The DANGER of Drifting
“The mark of the true child of God is that he does Not Drift for long.”
– John Piper
Story of the 2 young men fishing on a river:
They were so busy fishing that they didn’t notice that they had drifted close to the edge of the waterfall.
When they realised their situation the current near the waterfall became too powerful for them to keep their boat from going over.
After days of searching, both bodies were found by divers. (A tragic end from just allowing themselves to drift)
While there is a great danger of drifting in the physical realm
There is even a greater danger in drifting away in the spiritual realm.
Hebrews 2:1 (Amp) – For this reason [that is because of God’s final revelation in His Son Jesus and because of Jesus’ superiority to the angels] we must pay much closer attention than ever to the things that we have heard, so that we do not [in any way] drift away from truth.
Unfortunately it isn’t uncommon for Christians to drift toward spiritual destruction.
- Are you drifting?
- Would you know if you were?
I trust that this word will get us all to examine our lives regarding the danger of drifting.
Things we should know about drifting:
#1. Drifting requires absolutely NO EFFORT
Just stop rowing and the boat will begin to drift.
Same is true for the Christian life
Hebrews 2:1 says, “We ought to pay much closer attention.”
It’s very clear from scripture that we are able to drift.
#2. It’s an unconscious process
It is possible to drift unaware
Like with a boat the undercurrents are often unnoticeable from the surface
In a plane, the wind or gravitational forces move the plan without realizing it
The same is true in the spiritual realm
Many Christians have allowed the undercurrents of this world to start drifting away from God.
Many churches have gradually drifted in to error:
- False doctrine sneaks in if not dealt with
- They live far removed from scripture
2 Peter 3:17 (Amp) – Therefore, [let me warn you] beloved, knowing these things beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men [who distort doctrine] and fall from your own steadfastness [of mind, knowledge, truth and faith].
#3. We never drift upstream or against the tide.
Faithfulness to the Lord is like rowing upstream
You must constantly be “Adding to your faith”
2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV) – 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
#4. The speed downstream increases
The dangers increase with the speed of the drift
It is possibly to late when you hear that noise of the waterfall
As people drift further and further from the Lord, they careless and less about what they do.
Drifting is dangerous to others
A drifting ship becomes a hazard to other vessels at sea
As we freely drift we become a vessel of Satan, we can lead people to drift along with us.
A great example was Apostle Peter:
Galatians 2:11-13 (NIV) – 11When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
Parents who are just drifting will soon lose the golden opportunities to teach their children
Ephesians 6:4 (NIV) – Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
The best Children’s Ministry program is kids watching their parents follow Jesus.
1 Timothy 1:19 (NIV) – Holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.
The danger of drifting is real or there would be no need to warn against it
Common Signs of Drifting:
- Diminishing (decline) desire to study God’s word and pray
Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV) – Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither- whatever they do prospers.
You’re drifting if you don’t study God’s word
When it comes to prayer Jesus warned:
Matthew 26:41 (Amp) – Keep actively watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
- Diminishing desire to be with God’s people
This includes attending church services to worship God
Our attitude should be the same as the Psalmist:
Psalm 122:1 (NIV) – I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go the house of the Lord.”
If you find it easy to stay away from fellowship with the family of God, “You are DRIFTING!”
Romans 14:19 (Amp) – So then, let us pursue [with enthusiasm] the things which make for peace and the building up of one another [things which lead to spiritual growth].
Hebrews 3:13 (NIV) – But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Remedies against Drifting:
- Keep rowing if you don’t want to drift
2 Peter 1:5-9 (NIV) – 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed for their past sins.
There’s no place for retirement in living the Christian life. It’s a race to the end.
2 Timothy 4:7 (Amp) – I have fought the good and worthy and noble fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith [firmly guarding the gospel against error].
Watch for undercurrents, always be on the lookout for temptations
1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:9 (NIV) – Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (Tells us how we must watch)
- Expect to go against the tide
This world is coming against the child of God:
Popularity – Peer pressure – Pride – False doctrines – Worldliness in the church – Excepting what the Bible condemns.
Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV) – 13”Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
- We must have a strong anchor (rooted and grounded in Christ)
Colossians 2: 6-7 (Amp) – 6Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in [union with] Him [reflecting His character in the things you do and say-living lives that lead others away from sin], 7having been deeply rooted [in Him] and now being continually built up in Him and [becoming increasingly more] established in your faith, just as you were taught and overflowing in it with gratitude.
Are you drifting?
Jesus asked this too:
Revelation 2:4 (Amp) – But I have this [charge] against you, that you have left your first love [you have lost the depth of love that you first had for Me].
Hebrews 2:1 & 3 (Amp) – 1For this reason [that is because of God’s final revelation in His Son Jesus and because of Jesus’ superiority to the angels] we must pay much closer attention than ever to the things that we have heard, so that we do not [in any way] drift away from truth.
3How will we escape [the penalty] if we ignore such a great salvation [the gospel, the new covenant]? For it was spoken at first by the Lord, and it was confirmed to us and proved authentic by those who personally heard [Him speak].