Has complacency led you into troubled waters? After salvation the Holy Spirit wants to live the life of Jesus Christ through believers. This involves prayer, scripture reading, giving, sharing the faith and believing his promises. Too many of us start off strong, then drift away from God before we grow deep and effective in our walk with Him.
It is easy to drift. Signs of drifting include 1) putting off reading the Bible, 2) praying only emergency our urgent prayers, 3) a loss of reverence in prayer (e.g., we don’t kneel to pray because we feel it is not necessary or we are too tired), 4) stopping tithing, 5) stopping attending church (or maybe just attending Sunday morning or on Christmas and Easter only).
If this is happening to you, first you are not alone, and second you are drifting away from God. Hebrews 2:1-4 (“How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”). Escape equals drifting. It is easy to drift, because drifting takes no effort. Staying the course, on the other hand, requires enormous energy. Thankfully the Holy Spirit will enable us as we yield to Him.
Drifting from God, is drifting from His will, purpose and plan for our lives. Being saved involves not only a single moment in time, but also a day-by-day sanctification. It is true when we are saved, the Holy Spirit seals us as a child of God forever. However, salvation is far more than just the confession or one-time repentance. It’s a purifying expression that lasts for a lifetime (Phillipians 2:12). Think of a ship drifting past the harbor while the captain is asleep. Without the control of the steering wheel we can make shipwreck of our life. We must stay on course.
Here is what usually happens:
1) Your conscience becomes numb.
You ignore your internal warning which lets you know that something isn’t right. Then gradually, you desentize your conscience so that it no longer bothers you.
2) You step out of God’s will.
As you begin to drift, you step out of the Lord’s will into a life of sin. Once you’ve trusted Jesus as your Savior, you know that the Holy Spirit is there, deep within. You can deaden yourself to the fact that you can’t even hear Him, but when that’s the case, you are in serious trouble.
3) You shrink away from spiritual things
You start living in denial. If your conscience bothers you, you rationalize your behavior. Why would you shrink away? Because you’re off course.
4) You lose your ability to hear Him.
You won’t lose your salvation, but you can fall int the sin of unbelief (Hebrews 3:12) and lose your capacity to hear God. Without an anchor in Christ, it’s easy to invite destructive thoughts and habits that blur your vision of God and deafen your ear to Him.
5) You suffer internally, if not externally.
When you choose to let go of your fellowship with God, cease reading the Word and attending church, you change physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually–every aspect of your life is affected. Guilt and stress will overwhelm you especially around godly people.
6. Your drifting grieves God’s heart.
You grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).
7. You miss God’s best.
Some believers sometimes drift at the most strategic time in their life — they can actually be distracted by how well things are going. (Good health, successful in relationship and thriving financially). The drifting believer drifts by an awesome opportunity if he isn’t turned into what God is trying to do. We have to make an effort to follow God and listen to His wisdom.
8. You push away those who love you most.
Drifting leads you farther and farther until you don’t even want to go back. You don’t hear God anymore, you don’t sense His presence. There is no direction in life: you spend your money and time on things and push away the people He has put into your life to love and care for you.
9. You have a negative impact on others.
Hebrews: 12: 6-8, 10 (Husband or wife), friends, children and others.
10. You make a shipwreck of your life but God forgives you regardless of how broken you are. Take an honest look at your life, do not wander away from righteousness. Stop and let God put you back on course so that His best becomes yours.
How can you prevent drifting?
1. Anchor on God’s Word, read and meditate (Ps. 119: 15-16).
2. Be obedient to the Bible.
3. Submit to the Lord when He shows you an area that needs correction. Surrender you life to Him each morning.
4. Stay on guard (2 Peter 3:17-18).
How can you get back after drifting?
1. Recognize you have been drifting.
2. Confess and repent. Don’t simply repent of sin, but realize what you should have been doing.
3. Trust the Holy Spirit to enable you to follow Christ.
vs. 1-3 After an opening call to praise.
vs. 4-5 Brief prayer
vs. 6-12 Laments and confesses to Israel’s sins, their unbelief, and murmuring at the Red Sea.
vs. 13-15 Their murmuring for flesh to eat.
vs. 16-18 Their jealousy over the authority of Moses and Aaron.
vs. 19-23 Worship of the calf
vs. 24-27 Unbelief of the report of the spies
vs. 27-31 Participation in Moabite worship
vs 32-33 Murmuring at Meirbah
vs. 34-36 Continued disobedience after entering the Promised Land
vs 42-48 Concludes with position and praise
vs. 39 Spiritual infidelity problem from Moses to Babylon
In Psalm 119 the Word of God is exalted but Jesus is the Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1-4). He (Jesus Christ) brings the Light of Understanding (the written Word) to all who trust him. In Psalm 119:10 — It is necessary when praying, reading the Word of God, or seeking His Will, that we able to say “With my whole heart I have sought Thee.” Happiness is the outcome of right relationship with God and living according to the way of life taught by the Word (Psalms 119:2). The reason most of us (Christians) are empty is because we are content with being doctrinally correct with the truth without inwardly applying it to our daily life. We know from the Word of God that we only measure up spiritually in the eyes of God as we are truly inwardly accept and outwardly express His Word in our daily thoughts or conduct. The Pharisees cleaned the outside but left the inside full of impurities (this a religious spirit full of hypocrisy). Our outward expression must follow our inner so that we do not fall short of what God expects. (James 2: 21-22).
List of Scriptures Referenced in the Lesson (Amplified Bible)
Hebrews 2: 1-4
1 Since all this is true, we ought to pay much closer attention than ever to the truths that we have heard, lest in any way we drift past [them] and slip away.
2 For if the message given through angels [the Law spoken by them to Moses] was authentic and proved sure, and every violation and disobedience received an appropriate (just and adequate) penalty,
3 How shall we escape [appropriate retribution] if we neglect and refuse to pay attention to such a great salvation [as is now offered to us, letting it drift past us forever]? For it was declared at first by Lord [Himself], and it was confirmed to us and proved to be real and genuine by those who personally heard [Him speak].
4[Besides this evidence] it was also established and plainly endorsed by God, Who showed His approval of it by signs and wonders and various miraculous manifestations of [His] power and by imparting the gifts of the Holy Spirit [to the believers] according to His own will.
Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-trust, [a] with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).
12[Therefore beware] brethren, take care, lest there be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart [which refuses to cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him], leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God.
30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).
Hebrews 12: 6-8, 10
6For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes.
7You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus]train and correct and discipline?
8Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God’s children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all]. (A)
10For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness.
Psalm 119: 2
2Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are they who keep His testimonies, and who seek, inquire for and of Him and crave Him with the whole heart
Psalm 119: 10
10With my whole heart have I sought you, inquiring for and of You and yearning for You; Oh, let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments.
Psalm 119: 15-16
15I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect to Your ways [the paths of life marked out by Your law]. (A)
16I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.
2 Peter 3: 17-18
17Let me warn you therefore, beloved, that knowing these things beforehand, you should be on your guard, lest you be carried away by the error of lawless and wicked [persons and] fall from your own [present] firm condition [your own steadfastness of mind].
18But grow in grace (undeserved favor, spiritual strength) and [a]recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (the Messiah). To Him [be] glory (honor, majesty, and splendor) both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (so be it)!
James 2: 21-22
21 Was not our forefather Abraham [shown to be] justified (made acceptable to God) by [his] works when he brought to the altar as an offering his [own] son Isaac? (A)
22 You see that [his] faith was cooperating with his works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression [when he implemented it] by [good] works.