Posted: 9/1/17 at 4:15 pm. by Ed Jordan.
When I was a child, I liked to lie on a big, inflatable mattress and feel the waves of the swimming pool lap up against me. Sometimes I would lie on my stomach to paddle my way around the pool, and sometimes I’d like to just lie back and drift.
It was a peaceful time for me, because I didn’t swim well, and couldn’t even float! So the only time that being in a pool was peaceful was when I had an air mattress large enough to keep me afloat.
But would I lie back on an air mattress on the ocean, go to sleep, and let the ocean take me wherever it takes me? Not a chance!
Drifting is fun when you are in a contained pool, but it would be terrifying on the open ocean—even in a boat. Without power, the boat begins to drift, driven by winds, currents, and waves. I am told that being without a working motor on the open sea is a panic-causing event, especially if the sun is about to go down. It brings new awareness of the danger inherent in being at the mercy of the sea—drifting out of control—with arbitrary forces sweeping you helplessly along.
In south Texas this week there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people adrift and drifting from the effects of Hurricane Harvey. They have lost control of their lives, homes, schedules, transportation, routines, etc. They are adrift and being carried along by forces they cannot control. We all recognize this as shocking and horrific, and we pray for them.
Yet even more shocking should be that in America today, there are millions of people who are spiritually adrift. No one sounds alarms, or points out the severity of their condition.
Many have no awareness of God; others know God exists but have no desire to interact with him. Millions upon millions grew up in Christian churches, discovering the security and confidence found in understanding God’s love and influence in their lives. But little by little they drifted away from God, from worship and Bible study, and they ended up adrift and alone on life’s enormous sea.
So let’s give some thought to what it means to be spiritually adrift.
It means living with no engine to power your direction. It means being carried along with the waves of trends, fads, or momentary desires, while exerting no effort to have a course or destination. People who are spiritually adrift are willing to go wherever the winds take them, often only waking up and looking around when they are in the middle of the storm.
The writer of the book of Hebrews warns those who have sampled the goodness of God to be alert and be powered by God, lest we drift away from so great a salvation as God has freely provided to us.
What more can God do to get us home than he has already done in Jesus? He has paid for our sins, extended love and forgiveness, and given us his Spirit to empower us to live for God. Yet so many choose to not engage with God and instead to just drift away toward things that provide only momentary happiness, or things that that actually work to destroy us.
Here is what Hebrews 2:1 (ESV) tells us: “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Hebrews 2:1 in the (The Message) states: “It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off.”
How do we end up drifting in life?
It happens little by little. We begin to close God and his love for us out of our lives. We quit listening to God. Bad habits develop out of bad choices. Sleeping in this Sunday soon becomes every Sunday. Not looking to the Bible for answers leads to seeking answers elsewhere. Choosing not to talk to God today soon leads to ignoring him. Going with the flow leads to purposeless drifting, and before we know it, we don’t even know how we got where we are.
However, we find a whole new kind of life when we pay close attention to what God says, take time to hear him weekly, read his word daily, and stay alert at the wheel—keeping our minds fixed on our destinations, our lives committed to staying on course, and committing ourselves to enjoy journeying in fellowship with God.
Adrift or on course? Which describes your life? If you are drifting aimlessly, what are you going to do about it?