You have probably heard the phrases “Only a dead fish floats downstream,” and “Go with the flow.” Both phrases are connected to water and refer to doing what is easy or what everyone else is doing. If you have ever been by a river or stream, you have probably seen something float whichever way the current was going. As Christians we can compare the world to the river, and ourselves to the fish in the river. God tells us that we are to be separate from the world. James 4:8a says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” To get closer to God, we are going to have to head in the opposite direction of the world. It is kind of like the salmon swimming upstream to reach the place of its birth.
The salmon’s life begins in a river or a stream; as the salmon matures it will make the journey of many miles to the ocean. Most of its adult life will be spent in the ocean, until it is time to breed. The salmon swims against the flow, facing waterfalls, predators, fishermen, and other obstacles to reach the place where it’s young will be safe. The salmon will undergo several changes as it begins its journey “against the flow.” The salmon will stop eating, and focus all of its energy to making the journey to the place where it was born. The salmon’s metabolism will change as well as its muscle structure. The salmon’s entire focus is arriving at its destination. As Christians, our focus should be the same. Our destination is a close relationship with Christ. We will have to go against the crowd, and do things that are not easy. Rarely does anything worth having come easy. God never told anyone that getting close to Him would be easy, but He tells us that getting close to Him will be worth it. Be like a salmon, don’t go with the flow!