Thursday, July 10, 2008

Drifting

There is nothing like sitting in an innertube drifting down a lazy river in the heat of summer. The birds are singing, there are giggles and splashing that wash over your ears from others enjoying the ride. The smell of fresh air, pine trees and dirt captivate the senses. As you lay your hand in the water and draw up a few drops to cool your head you fade away into a long day dream. Drifting can be fun until you hit some rocks, scratch your legs, bruise your bottom on a rock and get wedged between two boulders. It is important to know where you are headed. In my Life Transformation Group, I have been reading in the book of Hebrews. There are a couple of passages in chapters 2 and 3 that have stood out to me. "For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away." Hebrews 2:1 There it is, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard. The book of James teaches us to not only be hearers of the Word of God but to put what we have heard into action. We should apply it so as to have effect in our lives. Hebrews 2 seems to say that if we do not pay close attention to what we hear and live by it, then we are prone to drift away from the truth. Drifting is such a lazy term isn't it? The author of Hebrews seems to know that slowly, silently and seductively drifting in our faith will cause a separation (in relationship) with God and then many other uglies will follow. "Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." Hebrews 3:12-13. This passage teaches us that it is possible for believers to somehow 'drift' into an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. This is not an unbelieving and falling away that includes losing ones standing with God, that is not possible, however, these are very serious matters that affect our relationship to God and His body, the church. To guard against this drifting away problem verse 13 gives us a remedy. We are to be encouraging one another every day. Too often, IF this happens it happens in spurts or on Sunday's or another 'church day'. Why do we need encouraging everyday? I think the answer is that sin is very, very deceitful. It promises fulfillment but delivers sickness, emptiness and death. If we are not built up in Jesus, we may eventually find a hardened heart, not willing to listen or deal with spiritual matters. Remember the Word of God is always right (2 Tim. 3:16-17). We must believe what we learn here, even if you are not sure it is true - be assured that it is always true. So be encouraging to those in your close community (house church, sunday school, small group etc.). Encourage them daily (as often as possible) through e-mail, text message, voice mail, phone call or over a cup of coffee. I know I need the encouragement daily. I do not want to drift away and wake up hardened heart, a buised bottom and scratched up legs. Do you have any thoughts on this topic? I'd love to hear them.

8 comments:

  1. Anonymous4:20 PM

    How easy it is to drift away and how even sadder when we as a family dont swim out after them before they get to far, because we have all seen what happens to a person that chosses to drift alone!I love your blogs Ed!!!!!

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  2. Later in Hebrews the author encourages believers 'not to forsake gathering together' (10:25). Sin, again, is the reason to share life (v.26). But sin is the reason we don't gather. The sin of busy-ness, selfishness, mindlessness (e.g. Prime Time TV), etc.-ness.

    Two other remedies in Hebrews are 'diligence' and 'focus on Jesus.' Too often we make diligence and focus a one-person endeavor.

    Fortunately, ValleyLife exemplifies shared faith!

    Miss you.

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  3. Ed:

    You're talking right at me, bro! This is how I feel right now. It's tough when you're not connected like you used to be (at least it's that way for me). Not sure how to overcome that right now. Email or call me and I'll fill ya in.

    John Hulen

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  4. Ed,

    In my life I have experience a few "drifting away" times. For me, the danger signs are a) neglecting my personal intimacy times with God; b) closing off to my wife and family, keeping it all inside of me; and c) stopping the gathering together with others. In fact, if I "drift" in any of those areas, I am in trouble.

    Your post brought back my youth and tubing down the Salt River. It wasn't as much of a madhouse as it is today, but plenty of us enjoyed the adventure.

    The safest, the best way to tube down the river is with a small group of friends, tubes linked together. Laughter, chatting, eating, drinking and watching the beautiful scenery go by all take place as well as refreshing from the cool water.

    In the midst, there are other groups tubing down. Sometimes there was also interaction with the other groups which was always fun. But, the real closeness was in the family and friends I was tubing along with.

    Danger was in solo tubing. While it may be fun at times and refreshing in the water, it would be very inadvisable to do so alone. It would be far easier to have your tube snagged, get caught in some eddy or whirlpool and drown with no one there to help you.

    I think the best way to stay on course and not drift away is to stay tight with Jesus, love your immediate family and learn to love those in your life that you gather together with. That will automatically foster a love for the rest of the Church and those not yet in the Church that you come across in life. At least, I think so.

    Keep sharing Bro!

    Peace!

    Tim

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  5. Nikki,
    Thanks for your encouragement. It is good to be family with you! Ed

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  6. Tim Sprankle...your thoughts are always POWERFUL, PRACTICAL and PROVERBIAL :-) You are a wonderful friend and mentor. Ed

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  7. John, let's connect on the phone soon. Thanks for being transparent...miss you bro. Ed

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  8. Tim Wingo - I like how you word and think through things. As we remain close to Jesus and His family, we will be on able to draw others into His kingdom. Ed

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