying to follow Him alone?

Are you trusting Him to lead and guide you?


Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)







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