Summary: One of the biggest problems in churches today is that people are in a state of spiritual drift
Seven Signs of a Drifter (Part 1)
January 28, 2007
When I was in high school I can remember one of the worst snow storms to hit our area. The snow was like a fine powder and didn’t seem to pack very well but it drifted well enough. The winds picked up those fine crystals of snow and blew them together into massive drifts.
The drifts became so large and so deep that the road was shut off. The snow had become so deep that nothing could get through. Before the winds died down the drifts were five to ten feet high and compacted in a small dip in the road. The snow plows couldn’t even get through. The road was closed for days, until the county brought an end loader to literally lift the snow out of the way.
The wind that created all of those drifts simply picked up that snow and carried it away from its original place. Unfortunately, this more often than not resembles our spiritual lives. We do not root ourselves deeply in the Word or a relationship with God and get blown away. Picked up from where we need to be spiritually and get deposited who knows where.
The writer of Hebrews was keenly aware of this problem in spiritual walk of believers and addressed it in the second chapter verse 1
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 define drifting?
a : the lateral motion of an aircraft due to air currents b : an easy moderate more or less steady flow or sweep along a spatial course c : a gradual shift in attitude, opinion, or position d : an aimless course; especially : a foregoing of any attempt at direction or control e : a deviation from a true reproduction, representation, or reading; especially : a gradual change
The Greek word for drift is pararrheuo and this is the only place in all of the New Testament that this word is used. It literally means to glide by or to be carried past. The Greeks applied this to things slipping the mind or letting knowledge escape the mind.
The writer of Hebrews communicates the fact that daily living will cause our spiritual life to slip away if we are not careful. we must pay more careful attention to what we have heard. the idea here is that we will attach our lives to the message of the gospel. This is like attaching a boat to a dock to keep it from drifting away. We need to have a daily connection with Jesus to keep our spiritual lives from drifting away.
"We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither the belief in Christ nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed, and as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by an honest argument. Do not most people simply drift away?" C. S. Lewis on Faith.
Where does drifting begin?
1.) Lack of confidence in God - we stop believing that God is all powerful or that His Word has meaning for us or that God desires something better for our lives
2.) Lack of concern for spiritual things - We simply get lazy about our spiritual walk. We lose interest in reading scripture or spending time in prayer or even attending worship. we let responsibilities slip and find ourselves spiritually adrift.
3.) Lack of commitment to the body of believers - The commitment to being part of the church is a direct result of commitment to Christ. Church attendance and commitment to Christ are directly connected. When people become inconsistent in their worship attendance they are far more likely to drift spiritually.
4.) Lack of character in everyday living - Bill Hybels asked a powerful question in a message on the character of Christians: who are you when no one else is looking? What do you hide from everyone but God? Character is smply living out what you believe. It is having integrity. integrating your faith into the way that you live. When our character and our beliefs don’t match, we begin to drift spiritually.
5.) Lack of contentment in anything - Paul wrote to the Philippians that he knew about being in need and about having plenty. he had learned to be content in any and every situation. One of the greatest problems in American Christianity is that we have lost the understanding of contentment. We are literally content with nothing and content in nothing. When we lack contentment we begin to drift.