Thursday, May 24th, marks the 12th year anniversary of my Granddaddy, Dr.T.W. Wilson’s promotion to Heaven. In tribute to him, I wanted to continue last week’s car ride conversation that he and I had just a few months before he died.
I had always known that Granddaddy was a man of conviction, who sought to bring glory and honor to the name of Christ, rather than settling for living in the moment and abandoning consideration for consequences to rash choices.
He began his story, set over 70 years ago. He had recently become a Christian. When some of his buddies asked him to come out with them, he joined in like always. Only something was different this time. His friends picked him up in their car. They all went to get some refreshing beverages. While the gang all guzzled their alcoholic choices, Granddaddy just drank a Coca-Cola. They all began to make fun of him and tauntingly called him, “Preacher boy.” Yet still, he chose to stick with his bottle of Coke over a bottle of beer because he didn’t want to act the way he did before he knew Jesus. He wanted to be different. He wanted to be set apart.
They got back in the car, and they made him sit in the middle….probably to sort of “punish” him for not being as cool and “grown up” as them.
The driver, impaired by alcohol, put the key in the ignition and proceeded to swerve through town. Long story short, they found themselves still in the car, yet upside down in a creek.
Granddaddy was the ONLY one who walked away without any broken bones. The driver, the one who had given him the hardest time, was declared paralyzed.
If you’ll recall last week’s lesson from Granddaddy, you’ll remember that his life verse was Romans 8:28, “And we know that ALL things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.”
God, in his sovereignty, spared the lives of all those boys in that car. He spared my Granddaddy from harm. Even though he should have probably split from that group of peer pressure provoking fellas, he stood firm in his convictions that he was a new creation. He wasn’t like the T.W. that once was just living for himself and the latest thrill. He was becoming more and more set apart. Do you know what term “set apart” defines? It defines the word, “holy.”
In the little bit that Granddaddy had learned about what it meant to follow Jesus, he was already beginning to learn what his redeemer meant by, “But just as He who called you is holy, be holy in all you do.” (1 Peter 1:15).
I’m not here to argue with you about your convictions about the consumption of alcohol. I’ve shared before that I don’t dig it. Not because I’m a prude and don’t enjoy a good time, but because the Bible tells us not to get drunk and I just don’t know how you can know your limit until you’ve reached it. So, I don’t want the temptation of falling into that struggle that so many in my extended family, unfortunately, have battled.
Granddaddy taught me that day that it is so much better to be filled with the Spirit of God than alcohol or anything else that distracts from God’s best. The Bible is clear when it says, “ Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 1:17-18)
Like I said before, this segment isn’t to preach abstinence from alcohol, but to set forth a challenge to be holy as the one we call, “Lord,” is holy and to be filled with His Spirit more than anything we consume in this life.
We all mess up along the way. None of us reach full holiness until we pass through the gates of Heaven. Yet on the journey to glory, the process of being made holy and more like Jesus sets us apart from the foolishness of this world and leads to a life on earth that is full. Full of the wonderful, joy giving, abundant, life-restoring, eternity-offering spirit of the risen Lord.
We all live and breathe, but Christ, through His powerful Holy Spirit, proposes LIFE that is more complete and beautiful than the world and all it has to offer that we were born into.
One of Granddaddy’s most repeated quotes to us grandkids and anyone within earshot of him for that matter was this, “Anyone can swim downstream with the rest of the fish, but it takes a LIVE fish to buck the current.”
What about you? Are you swimming in the patterns of the main stream? Or are you a LIVE fish who is bucking the current?
Splash. That was a couple live fish flapping their fins to change directions.