Swimming Upstream

Hey there! Today’s post was inspired by an acquaintance of mine, and a brother in Christ.  He contacted me in regards to a speech he was preparing to give.  It was a speech about leadership, and He was wondering if I had any insight. I put his question into prayer for a few days and as I finally started to type my response, God painted the most beautiful metaphor in my mind. So, naturally, I wanted to share it with you all…

When we break down what leadership is, there are countless definitions, fundamentals, and examples of great leadership. One powerful element of leadership is radical fearlessness.  Now, that may sound cliché, but bear with me here and I will explain a little further…

Take a look around this world. Take a moment to think of a handful of leaders. Who are the leaders who you really notice? Who are leaders who you truly respect? The ones who move with the masses and blend in…or the ones who radically set themselves apart? The ones who are fearless of what will be thought of them, and are convicted in what they believe. Those are the individuals who have the power to lead because they can’t help but be noticed for swimming against the stream.

Think about a fish that swims against the stream. It swims with purpose, it swims with drive.  It stands out from the crowd and the flow, because it stirs up attention and doesn’t conform.  But it faces a lot of adversity–resistance from the masses, resistance from its environment. Everything tells that fish that what its doing is much harder than simply turning around and swimming with the flow. A fish that’s swimming against the stream faces a challenge, but faces it with intent.  It has a goal. It’s journey is uncomfortable and challenging, but it swims with heart. And IT CAN’T HELP BUT BE STRENGTHENED THROUGH THE JOURNEY. It can’t help but be noticed. Being a radically fearless leader is tough. When you swim against the stream, you undoubtedly meet a lot of resistance. It’s hard, it’s uncomfortable at times, it’s challenging. But if you persist, it can’t help but strengthen you.

Jesus Christ was the primary example of a leader who was radically fearless. I mean, wow, take a look at any passage in the Bible. Jesus Christ was the definition of CONVICTED. He knew what He believed and He stood by His word. He completely set himself apart from everyone and He stood strong as He met resistance, faced adversity, and was criticized by the masses. But He was fearless. He set himself apart and swam against the current with humility, love, and courage. He was fearless in His teachings, He was fearless in the way He lived and, ultimately, He was fearless at the cross when He was condemned by those who couldn’t handle the power of His leadership. He was beautiful. And He was so radically fearless.

Now, as His followers, and as vessels for His truth and His light, we have to be radically fearless, as well. We have to believe in His love, beyond a shadow of a doubt, in our minds AND in our hearts. Then we have to begin swimming upstream from this world. We have to swim with the passion of chasing a Kingdom. We have to swim with the passion of striving for sanctification–a passion inspired by our beautiful Salvation. Swim with such passion and power that the resistance we meet stands no chance at altering our course. This world, everything in our society, everything our popular culture tells us is pleasurable and rewarding and fulfilling–it’s all empty. We have to be radically fearless in setting ourselves apart from this world. We have to be like Jesus–fearless of those that will judge and convicted in what we believe. In being radically different and setting ourselves apart, people will HAVE to see a difference in us. They will undoubtedly be inspired by Christ through us and we will, in turn, become leaders as well. But only if we can be radically fearless in our pursuit of Christ.

Does that metaphor make sense? Really think about it–are you fearless? Are you passionately in pursuit of Christ? Are you willing to swim up stream? 1 Timothy 6:12 calls us to “Fight the good fight of faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.” And Galatians 6:9 encourages us by saying, “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Fight the good fight! Don’t grow tired! Be radically fearless and swim passionately against the stream!


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