Monday, September 8, 2008

Devotional: Are You Drifting?

There’s a story about two boys who were out fishing in a “john boat” on just above a low dam on a river. As they kept fishing and talking and just enjoying the day, they forgot to pay attention to their surroundings. Danger approached and they went off the low dam losing their boat, each other and their lives.

Drifting or just cruising through at times can cost us. The dangers of drifting are not limited to just the physical realms of life. Hebrews 2:1 tells us, “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.” Notice what the Message Translation says, “It's crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we've heard so that we don't drift off.”

It’s not uncommon for believers to drift from what they know and believe, allowing their focus to “drift” from the truths that always sustain. Sometimes we can drift towards destruction. What about this “drifting” pastor? Here’s something’s you should know about drifting.

• Drifting requires no effort
You just stop paddling, oaring, or tacking against the wind and a boat will begin to drift. The boat of your Christian walk needs to stay anchored and sure. Don’t drift. Remember Hebrews 2:1 says to listen carefully to the truths we have heard or we may drift away from them.

• Drifting is an unconscious process.
You can be drifting unaware. In a boat under currents can be unnoticeable from the surface of the water that you are on. In an airplane, the wind or gravity can move the plane without you realizing it. The same is true in the spirit realm too. Many believers have slowly drifted away from what they know due to things they allow to control them. Hurts, circumstances, etc. Only one day to find themselves for removed from the truth of the Word of God.

• Drifting never happens going up stream or against the tide. 
Our faithfulness to the Lord is like paddling or oaring upstream. One big key is that YOU must be constantly “adding to your faith.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 tells us, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

It is up to YOU to grow. Each one of us must “continue” to “add to our faith” with ALL DILIGENCE. The growing and maturing in the Lord is something that we do. 2 Peter 3:18 tells us, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” The moment you stop growing, you start going backwards or downwards.

• The speed going downstream increases.
Dangers increase with the speed of your drift. Like the boys fishing, when you hear the noise of the waterfall, it can be too late. When you cannot see the land or the shore you can be too far away. As we move farther and farther from the Lord, we care less and les about what we do.

• Drifting can be a danger to others. 
A ship or boat drifting at sea can be a hazard to other vessels. When we are adrift we miss opportunities to set the course of life right. The Bible talks about how many are tossed to and from and carried about by every wind of doctrine. (Ephesians 4:14-16) Focus is like an anchor for a vessel. We must be anchored in our walk with the Lord.

• Drifting can end in shipwreck.
A boat adrift will crash on the rocks or go over the falls. For those who drift spiritually through their own neglect, there is no escape from trouble and punishment. Again look at Hebrew 2:1-4, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” (NIV) As the captain said, in an old movie, in the midst of a great storm, “Stay the course.” Stand firm on the Word and stay strong in Him!

What are the common signs of drifting. Let me give you a list that needs no comments.

1. Diminishing Desire To Study God’s Word and Pray. Psalms 1:1-3 “…delight in the law of the Lord…”

2. Diminishing Desire To Be With God’s People. Psalms 122:1 “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

3. Diminishing Desire To Share The Gospel. 2 Corinthians 3:2 “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men.”

4. Increasing Thrill Over The Things Of The World. 1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that 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. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

Let us always remember the words of Paul as he wrote to a young pastor named Timothy (2 Timothy 3:1-5) “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

What are the remedies against drifting?

When it comes to our walk with God, keep rowing! Philippians 3:13-14, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Watch out for the undercurrents! Galatians 5:16-18, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
Expect to go against the tide at times! Don’t let the tide of the world and its way of thinking pull you out to sea!

And lastly, have a strong anchor in Christ Jesus Who has given us the victory! Colossians 2:6-7 says, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” Amen!

Prayer: Father, I commit to maintaining my focus on You and Your Word. You are my Captain. You my Rock and my Mighty Fortress. It’s in You that I trust. Amen.