Life in a fish tank

I had a dream one night about a beta fish that was in a 1 gallon tank. As it began to blow bubbles, we realized that this fish was ready to mate. According to dream-logic we knew that we should set it free.  So as you do when you want to set a fish free we dug a small hole in the yard just deep enough the top was level with the grass. We placed the tank in the hole along with the water, we even had the small pump and light running in the tank. As we were standing there watching the “release” we suddenly realized that the fish had disappeared. I remember the sad feeling that this fish has been released and we wouldn’t see him again. Suddenly, the dream pushed me forward and down into the water! In my minds eye I followed a small channel of water running just under the ground as it flowed out of the little tank. As I moved along the scene changed and I was standing in front of a huge aquarium! Looking through the glass I saw numerous colorful and multi sized fish swimming in thousands of gallons of water! The scene slowly zoomed out and I had an aerial view.  There was the small 1 gallon tank, the little channel of water spilling into the million gallon tank, and my little beta fish swimming in a whole new world, he was truly set free!

As I was waking up I felt God speaking to me, here is what He said, “James, you think you know how big the world is. You don’t realize that your world is very tiny, you are only in a small 1 gallon tank. I know this feels very real to you but you have no idea how big MY world for you is. I want to take you into a much larger world”

I’ve been thinking about those words for some time now and want to pass this on to you today. What if your life as you know it is only a 1 gallon tank? According to 2 Peter chapter 1, as a believer God has regenerated you, given you what you need to live a godly life, given you a way of escape from the corruption/junk in the world. Is there a chance that God wants to take you to a larger world where you will use your talents and gifts to bring about change in your world? This thought is scary! After all the little tank is safe, predictable, no large waves, food drops right in front of you, no sharks, temps are good – not perfect but comfortable. But the things that you fear – the hurts from the past, the shame from bad experiences –  cause you to stay in the safety of the little tank. Why change, why swim down that little channel into the aquarium? Some fish stop growing when the tank is too small. The Baltimore aquarium holds 2.2 million gallons of water. So growth is boundless for a tiny beta fish! Look around you, there’s a ton of Christians that are just simply swimming in circles day after day bored out of their minds! They can’t grow because the tank is too small. You were meant to continue to grow and mature in Christ. If you have a petty little sin that keeps gnawing away at you it could be an indication of complacency.  2 Peter tells us that those who fail to develop(grow) are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

The first thing that should motivate us to change is the fact that as believers we are called to push back the darkness. We are warriors! Also, let this speak to your heart, you are unique in what you bring into the kingdom of Christ. The Bible tells us that before we entered this world we are in God’s thoughts. That means He can bring us into the world whenever He cares to, right? If He saw fit to bring you into the world at this exact time, then it means He wants you to take action at this moment in time! There are many passive people in the world and in the church. God is calling you to leave your place of comfort and step up to the plate at home, at work, and at church.

So, are you willing to swim through the channel to reach the larger world? Life will become dangerous, risky, it might get a little bloody when the sharks take a bite out of you. But experiencing the wholeness that comes from living a fulfilled life is worth every bit of the risk! You will enjoy the fullness of God in your life as you offer life giving relationships to the people around you. Most importantly, as those people standing outside the tank watch you swim past, they will swoon at your beautiful colors and they too may be motivated to join you in glorifying the Creator.

Finally, to the believer as well as to the unbeliever reading this, the Bible tells us that “though He[Jesus] was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up his divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminals death on a cross (Philipians 2:6-8). Jesus didn’t leave a small fish tank…He left the boundless glories of the heavens and entered into the small tank called earth through channel of childbirth…because of His love for us. Think about how great that love must be! May it move us to action today!