What Is Your Anchor
January 1, 2018
Anchors. They hold things in place, like a fishing boat in a blustery wind. They keep the boat from drifting to unproductive places on the lake. If you are fishing, you want to be in the place where the fish are!
I have been thinking, what really is the anchor of our souls? Do we really have a dependable spiritual anchor or are we just assuming so because of certain met conditions in our life? Is it possible that we are satisfied with insecure anchors? Personally, I believe that is true for multitudes of Christians. We are identified with given churches and programs without knowing the reality of what a true anchor is.
With this in mind, I would like to discuss and hopefully distinguish between genuine spiritual anchors for our souls and things that maybe only appear to be so.
First, let’s consider some less than true spiritual anchors.
A given church. The local church is very important and significant in every believer’s life. Every believer should have a local church in which he can worship God, attend services regularly, invite people to, support with his offerings, and exercise his or her gifts in service to others in the local church. The local church is God’s program for the dispensation in which we live. It should in no way be minimized in significance and the important part it is to play in the believer’s life.
However, a word of caution. Sometimes even churches with a good reputation of preaching the word of God and providing adequate programs for its members can become an end in themselves. The church may take on a status of becoming an unwarranted authority in a believer’s life. That is, the believer’s loyalty and allegiance is focused more on the church than on the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ! When a church focuses on the externals more than on Christ, the church has lost its power, if indeed it ever had any. When that happens, the consequences can be quite drastic. Let me suggest a few.
People may lose heart for the ministry. Many people rather quickly lose heart for that which is obviously of man. Even if the pastor preaches the word of God faithfully, but somehow fails to share the reality of God in the believer’s life, people may eventually become disinterested. They will see the preaching more of a man’s conviction than the word of God.
Personalities become predominant. When personalities rise to an unwarranted power, there is great cause for division. This was a problem in the Corinthian church. Note Paul’s exhortation to the church, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are divisions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you, or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” (I Cor. 1:10-13). When personalities take on unwarranted position or authority, there will most likely be broken relationships and hurt feelings. Granted, God gives a sense of authority to duly elected leadership, but it should always be under His direction. Any leadership of a local church that does not, in reality, know what it is to walk with God and seek to maintain that relationship, will end up being a blight on the ministry of the church. Multitudes of local churches are hindered by such self-assumed leadership. Remember what the Apostle John said about Diotrephes, “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words…” (III Jn. 9-10).
Many people do not like to hear about the need for revival in the church, but to ignore the need is to greatly limit God’s intended ministry for the church! Many churches plod on, congratulating themselves on beautiful buildings, talented staff, and an abundance of programs to meet the needs of the congregation all the while ignoring the one thing that will bring God’s Person and blessing to the church!
The witness of Christ to the community will be greatly diminished. The purpose of the church in the community is not to impress them of our possessions and talents. It is to be a witness to them of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The purpose of the church is to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. It is my conviction that if the word of God is taught and preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, peoples’ hearts will be blessed and lives will be changed. However, some will not come if the truth Bible is preached, but some will and they will find the refreshment for their souls that they need.
Religious leaders. There are many religious leaders who do not preach the gospel but who have a personal agenda or program to promote. People who are tied into such “ministry” have no real anchor for their souls.
But let’s take this a step further. Sometimes people become so attached to a particular Gospel preacher that they can’t see beyond his influence. They believe whatever he is preaching, but can’t get beyond whatever he stands for. The problem is when a preacher himself becomes the anchor for a person’s soul. In some senses, he replaces the place only the Lord Himself should have. Paul set the record straight on this point when he said, “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand” (II Cor. 1:24). No man, no matter his seeming importance or influence, should ever have the place only Jesus should have!
Perhaps one further comment could be made here. Even a pastor who faithfully preaches the word of God has to be careful about the control he has in the lives of believers. I think it can happen sometimes unintentionally, but this is the reason for maintaining a close walk with God. If people look to a pastor more than to God, they will always be mislead.
Family. Thank God for the influence of Godly families. Hardly anything can have a more beneficial influence on a person than a Godly family. When families are knit together in love for God and one another, that is a great anchor for one’s soul. Though not the primary anchor, it is a very significant one.
Still, there sometimes is a problem in making one’s family to be too strong of an influence. What I mean is, some families are only nominally Christian. The influence they yield is not really one of true Godliness. They may go to church, even one where the gospel is preached, but they really are not committed to the Lord. They may hear the truths of the Bible and yet live their lives more out of self interest rather than the truths they hear in church. When that is the case, the family becomes an unsure anchor. This is a hard truth to deal with because of peoples love for their families which is usually good. But consider, if the influence of one’s family keeps him from following the Lord Himself, there is a spiritual problem.
Remember the words of Jesus, “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:37). I think one cannot assent to this truth except that God hath done a work of sanctification in his heart. This is not a truth reached by reason, but by the work of God Himself.
So, consider a word of caution about making one’s family to be the primary anchor in one’s life. As wonderful and helpful as one’s family may be, there is One who has a prior claim.
When one makes other things than God Himself to be the anchor of his soul, this can readily lead to disillusionment, being more easily separated from worthy anchors, drifting from the truth, and being readily attracted to the influences of the world.
Now, let’s consider some true anchors for one’s soul.
Of course, the anchor of first importance is Jesus Christ Himself. Believers should ever keep in mind Paul’s admonition, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 3:11). There is no other source of salvation than Jesus Christ. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Remember, too, the word of Jesus, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (Jn. 14:6).
For Jesus Christ to be the anchor of one’s soul, one must have personally come to Christ in faith, trusting Him as the only Savior of his soul. Christ does not become one’s anchor until there is a personal relationship with Him. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13). Knowledge alone is not sufficient for salvation. There must be a heart acceptance of Christ as One’s Savior.
Secondly, personal prayer should be an anchor of one’s soul. One cannot live the Christian life without communication with God in prayer. It is in personal prayer that we can and should worship and praise God. Consider one of the prayers of David, “O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee; my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psa. 63:1). Jesus Himself exhorted that, “…men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). Paul reminds us, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6). Indeed, personal, heartfelt prayer is essential to the Christian life.
Thirdly, the word of God, the Bible, should be an anchor of one’s soul. There is no truth, spiritual light, or life apart from the Bible. Because of men’s rejection of the truth of the Bible, the world is in the condition it is today. The Bible is indeed God’s word as the Apostle Paul said, “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16). If the Bible is not the anchor of one’s soul, he will never know what it is to walk in the light and righteousness of God.
Faith is a very significant anchor of one’s soul. As a believer grows in his knowledge of the word of God, his faith will grow. Strong faith is essential to living a life that is pleasing to God. The writer of Hebrews said, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). Also, we should remember, “…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23). The norm of the Christian life is to walk by faith. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (II Cor. 5:7).
Spiritual rest is an anchor of one’s soul. Apart from knowing Jesus Christ as personal Savior, there is no real rest for one’s soul. Such a one keeps wondering, seeking, and maybe fearing what the future holds. The writer of Hebrews said, “For we which have believed do enter into rest…There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Heb. 4:3, 9). It is so wonderful to have a place of rest for one’s soul!
A Godly church should be an anchor of one’s soul. The local church is a place to hear the teaching and preaching of the word of God. As such, the local church should be a major factor in one’s walk with God. But sometimes it is and sometimes not so much. In some churches the Bible is given only a token recognition, and it is not central to the worship services of the church. We need to heed Paul’s exhortation, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…” (II Tim. 4:1-3).
In seeking a church, the preaching of the word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit should be of primary concern. What I mean by the power of the Holy Spirit is that the preacher studies the Bible for Himself and is convinced that God has laid the message he is to preach upon his heart. He then delivers the message bathed in prayer with a sense of Godly urgency. He depends upon God to work in peoples’ hearts and not so much his own abilities. Where this is true, the local church can be a very vital anchor of his soul.
Godly Christian friends should be an anchor of one’s soul. Good Christian friends are a wonderful blessing in the life of the believer. A friend is someone you can comfortably spend time with whether in some activity or perhaps just in quiet fellowship. Friends come in many different sizes, ages, talents, interests and a host of other things. Not all friends share the same interests and concerns.
However, when it comes to the closest of friendships, it is very helpful if they share the same spiritual interests that we do. What I mean is that at least some of our closest friends have a genuine fellowship with God that we can share. It is a fellowship, not just in knowledge about the Bible, but in true fellowship with God Himself. It is that kind of friend that will minister most to our spiritual life and needs. It is with such a friend that we can enter into true fellowship with. It is such a friend that will have a lasting impact upon our life. It is such friendships that endure for the rest of one’s life. On a similar note, Solomon said, “A friend loveth at all times…” (Prov. 17:17). This is especially true of friendships that are rooted in God and His word.
Believing and observing the work of God in one’s life should be an anchor of one’s soul. If one walks with God in truth, he will be able to observe and experience something of what God has done and is doing in his life. Christianity is not just a doctrine to believe, but a life to experience. Should we not be able to identify with the Psalmist who said, “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul” (Psa. 66:16). Many identify with the work of God in creation, but they cannot really identify with what God is doing in their lives. If one truly knows God as Savior, he will also know God as his Shepherd, the one who provides all he needs in this life. He can declare with David, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me” (Psa. 23:2-4).
It is so significant for believers to have and understand something of the role of anchors for their souls. Without Biblical spiritual anchors, we tend to drift away from spiritual reality. Considering the weakness of ourselves for any kind of lasting permanence, we should pray with David, “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is, that I may know how frail I am” (Psa. 39:4). We can face our days and all of our future when we have Biblical anchors!
December has been a busy but mostly a delightful month. There have been Christmas programs, Christmas parties, and lots of good food as well as many special gifts. BJ and I want to thank everyone who remembered us in any special way. There has also been a little snow and considerable ice on the roads!
There has also been sadness in the lives of some we know and love. We can be so thankful that God is in control of all things and nothing is a surprise to Him. With His grace and provision we have a sure anchor for our souls. We certainly don’t know why things happen as they do, but we can trust God to see us through.
Special ministry has included teaching the adult Sunday school class in our church and preaching in the morning service on December 31st. Of course, there is always calling and sharing the glorious truth of the birth of Christ.
If you would like to add anyone to our mailing list, please give me their name and address. There is no charge. We can send The Sonshine either by regular mail or by email. We need to be the best witness to the truth of God we can be. So many are in need of a true Gospel witness. This may include relatives, friends, neighbors, or anyone else we have any contact with. Life is very indefinite. We know not what a day or year may bring, so we need to be a faithful and true witness.
BJ and I wish to thank the many who remembered us with cards and gifts this Christmas season. Your love and friendship means a great deal to us.
We wish all a blessed and spiritually prosperous “New Year.” Keep looking up. This could be the year the Lord returns in the air for His church, all true believers in Jesus Christ! News Flash! BJ fell and broke her right wrist yesterday, Dec. 19th. She has already broken the left one four times!!