In our analogy, the sailors were given everything they needed to sail and according to 2 Peter 1:2-8 (NASB), we are given all we need for life and godliness through God's divine power and nature, of which we are partakers. So how do we understand this nature we are partakers of, and what's more is how do we make it work for us?
"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord ; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in yur faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."The first unwise sailor is where I know I was for some time after coming to Christ. I jumped in and tried to "live the life." I put the boat in the water with little to no accurate information. I looked at others and emulated the way they lived the Christian life certain all I needed to do was to act like other Christians and things would go well and my problems would be solved. I copied what others did but I had no discovery and application to sustain me when the storms came and there was no one to watch. It was a very frightening and frustrating thing to know that I did not know how to navigate life. I was so discouraged I stayed on those rocks for some time wondering about the reality of my salvation. My lack of knowledge took me to a place where I questioned myself all the time and I began to question God. Lack of knowledge renders one useless.
The second sailor is where I was for a time after I first learned to study God's Word. It seemed safer to gather all the information and not venture forward to see if it was going to be reliable. It was a place I did not stay long because life happened and I needed to put into action those things I was learning. I know I could still chose to get lazy and live in the place of head knowledge but there is nothing like experiencing God and knowing it is His power that sustains and propels me forward. Head knowledge alone renders one useless.
The third sailor is one a friend pointed out when I used this analogy at Bible study. She said she would just hire some one. I thought about that and how that manifests in people's Christian walk. They think that because they come from a family of Christians, have friends who are Christians or because they go to church they are covered. This falls apart when you find yourself in that lonely place of trials where no one else can walk with you. You must go it alone. If you do not know what you believe and why and you are unable to back it up you will drift and be tossed around in the storm. Looking to others renders one useless.
Studying the Bible inductively is what caused me to become an effective "sailor". I am finally headed toward my destination (being conformed to the image of Christ) and I am able to follow the Lord and deal with life because I know God's character and I understand the benefits of his grace. I understand His nature that is in me. I have taken my faith and added to it action or moral excellence and with that knowledge. The knowledge in the above passage is a Greek work that means to know through experience not just intellectually. As I have gained knowledge I have had more and more need to add self control so I am sober minded and not legalistic. Legalism is where I can default to so I have to ensure I am not doing what I am doing to get a check in the box or to please a person but because it is a true conviction and matter of personal obedience to God. I am currently learning perseverance and to press on. As I continue to endure I must also add brotherly kindness and love to my life. As these qualities are found in my life I am rendered useful to God. It is wonderful to know what makes me useful to God.
Another aspect of that passage is "...applying all diligence" in the process of spiritual growth. I do need to apply diligence to sleeping in or to reading a novel. I do have to apply diligence to the in depth study of God's Word. We need diligence when something does not come easily or is not natural. This diligence puts us on the path to being useful.
As I see it the study of the Bible is a worthy pursuit because it gives me the ability to navigate toward my ultimate destination which is to be conformed to the image Christ so I can glorify God and be declared useful.
Holding Fast and Pressing On,