The process and danger of moving away from God
| Whether it is true or not that believers in Christ Jesus are looking for an excuse – any excuse – to rest from the difficult nature of faith, it does seem to require very little for those believers to slip away from their mooring within the harbor of Christ’s salvation. Very often at the onset of life changes many believers find themselves adrift in an actual sea of forgetfulness. As we consider these things, we are challenged to wonder at how much of this drifting is brought about by slow erosion, or is such brought to pass by a not so uncertain movement of the will away from Christ. Heb. 2:1 makes this possibility a perpetual threat, as is evidenced by numerous passages within Hebrews; 3:12-14, 4:1, 11, 6:11-12. It is, however, most likely that these times of drifting will occur when stress and temptation prevail. Writer F.B. Meyer has written that spiritual drifts pose a substantial danger to which believers are most often exposed. And, while it is true that most believers can envision the onset of this threat within the parameters of life’s cataclysmic events, it is more difficult for them to see that slower form of slippage by which the mooring rope is uncoiled slowly by those unnoticed tugs and pulls. Meyer suggests that most would never sanction a purposed desertion of Christ, but would give scant attention to the slow drift.
And there are so many causes of our drifting; there is the drift of old habits and associations, and then the drift toward religion apart from any genuine spirituality. There is the drift of business and trade wherein a man begins to hedge with the jots and titles of the ledger. Rarely are these first intentions, yet the end is the same in that we have slipped away from those moral moorings which held us secure in Christ’s harbor. Of course, we must not fail to mention that most common drifting of all, the movement away from prayer. There are, no doubt, professing believers who rarely open a Bible or enter their private closet to seek God’s face. But, for most professors, prayer begins in great earnest, even to a fault. However, when drifting does occur - and it often does in short order - it does so slowly. From the once bended knee, we come to sitting, and then to lying down as we drift off to sleep. Prayer, of all spiritual exercises, is often victim to a most viral and deadly drifting. But it will indeed suffice to say that drifting is drifting in whatsoever form we find it.
And how does the believer feel in the times of spiritual drifting? Well, as we have before stated, it is probably reasonable to expect that particular events would contribute to such drifting. Also, it would not be unusual to see where believers would even consider it appropriate to drift within the tempest. Some would ask if it is not entirely reasonable that we should self-minister in such times. We do need room to breathe after all. We do most certainly need time and space to gather the frayed ends of a frazzled life event. And, after all, is that not what we all desire, and what God desires for us, a roomy life. That is a life with space for all of those things needed for our happiness. And not only is this state of being spacious but rested and uninterrupted. Would we not believe that in times when storm-tossed we have need of space and rest?
But pray consider how quickly we are deceived in times of stress. Most surely does fear abound. It is easy enough to see. But deception, it will assume a more cunning disguise. For it should be clear that the apparent tone of scripture is that not by drifting but by enduring we are victorious. It is true that we may not notice our drifting. And if we do notice it we may think it healthy. But drifting is never a good or healthy thing. It should never be accepted as the status quo. Quite the contrary, enduring through the storm is our natural position. In fact, the whole of our Christian life is one of endurance and not one of sunny spring days.
To look from another perspective as well as at another word which describes our sojourn here we observe the word ‘resistance.’ The Christian life is and always will be one of resistance. But that should not cause fear or anxiety to rise in the believer. For what indeed is being moored in the safe harbor of Christ if not resistance? Remember that any mooring is in order to keep something from doing what it would naturally do if not moored. In whatsoever case, the natural thing is to drift. Moored safely in His salvation, Christ resists our drifting. Most unfortunate is the fact that we are most often found opposing His rest.
And so we must conclude that we are faced with the ever-present danger of spiritual drifting, as well as those life changes which precipitate such. The warning is that we do not become distracted and realize that we have drifted miles from Christ. The mooring line must be secure. Like King David, we must implore God that He would continuously reveal that wickedness within that would threaten to undo us. And, as life’s changes abound, we must always be thoroughly aware of their potential to draw us away from the safe harbor of Christ’s salvation.