Are You Living a Cruise Ship Lifestyle?

5-15-13 cruise shipWhat is a cruise ship lifestyle?

Let’s look at the book of Isaiah for a succinct description.

“Woe to those who rise early in the morning that they may pursue strong drink, who stay up late in the evening that wine may inflame them! Their banquets are accompanied by lyre and harp, by tambourine and flute, and by wine; But they do not pay attention to the deeds of the Lord, nor do they consider the work of His hands.” (Isaiah 5:11-12)

The pursuit of strong drink? Check. Staying up late? Check. Lots of food and music? Yep, those too. Neglect of God? Unfortunately, seems prevalent. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you’ll recognize how Isaiah’ describes well what a cruise vacation looks like for most people.

Unfortunately, a cruise ship lifestyle seems to be becoming more commonplace as an overall lifestyle approach. But how might this look off a cruise ship? Since it would look different for every person, let me describe what it might look like in my own life if I did nothing to prevent it.

“Distress and affliction to she who gets up in the morning to pursue strong coffee because she stayed up too late the night before watching television. Her eating habits consist of potato chips and ice cream, and she does nothing but sit around and read novels all day long. She fails to pay attention to what the Holy Spirit wants her to do, and she completely ignores His direction on a regular basis. No exercise. No writing. No housework.”

Once I got rolling on how this lifestyle might look for me, I had to force myself to stop. And it was actually eye-opening for what could so easily happen should I fail to constantly renew my mind in a way that leads to a counter-cultural life directed by God’s Word.

While going on a cruise does not cause a permanent downward spiral away from a productive life, doing nothing to avoid this type of lifestyle will eventually lead one.

Preventing an Unproductive Life

Vacation Brain discusses the remedy of an unproductive life as being a renewing of the mind, and Understanding the Symptoms of Vacation Brain helps create awareness of the power of these symptoms to disrupt life. And while renewing the mind certainly needs to be a refocusing tool, another approach involves preventing the symptoms in the first place.

Refocusing and preventing can help one live a productive life on a consistent, long-term basis.
Prior to going on our first cruise, my husband and I set several goals that, if achieved, would equal a successful vacation in our minds. Likewise, having life goals also helps prevent the cruise ship lifestyle from impacting our whole lives. At the same time, working consistently toward goals helps get the most out of every aspect of our lives.

Setting goals and constantly creating an awareness helps maintain focus. Goals provide a status check that helps prevent being sucked into culture and away from God.

cruise

Cruises Are Not Evil

Please know that I do not consider cruises to be evil. I have been on two of them and am currently planning a third. In fact, I believe cruises provide a great way to disconnect as a way to reconnect. They give dedicated time to completely relax and put life on hold for a while.

However, existing in an atmosphere where the desires of the flesh are catered to can be a dangerous place. This lifestyle can be so appealing that adapting at least parts of it into real life becomes increasingly easy the more one refuses to resist that culture.

One can adapt a cruise ship lifestyle without ever stepping foot on a boat. Our culture, on land or at sea, caters to the desires of the flesh. And if we do nothing to prevent it, those desires become our focus and will eventually derail us spiritually, mentally and physically.

DISCUSSION: What do you recommend to prevent drifting toward a cruise ship lifestyle?

How to… Live Like a Recabite

1-7-12 Recabites

What in the world is a Recabite?

The Recabites are descendants of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, through the Kenites (1 Chronicles 2:55, Judges 1:16; 4:11). Recab’s son assisted Jehu as he got rid of Ahab’s evil, Baal-worshipping family (2 Kings 10:15-17). The Recabites had a history of knowing evil and why it was important to get it out of their lives.

In Jeremiah 35, the Recabites are used as examples of obedience. God told Jeremiah to take the Recabites into the inner room of the temple and to offer them wine. When Jeremiah did this, the Recabites responded by saying,

“We don’t drink wine, because Jehonadab son of Recab, our ancestor, gave us this command, ‘You and your descendants must never drink wine. And do not build houses or plant crops or vineyards, but always live in tents. If you follow these commands, you will live long, good lives in the land.’ So we have obeyed him in all these things.” (Jeremiah 35:5-8)

What lessons can we learn from the Recabites?

God tested the Recabites not to set them up for potential failure but to use them as an example as compared to the Israelites who continually failed to be obedient to God. The Recabites held firm to their ancestor’s instructions to remain separate from their surrounding culture. The Israelites, on the other hand, failed to obey their living God by remaining separate. Instead, the Israelites took on the evil habits of the culture as their own.

The Recabites’ provide a terrific lesson in how to live an obedient life dedicated to God, which often means living counter-culturally.

  1. Know your why. The Recabites knew why they were not to drink wine and why they were living in tents. We too must know our why to be able to stand firm in our convictions when trials hit.
  2. Be ready to give an answer. As soon as temptation was presented, the Recabites knew exactly how to answer. They didn’t have to first think about what to say. (1 Peter 3:15-16)
  3. Develop strong family values. Strong family values allowed the Recabites to hold to their unique lifestyles for many generations. If you don’t have strong family values, be the one to begin a legacy of obedience.
  4. Be ready to live counter-culturally. Because the Recabites knew why they were living like they were and because they had strong family values, they were able to live counter-culturally. They impacted the culture instead of letting the culture change them.
  5. Realize the significance of obedience. The Recabites give us a lesson in obedience that was passed on from one generation to the next. The Israelites, on the other hand, struggled passing this crucial life principle on and to create a solid defense.

How can we apply the Recabite message? We don’t have to necessarily abstain from drinking wine or live in tents to apply the Recabite message today. We’re talking message over method here. In other words, we can apply the message that God was making when He had Jeremiah use the Recabites as an example without using their exact method (not drinking wine and living in tents).

Need another example to help grasp what this might mean? Check out Daniel’s story. The Recabites and Daniel show us that we can choose to obey God in all areas of our lives as well as choose to live counter-culturally if necessary.

Are you willing to live counter-culturally?

God praised, blessed and protected both the Recabites and Daniel for their obedience. He will do the same for us too. He wants us to live lives impacted by Scripture instead of culture. He wants us to make choices that honor Him even if they go against our culture. Ask yourself, “What would my life look like if I was less influenced by my culture? How should my life reflect the message of the Recabites?”

DISCUSSION: What does 2 Timothy 3:14-17 tell us about living lives obedient to God?

Subscribe to Struggle to Victory by Email or Subscribe in a reader