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Poseidon Adventure Living

Illustrating a Truth of The Disciple's Cross

Movies often mirror spiritual truths. The Poseidon Adventure, a disaster movie from the 1970s, portrayed the unhappy fate of a passenger liner capsized by an immense tidal wave in mid-ocean. Naturally enough, this threw everyone on board into a state of shock and confusion, including the ship's crew. All, that is, except for one passenger, the hero, who just happened to be a priest. Brokenness - Humility : Poseidon Adventure Living

He understood something that every movie goer could easily see, but which proved difficult for the other passengers to grasp: the only way out of the ship was to go below decks. Their world had been turned upside down. Their only chance for rescue now came from going deeper into the belly of the ship, hoping that somehow, they would be rescued through the hull. Everyone else, instinctively, wanted to go up the ship's stairs and ladders to the upper decks. But these were hundreds of feet below water!

Like the stunned passengers on board the doomed ship Poseidon, there is a dazed tendency in us to also go the wrong way. Just like the Poseidon, our world has been capsized. It has been turned upside down by a tidal wave of sin. However, it still makes sense to us to head the wrong way, seeking to go up, when what we really need to do, is learn how to go further down. Going up now, under the conditions of the Fall, always means going up into the pride of life, going up into the domain of Self--the secret source of all our woes.[i]

Not recognizing our true predicament for what it is, we seek to build life around ourselves, our strengths, our abilities and our successes. We try to save our lives and lose our souls in the process-- just as Jesus warned. Under the new order of redemption, all reliance upon Self must be abandoned in favor of trusting Jesus. That's why every step of growth in Christ begins with a fresh recognition of our fallenness and our weaknesses. The way down into confession of our brokenness actually leads us upwards toward new heights in the Lord as we turn to trust and hope in His grace.

The way down is the new up!

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite." Isaiah 57:15 ESV

Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?" Matthew 16:24-26 ESV


Father, I am so afraid of going down that I keep rising up to take control, even though I know that it's the wrong way to go now that I have You, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to entrust with my life. It seems so much easier to trust myself! Forgive me and break the power of this rebellion against Your leadership off of me. Make me willing to be made willing to surrender everything to You. I cast my heart, my life and my hope on the grace that I see in You!


[i] 1 John 2:16:  For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life--is not from the Father but is from the world.

Next Illustrated Insight

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