Enthusiasm abounds over the new "Survivor" series, the first episode which aired recently. This may (or may not) be enlightening but I do know if you want to truly learn how to be a survivor, study God's word.

In Acts 27, we read a truly amazing survival story of 276 people, including the apostle Paul (please read this chapter). He was a prisoner on his way to trial in Rome when the ship sailed into a dangerous storm and shipwrecked on an island. We learn how Paul and those with him became survivors: 1) They cast off burdens that weighed them down (vs. 18-19), 2) They looked to God when things seem hopeless (vs. 20-25), 3) They had a firm anchor to hold in the storm (vs. 29), and 4) They abode in the haven of God's grace (vs. 30-31). We can follow these same measures spiritually as we sail on "life's tempestuous sea". God teaches us how to be a survivor in life.

CAST OFF THE BURDENS THAT WEIGH US DOWN. "...lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1). To be a faithful Christian requires that we "cast overboard" any sinful tendency that would hinder our spiritual quest. God admonishes that we trust Him to help us with life's burdens: "...casting all your anxiety upon him, because he careth for you" (1 Peter 5:7; cf. Philippians 4:6-7). Too many choose rather to worry themselves to death (literally and spiritually).

WHEN THINGS LOOK HOPELESS, BELIEVE GOD. Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who in the face of death stood for what's right because they had already determined to rely on God whatever consequences may come (Daniel 3:16-18). We need that kind of faith if we are to survive the onslaughts of the "god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4). Thus, the inspired author admonishes: "Cast not away therefore your boldness, which hath great recompense of reward... we are not of them that shrink back unto perdition; but of them that have faith unto the saving of the soul" (Hebrews 10:35, 39).

HAVE A FIRM ANCHOR IN THE STORMS OF LIFE. Many aimlessly "drift" in life with no foundation to provide strength (Heb. 2:1); others are "tossed to and fro" by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14). They are morally and spiritually weak. Understanding the danger, we must be spiritually secure: "...we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and stedfast" (Hebrews 6:19). Through the promises of God we can become "partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust" (2 Pet. 1:4). They will give us the needed stability to be survivors. (cf. Abraham, Romans 4:20-21).

ABIDE IN THE HAVEN OF GOD'S SAFETY. We must abide "in Christ", where all spiritual blessings are (Ephesians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Such have been baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27), and, likewise, "baptized into one body" (1 Corinthians 12:13), which is His church (Ephesians 4:4; 1:22-23). The church consists of all the saved - God's children by faith (Rom. 5:1-2). Faithfulness is maintained by a deliberate effort to "abide" in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9; John 8:31). Such constitutes God's haven of spiritual security for all who would please Him. Except you abide in it, you cannot be saved. Like the soldiers who sought to leave the ship by taking another boat (vs. 30), denominationalism is a present reminder of how many choose "another boat" as their refuge. Many no longer abide in Christ, His church, His truth and have instead joined themselves to human religions of which the Bible says nothing.

May we truly be a spiritual survivor by relying upon God and obeying His word.

By Dan Richardson

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