Drifting ∙

Drifting

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. – Hebrews 2:1

James 1:6-8

 6 The one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,

 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Ephesians 4:14-18

 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.

 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

 17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused.

 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him.

Riptides or rip currents are strong currents that move from the shoreline outward after the waves break.  These undercurrents pull their victims out to sea. They are responsible for more than 100 drownings every year in the United States. Weak swimmers are more at risk. However, even the strongest swimmers are not immune to their dangers.

Going to the beach and enjoying the water and the waves is a pleasure that most of us have taken in at one time or another. Yet swimming or floating in the ocean has its hazards. It is easy to drift. When we take our eyes off the shore and do not plant our feet firmly in the sand, the danger of drifting is always present. We can easily get caught in a riptide and simply float hundreds of feet from shore. Drowning becomes a real possibility.  

The same is true in our spiritual lives. If we do not plant our feet firmly upon the foundation of the Word of God, we run the risk of drifting. James and Paul indicate that those who are immature, and doubt are easily hurled about by the wind. The weakest among us are tricked by dissemblers and grifters whose intention is to take them away from their first love of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Drifting is very subtle and often undetected. Frequently, we are unaware that we are drifting. The Father graciously provides a wake-up call. He awakens us from our spiritual lethargy. He allows us to see how far we have drifted and encourages us make every effort to return. With focus and determination, we can get back to where He intends us to be. Sadly, for many their lack of experience and confidence in the Word of God, requires that they be rescued.

REFLECT & PRAY

The Father encourages us strongly to pay attention have learned, believe, and put our confidence in. We are to take our stand on the word of God and do nothing less.

Father, I need to ask myself, “are you drifting?” It is too easy to drift. Encourage me to stay alert and keep my feet firmly on the foundation of Your Word. How I desire to live it out. Please enable me to do so.

INSIGHT

Drifting frequently begins when we choose not to do what is right. This then escalates into doing what we know is wrong. Most children of the King do not intentionally plunge into disaster, but all the same, they risk the tendency of drifting into sin. Drifting spiritually is analogous to being caught in a spiritual riptide. Rip currents directed at our spirits, represent a dangerous risk to any child of the King.

The metaphor of floating away is underscored by two nautical terms. The first word is translated drift. It comes from the Greek term pararrein. Pararrein “is a word of many meanings. It is used of something flowing or slipping past; it can be used of a ring that has slipped off the finger, of a particle of food that has slipped down the wrong way, of a topic that has slipped into the conversation, of a point which has escaped someone in the course of an argument, of some fact that has slipped out of the mind, of something that has ebbed or leaked away. It is extensively used of something which has carelessly or thoughtlessly been allowed to become lost” (Barclay). Most often drifting is not the result of deliberate disobedience, but rather carelessness. In modern colloquial English we would say, “falling asleep at the wheel.”

The second Greek term is prosechein. Prosechein means to bring a boat to port. The word picture is that of a boat tied up and held fast in a secure location. It came to mean, pay much closer attention, be on alert, take care, beware, or watch out.

When the pilot of the boat falls asleep, the boat drifts dangerously towards destruction. “There are few people who, deliberately and in a moment, turn their backs on God; there are many who day by day drift further and further away from him. There are not many who in one moment of time commit some disastrous sin” (Barclay). Rather many imperceptibly drift further and further until suddenly they awake and find themselves in peril.

“Such dangerous drifting is not intentional, but comes rather from inattention and carelessness – which was precisely the problem with the pressured little church. They had become careless about their moorings in Christ. At first, in calm waters, that was not noticeable. But as the storms of opposition rose, some of them were drifting farther and farther away from Christ toward the shoals of shipwreck . . ..”

“That church’s experience 2,000 years ago intersects our lives in this way: drifting is the besetting sin of our day. And as the metaphor suggests, it is not so much intentional as from unconcern. Christians neglect their anchor Christ – and begin to quietly drift away. There is no friction, no dramatic sense of departure. But when the winds of trouble come, the things of Christ are left far behind, even out of sight” (Hughes).

The antidote is simple, be on the alert against drifting. To avoid such carelessness, we must pay careful attention and unwaveringly hold fast to what we have heard and believed.

Are you drifting?

¯\_()_/¯ 6-09-9

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