"We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away." (Hebrews 2:1)
How do we know if we're spiritually drifting? The Bible certainly acknowledges that it can happen. But what are the early warning signs that we are moving away from God?
Maybe today's column doesn't apply to you. How about your spouse, your friend, or your child? Were they once closer to the Lord than they now appear? Before you turn the page, see if you recognize warnings in the life of someone you love.
Drifting away from God is something that slowly happens. It's an unconscious process, often unrecognizable until it looks as if it's too late to repair the damage. I'll get back to that thought later, but first let's look at the early warnings that our walk with God is beginning to move in the wrong direction.
First and foremost, if our faith has weakened, then we're not studying the Word of God. The Apostle Paul told the church at Rome that, "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God". (Romans 10:17) In other words, we can't understand God's will for our lives if we don't read the plan He has laid out for us. One of the early signals that we're moving away from God is a diminishing desire to study His Word.
Another symptom often associated with drifting is a diminishing desire to be around God's people. I have taught for years that church attendance is important for any Christian. It insures that we get the encouragement and support we need. The truth is the right kind of fellowship strengthens us, just as much as the wrong kind of fellowship leads to sin (destroys us). In fact, that truth is repeated throughout the Bible. Ecclesiastes says it this way: "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
One of our main charges as Christians is to share the Good News. Baptists frequently refer to this command from Christ as the Great Commission. When we get to the point that we are unable, unwilling, or ashamed to witness to others about the life-saving, life-changing power of Jesus Christ, we are clearly moving in the wrong direction.
Finally, if we find ourselves increasingly thrilled over the things of this world, we are beginning to drift. Think about what the Apostle John said in 1 John 2:15-17: "Do not live the world or the things in the world. In anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all this is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father, but is of the world."
Listen, I'm not saying that God doesn't expect us to enjoy the blessings that come our way. The distinction is when we begin to worship and yearn for the blessings rather than worship and yearn for His presence in our lives.
There are remedies against drifting. In fact, routine Bible study and church attendance will yield great results. The hard part is seeing the world and all its trappings as they really are. Lust, an unhealthy desire for things in this world, can do more to kill a relationship with Jesus as anything I know. Paul told us if we "walk in the spirit...You shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh". (Galatians 5:16) Peter said it even more strongly "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul". (1 Peter 2:11)
Interesting isn't it? The Bible tells us how to discern if we're drifting, then gives us good advice as to how to avoid it. The unshakable hope we have, however, is we can never drift out the reach of God. His love for us has no limits.
Copyright 2018, Pen Holder Ministries, Inc.