When you go sailing …

You could say that there are four things that determine the direction you travel in – two positive and two negative.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first is the direction you choose to go in. The race officer will have given you instructions and it’s a good idea to follow the course he has chosen because it’s a bit aimless otherwise, but you don’t have to . You are at liberty to go you own way, if you want.

Working against you are the gusts and shifts in the wind which blow you off course. External influences like these are present always and are part of the game. You need to be aware of them so you watch your course all the time. The very thing that drives you along can lead you astray if you let it take control!

The other thing that works against you is what you might call “your leanings” – the way your boat heels to one side or the other. With the mast vertical, the boat goes in a straight line, other things being equal, but heel it one way and the boat turns to the left; heel the other way and the boat takes you to off to the right. Either way you go off course and if that situation continues for too long, you may need a complete change of direction to get to where you want to go!

The thing that deals with the effects of wind and the heel of the boat is the rudder. Whatever else is happening in your life at that time, you never take you eyes off the sails or the next mark of the course and you keep your boat going in the direction you chose by taking positive control and steering for it. It’s a matter of second by second adjustment and correction. An autopilot is a great help provided it’s in good working order.. In life, this is your conscience.


Karl McIllwaine

Of course, it’s a lot better if there is someone in the boat with you. They can help you keep an eye on everything and tell you when something is amiss. If something goes wrong, they might even be able to “pull a few strings” and help you get out of trouble. It doesn’t undo the mistake but it can undo the effects of the mistake which, in the end, is what you really want. Isn’t it?

It’s very like life. Think about the things that influence the way your life pans out, the things that can create problems for you and what you can do to control things. Think about the help you can get from the One who is called “The Way …”

Contributed by Karl McIlwaine

19th Mar 2014 Posted in: 'tellmystory', News by Stella Jennings 2

2 Responses

  1. Steve Pollard says:

    Brilliant Karl. Precisely why sailing is such a good analogy for walking in the Spirit.

    Another aspect of the analogy. We are all born as landlubbers. At some time we may be called to live on the water. Some respond to the call to live in another element, born of the Spirit. At first we may enjoy rowing our boat around the harbour, but it’s hard work and eventually we may hoist our sails and let the wind help us move. As new Christians we enjoy the new life but it’s largely our own effort until we learn about being filled with the Spirit. Once our sails are hoisted we can just let them be or we can learn to pay attention to the wind as you describe and sail more effectively. So as Spirit -filled Christians we can choose how much attention we pay to the Spirit and position our lives so He fills us continually. The great day comes when we know how to sail and can venture out of the safety of the harbour and sail freely. Likewise, the day comes when the Spirit knows we are sufficiently responsive to Him that He can lead us out of the safety of what we know and call us to our unique voyage to take us to new folk who can respond to His call.

    We’re all sailors at heart,
    God bless,

    • Karl Mcilwaine says:

      This lifts my simple blog to a whole new level, Steve, and I endorse what you say. People will be able to read your reply on the web site, so they have the chance to ponder your words.

      ABW, Karl.

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