I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Having been raised about a quarter of a mile from the Lake Michigan water-front, I got used to a lot of different sights and smells. Birch mixed with pine in the fall and biting cold air off the lake through a wool scarf where a couple of the more memorable smells. The most notable, however, was in the summer. Along about the beginning of June a little fish called the Alewife, a relative of the herring, would begin to have a problem. Some said it was the pollution in the lake, others the spawning habits of the fish that caused the phenomenon. Regardless of the cause, the end result was thousands of dead fish along the shore of Lake Michigan. Washed in by the currents in the lake no beach was exempt from the invasion. The summer of sixty-seven was the worst. That year thousands upon thousands expired. I don’t need to describe what an odor that caused. We were a block from the beach and the smell still permeated everything.
As I considered the new year I remembered the invasion of the little fish. Not a one of those fish swam to the beaches that they covered. They were all long dead before they arrived. It’s easy to travel with the currents, to go with the flow. Charles Spurgeon said “…we must swim against the stream, we must bear the cross and deny ourselves: this is not the popular course and never will be, but gracious souls choose it.” God never intended for us to get saved and then “coast” into the finish line. In II Timothy 2:3 we are told to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Human nature is to take the path of least resistance. As Christians we must “fight the good fight”, we must be a “living sacrifice.” Live fish swim against the current, only the dead fish go with the flow. Let’s be sure that in this new year on the shores of eternity “we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ” (II Cor. 2:15), not that of dead fish.