Saturday, October 9, 2010


Surfers are surfing better today than in any other era, by far. Ok they might not be the best all-around watermen (the invention of the surf leash closes the door on any discussion), but surfers today are capable of moves on (and mostly above) the water that we could only dream about years ago.

Those who are atop of the surfing food-chain are legitimately some of the finest athletes on the planet today, incorporating tremendous muscle reflex, balance, and bravery to execute “rodeo clowns” “passion-pops” “superman-airs” even full backflips…all in seriously meaty waves. It takes a lot to make that all happen on a constantly changing playing field, where adjustments of body and board need to be made with split second timing. These new school moves won’t be accomplished with mere chance. Practice, coaching, video analysis, and more goes into placing body and board in the right spaces at the right moments for the right reasons. It takes a lot of mastery, a lot of self-control.

Strangely, surfing seems to be about self-control in the water, but out-of-control on land.

Nothing new here. For a long time now, our surf culture has glamorized wild and narcissistic behavior that begins anytime we towel off and hit dry land. Surfers have become famous for amazing self control while riding a board, and then no self-control at all when it comes to food, drink, speech, sex, money, and more. Surf culture is not bashful about it. Instead, out-of-control living has become the preferred marketing tool of most core surf brands.

So, if you want to create a ripple effect in your group of friends, or your town, or your nation, why not long for God to develop in you self-control, both in the water and on the land?

Now before you conclude that what is being advocated here is a lot of cold showers and sleep deprivation, killing your tv and canceling your surf mag subscription, God desires that we know self control. It’s actually a marking of those who live a life in God’s life. In Galatians 5 we discover that among God’s fruit of the Spirit is self-control.

Which might make you think immediately that God has set us all up for failure: sure you can ‘be good’ for a while but then you’ll eventually blow it and begin riding the “guilt-train.”

But think again. In Galatians 5 the word self-control is translated from the Greek word enkratos which literally means “in strength.” In whose strength, you might ask? God’s strength. He’s the one who can move us from unhealthy desires that only end up hurting ourselves or hurting others around us. He’s the one who can keep us from wasting and ruining our lives. And even when we fail, he’s the one who can accept us back into His good graces and encourage us to keep moving forward.

Such a life, a God—empowered life, will make some serious waves. That God would grant us strength to live and love and also to surf, that is truly good news. And so…

“we proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his (God’s) energy which so powerfully works in me.”

--Colossians 1:28-29

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