Isaiah 2:6 talks about God abandoning the house of Jacob because of getting involved in superstitions, practicing divination and clasping hands with pagans. We naturally wonder how such a situation could have taken root in the house of Jacob. Drifting from God… A friend shared with me “5 things that cause us to drift spiritually” by Chris Russell. It put me on the alert; I pray you will be fortified as well.
“Several years ago a friend of mine took his wife and kids to the ocean for a week of R&R. While they were there, they purchased a small, inflatable boat for recreational use on the beach. One day the wife jumped in the boat and launched out into the water to just lie back and soak in some sunshine. After what seemed like a short span of time, she opened her eyes and realized that she was several hundred yards away from the shore. In a panic, she screamed for help. Only one person on the shore seemed to hear her call, and that was her husband. When he realized her predicament, he immediately attempted to swim out to rescue her. That did not turn out well, because he was soon in need of being rescued as well!
Fortunately the lifeguard was doing his job well that day, and he was successful in rescuing the husband and the wife. By the time he was able to get to the wife in the raft, they were nearly a half mile from the shore. As I have thought about that experience over the years, it has often made me think about how Christians often drift away from the Lord spiritually. It really doesn’t take much time at all to drift so far from the shore spiritually that one can scarcely even see the land anymore.
As a pastor for the past couple decades, I have noted several key things that tend to cause Christians to drift away from God. Here are five of them:
1) An Out-of-Control Schedule.
One of Satan’s greatest weapons against our generation seems to be his ability to make good people busier than ever before. We so often sacrifice the best things in life by spending time doing things that are just “pretty good.” If you desire to walk closely with God, you will absolutely, necessarily have to begin by taking a close look at your calendar. It is likely that you are currently doing too much. And it is also likely that your overly hectic schedule is affecting your relationship with God. So take out your pruning shears and begin to cut out any activities you can that will allow you to focus more time on your relationship with your Creator.
2) Misplaced Affections
Be careful not to set your heart on things that really don’t matter. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen good people lured away from church life because they have fallen in love with things or activities that have no eternal merit. For example, children’s sports can certainly be a thrilling activity for your kids to pursue. But if those sports begin to adversely affect the spiritual involvement and development of your family, then pull the plug immediately.
During the past couple decades that I have served as a pastor, I have often watched Satan using his weapon of discouragement to drag people away from spiritual activities. When the trials of life cause a person to become discouraged, he often begins focusing on those problems and takes his eyes off from Christ. It reminds me of when Peter walked on the water. He did great until he took his eyes off Jesus Christ and began looking at the waves beneath him and the clouds above him. When life’s clouds grow dark and your trials become fierce, that is the time to run TO Jesus and not FROM Him.
When God blesses people with prosperity, often there is a temptation to make wealth one’s god and not the true King of Heaven. This has been a recurring theme throughout the entire Bible. People struggle, God blesses them, they become prosperous, and then they depart from God. Ironic, isn’t it?
The temptation faced by the people of abundance is often to prioritize other activities over quality time with God such as a busy work schedule which negates fellowship with brethren and a quiet time with God. Also, when one is exhausted or in need of recreation…if not alert one may give into the temptation of ‘Why go to church if you could be out golfing, boating, camping, or going to movies or sporting events?’. Satan uses prosperity and abundance to often lure us away from our Creator.
5) Parasitic Sins
Many people begin to drift away from God, because they have sins in their lives that cause them to feel guilt when they show up at church. And they feel reluctant to pray or read their Bible when they know they have these issues in their lives. Recently, I stumbled upon the most revolting video I’ve ever seen (through my Facebook news feed). The video showed an eye surgeon removing a parasite from a human eye. I won’t go into detail. That brief description alone is enough to send chills down the spines of many. When I watched that video, it dawned on me that many people have sins in their lives that are damaging them just like parasites in one’s body. And those sins will almost certainly affect your spiritual vision. The solution here is not to run/drift from God. God promises that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9.”
Drifting from God…whenever we start excusing sin to be understandable; downplay sin from being destructive to being a simple weakness or error; whenever we opt to be ‘politically correct’ over standing for the truth … we are drifting from the ‘safe shore’. This can happen to anyone and at any time; thus the need to be spiritually alert and continuously pray… “Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalms 139:23 -24.