Living In The Swamp

Southaven, Ms

By: Mike Upchurch

Did you ever notice the world is like a swamp?  It’s dark and scary and smelly in some places. There is pain and suffering in the swamp. There are things that can eat you alive in the swamp!  You can get lost and stay lost in the swamp!

Yes, the world is like a swamp. But it’s all we know.  Our friends are here. We work in the swamp. Here we are wading around up to our belt buckles in the swamp each day just trying to survive. We live and die in the swamp. We’re swamp people!

But then we learn of Jesus!  He’s not swamp people!  He offers us forgiveness and love and peace and things we just can’t find in the swamp!  So we’re still in the swamp, but now we’re holding on to Jesus’ hand!  It’s pretty rosy for awhile!  We feel clean!  We love everyone around us!  Even the unlovable!  We have changed and others can tell.

But then, we hear noises coming from the swamp…..why look, it’s all our rowdy friends we used to hang out with!  And they look like they’re having a good time too. Whooping and hollering, they seem to be having the time of their life!  We used to be that like. But we’re changed now!

But it sure does look inviting. Couldn’t hurt to just see what’s going on, right?  So we slide back a bit to our old lifestyle.

But then, one day we discover we’re not holding Jesus’ hand like before. As a matter of fact, we don’t feel so clean anymore and we don’t feel so good about ourselves. We can’t hear His voice, and it doesn’t seem like our prayers are being answered either!

Well, what did we expect????

After all, we’ve gone back to our old ways. We’re swamp people again!  We looked back fondly to our old life longingly and we’ve become like Lot’s wife!  Remember, she looked back to Sodom and Gomorrah and became a pillar of salt. Salt is lifeless, as we’ve written before. It cannot grow. It cannot reproduce.  

And that’s what happens to us when we go wandering around without our Jesus. We stop growing. We’re unable to reproduce and we don’t lead others to the Lord.

Paul had some good advice for those of us in the swamp…..

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:1-3

Folks, it’s a fact. If we are saved, and yet we talk like swamp people, and we act like swamp people, and we smell like swamp people, and we have swamp music playing on our radios, then we pretty much have become swamp people ourselves again!

There’s no difference between us and them!  We might try and talk to them about God, and they might say “You’re no different from me, why do I want what you have?”

Jesus said we are the light of the world. We must shine our light of love, mercy, and grace on them!  We are to be a light in the swamp. The light of Jesus showing the way!  People should notice a difference in you!  They should want what you have.  Your circle of friends should include more saved people than swamp people, or the ‘old man’ whom you used to be could rise up again. 

We need the strength of each other.  Remember the Lord’s command through Paul…..

Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. ””‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭6:17-18‬ ‭NLT

‬‬You can be in the swamp and not be swamp people!  You can be in the swamp and be protected. You can be in the swamp and not be affected. You’re saved now. Live like it!

Tom Scholz, guitarist extraordinaire and founder of the rock group Boston, wrote “Don’t Look Back” in the late seventies. 

It is by no means a gospel song, and he sure wasn’t writing about serving the Lord, but there’s a profound truth in the lyrics…..

The road is callin, today is the day
I can see, it took so long just to realize
I’m much too strong not to compromise
Now I see what I am is holding me down
I’ll turn it around
I finally see the dawn arrivin
I see beyond the road I’m drivin
dont look back 

“Now I see I am what is holding me down.”  That’s the key in that song. He realized HE was the problem in moving forward. He was holding himself down. He was holding himself back!!

You are the one that might be holding yourself back.  It’s time to come back to Jesus and hold on to Him tighter than ever!  You are the only one that can make that decision. And you are the only one that can abandon the Lord and dive back into swamp life!

Don’t be swamp people again!  Ever!

And that’s the way I see it!

Pastor Mike