Some quick facts: An iceberg is a piece of ice that has broken off one of the ice-shelves of Antarctica, or from the North Atlantic ice-shelves off Greenland. They can come in many sizes (mass wise), and in many shapes. The ocean water currents hitting against the iceberg is what gives it its shape under the water. The density of pure ice is 920 kg/m3 (which is the Kilogram per cubic Meter), and ocean water density is 1025 kg/m3. Which according to simple math is 1/9th. Therefore, only 8/9ths of an iceberg can be underwater, due to the mass density of the iceberg…which means you’re only seeing 1/9th of it…otherwise known as the “tip of the iceberg.”
Icebergs have sunk many ships over the years. Even in our present day a Cruise ship called the MS Explorer hit an iceberg near Antarctica in 2007 and sank beneath the briny waves; luckily it took 20 hours to list and sink, and so everyone lived. In just 25 years, from 1980-2005, there were 57 ships that hit icebergs. And of course we all know the famous story about the Titanic. She hit an iceberg 375 miles south of Newfoundland, and 1,502 souls perished. To see a picture of the actual iceberg that sank the Titanic, click here. The photo was taken by the chief steward of the German ocean liner SS Prinz Adalbert, which on Apr. 15 was sailing through the North Atlantic mere miles away from where the Titanic had sunk the night before. At the time, the chief steward hadn’t yet learned of the Titanic‘s fate, so he wasn’t even on the lookout for icebergs. He simply spotted a streak of red paint along the iceberg’s base, which most likely meant a ship had collided with it in the last 12 hours, and it couldn’t have been blood that far out in the ocean. (Courtesy of Wired.com)
It is not my intention though to give detailed scientific dialogue on natures making and forming of icebergs. But we can use natural things to segue into spiritual matters. It says in 1 Corinthians 15:46, “However that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; then that which is spiritual follows after.” So we can use something in the natural to point to something in the spiritual; just as Solomon did with the ants in Proverbs…and just as many in the New Testament did.
God likens us to many things in scripture: sheep, tree, fig-tree, vessels, cups, salt, branches, living stones, light, soldiers, athletes, members, temple, bread, doves, etc., etc. And in many real ways, we can also be likened unto icebergs. So then we can safely say that God is using all of these natural things (animate & inanimate) to portray the characteristics of that particular simile.
We only see 1/9th of the iceberg. A child on a ship looking out across the water would think that it was just a piece of ice floating on top of the water. But a seasoned man on the water knows different. He knows how deadly the unseen 8/9ths of it really are. It was the part under the water that sunk the Titanic. The upper hull only scraped the visible 1/9th of the iceberg. They saw it too late in the fog and could not veer the vessel portside quick enough. The starboard side of the undercarriage hit a jagged part of the iceberg and it began taking on water…and the rest is history…literally.
When people look at us, they only see “the tip of the iceberg” so-to-speak. They only see that which is visible and unclothed (namely our head). There is so much more to us that is hidden from them by the “waters” of our clothing. They don’t see our legs, back, stomach, torso, skeleton, brain, or all of our organs. They only see the part floating above the water. But the real mass of who we are is hidden from view. The real heart and size (which make up the other 8/9ths of us) remains hidden.
It is the same way spiritually with us. People can only see the outside. The real depth, length, breadth, and mass of who we really are remains a mystery. King David said by the Spirit that we were fearfully and wonderfully made. I don’t think he was referring to our natural human bodies. For in his Psalms, you will see that he had a deep understanding of the mind, the will, the soul, the spirit, and the heart of a man. David was most certainty speaking of who we are in our hidden/spiritual make-up. He hardly ever mentions the human body.
So then, in a very real sense, we are an iceberg that can hurt others or sink others’ hopes, dreams, and aspirations. We can sink their self-esteem by our words. We can really hurt others by what’s on the inside of us. A lot of folks are just trying to navigate their way through life in the dark, or in the fog…and when they brush up against us (in whatever way that looks like…our workplace, school, the store, in traffic, in/at fellowship), will our words or our actions undercut them and wound them? Will they begin to take on water without even knowing it, and eventually sink?
When their “ship” encounters us, do we help them navigate into safer waters, or does the hidden 8/9ths of us reach out and impact them in a negative way? The choice is ours. If we were truly the light of the world, then they would see us for who we really are in Christ.
The choice is ours as to what our “iceberg” does to others. In the positive sense, the 8/9ths of the iceberg can be fashioned by the waters of the sea to be harmless and smooth, with no jagged edges to hurt, or spiritually shipwreck another person or their faith. In the negative sense though, the 8/9ths can represent the self-life in all of its ugliness, selfishness, pride, hard-heartedness, and its satanic desire to want to be esteemed by others, appreciated, honored, and applauded. The self-life has to be denied. It is anti-Christ from the word “go.” The self-life will do anything to get ahead, and be recognized. The self-life wants to live above all things. If you want the self-life to die…just quit feeding it.
Jesus said that he who loves his life (and we know from the other two gospels that He is referencing the self-life) will lose it, but that he who loses it will gain it. This issue of the self-life wanting to live and reign is a huge issue with God. He hates the self-life more than He hates satan. You’ll remember from a teaching last year that I gave a definition, and my view (and I believe it to be God’s view as well), of the self-life, that I gave out of the Robert Hammond Concise Spiritual Dictionary 🙂 “The self-life is very ugly, vomitus, repulsive, base, totally earthly, and it smells of fecal matter in His nostrils. It is anti-Christ to its very core. It is lawless, selfish, self-seeking, self-exalting, self-improving, and self-pleasing. It will do anything to live, will lie any lie to get ahead, it will build towers (Gen. 11:4-5), cities, and even ministries without God. It is Nimrodic (Gen. 10) in its spirit [Nimrod: “Rebel” or “Against God”], hates God, loves the world, loves sin, loves satan, and hates its neighbor. It loves the praises of men, the accolades of men, and the honor of men. It thumbs its nose at God, stands strong against His government, is a weasel in its very nature. No wonder it can never be fixed, healed, repaired, redeemed, or restored. The only thing it is good for is manure to be spread on the seeds of sin that the fruits of unrighteousness may grow and abound on the tree of iniquity.”
People put so much trust in their morality. The seed of it all is the self-life, disguised with good works.
I feel led to share something with you that I have had since the month I got saved. I received this in July of 1987. But it has only been the last two years that I have begun to fully comprehend it, and appreciate it. And I’m still learning its lessons; and I find myself praying about these issues more and more, as God allows me to be tested and proved in these areas. It is entitled:
To Live – Die to Self
“When you’re forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set aside, and you don’t sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ, that’s dying to self.
When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but you take it all in patient, loving silence, that’s dying to self.
When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, and any annoyance; when you stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure as Jesus endured, that’s dying to self.
When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good words, or itch after commendations, when you truly love to be unknown, that’s dying to self.
When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and you can honestly rejoice with him and feel no envy, or question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances, that’s dying to self.
When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly, as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart, that’s dying to self.
When another can falsely judge you, without knowing all of the facts or circumstances, and you don’t feel the need to speak a word in defence or to justify yourself, that’s dying to self.
Are you dead yet? In these last day’s, may the Spirit bring us to the cross, “That I [we] may know Him . . . being made conformable unto His death” (Philippians 3:10). (Author Unknown).
But there is yet another simile in the New Testament that God compares us to. Can you guess what that is? If you guessed a “ship” then you my friend are correct. The Bible refers to you as a ship. Isn’t that interesting? It says that your faith can be shipwrecked. But it also says in Hebrews 2:11, “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”
You my friend are a ship on an ocean with many other ships. God sometimes refers to the sea in scripture as people. Isn’t that powerful? The Word refers to the sea of glass and the souls that were under (or in) it. He also says in Psalm 68 that He will bring them back from the depth of the sea. 1 Cor. 10 talks about them being baptized in the sea. Psalm 80 speaks of the branches of Christ spreading themselves all the way to the sea. Allegorically speaking…we are ships on the sea of God’s plan passing each other in the night.
Will we be a light and a beacon to them in their struggle against the waves; or will we be an iceberg in their way? I want to be a ship for them to come along side with and sail safely to the other side. I want them to see the light that is on my ship, and I want them to hear the warning siren that I’m giving to them so that they might avoid icebergs. So many folks are on a collision course with an iceberg. They’ve almost wrecked eternally. There are many who are very obstinate and don’t care. But there are many who don’t want to have an eternal collision…and it is to these that we must go.
These poor souls are tossed to and fro on the waves of satan’s whim. They’re drowning, and they’re hurting. Their ship is going down, and they’re searching for a lifeline in the darkness. Let us be a lighthouse to them that they can look to, and bring their ship in safely to harbor.
Mary Ann was just at the ministry earlier with me. And she also is feeling the Lord’s great commission weighing upon her. She said that every time she kneels down and gets in the Lord’s presence, she hears one thing over and over again…”GO!!!” In the summer of 1991, the Lord stood beside my bed at 3:00 in the morning, and said to me, “DO you trust Me?” And I wept much and said to Him, “Lord, you know I do.” And then He said two simple words to me, “Then GO!!!” And then He was gone.
Let me be a lighthouse
To the souls upon the sea
Let me be a lifeline
That draws them unto Thee
They’re drowning Lord, I hear their screams
Their ships have hit the ice
All alone…in the darkness
Casualties of satan’s vice
Filling, listing, sinking Lord
Their souls are almost gone
The chorus of their aching hearts
Now playing the saddest song
Oh God, my heart is breaking
Their cries in the night I hear
Let me be a lighthouse
And them, to Your bosom bear