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This sermon – The Danger of Drifting – was originally preached 2013.07.28 by Leon Yoder.
Scriptures used: Revelation 21:5, Hebrews 4:1, Zephaniah 1:14, 2 Timothy, Proverbs 7, John.
As we go through life there is resistance, there are things that need to be overcome. To move past or get over these “things” takes some effort, some power on our part.
One thing that is a very common feature in Northwestern Ontario is water. You can travel for hundreds of miles simply on the water. Sometimes you can simply go with the current, but when you need to go “against the current” it takes effort and power to paddle and move your canoe.
One of the biggest dangers are rapids. They can sneak up on you. A person can be going along slowly and nonchalantly and suddenly realize that the current has become very strong. This current can pull the boat into a rapids. The rapids that are entered can be treacherous and if you are not prepared could result in disaster.
We cannot “drift” into the Kingdom of Heaven. We are going against the current. To relax, to quit trying, means that we drift, we can be caught by the current of the water around us. Once you get into the current there is a point where you cannot get back out of the current, no matter how hard you paddle.
The children of Israel drifted. They stopped worshiping and following God. They drifted as a nation. This can happen to individuals. In the New Testament Demas was one who drifted. He once walked very well but in Timothy was no longer numbered with the people of God.
The farther a person allows the current to take them, the harder it is for them to turn and come back to against the current, back to God. Not that we should give up on people, we should never do that! God can take anyone, in any situation and restore them, or bring them to a place of repentance.
Weeping for Abigail is a good example of the power of prayer, even at times when we don’t think that our prayers are “mattering.”
God has given us many wonderful promises that we can rest upon and be supported by. God gives these promises in the Bible. But Faith and trust doesn’t mean that we just sit back and God will take care of everything, there is some effort that needs to be taken on our part.
There is a very real danger of drifting for all ages and walks of life. Young, old, it doesn’t matter, you are at danger of drifting.
Here are a few currents that are pulling at us today.
The Pull of Evil Tendencies
As Christians we are crucify the appetites of sexual sin. There are many strong temptations around us, our world is very caught up with sex.
Proverbs 7 tells the story of a young man who is pulled away, walking by the “corner of the harlot.” The current may not be terribly strong yet, but it is getting stronger. As the current grows stronger the young man eventually gives in to the seduction of the harlot. He enters her house, willingly and compliantly.
This young man was allowing himself to go closer and closer. The current strengthened, the hold of the current got stronger and stronger until he gave in, he was blinded to the fact that it was for his life. That the current was pulling him towards a terrible crash.
This is only an example of an evil tendency, the same could be said about rebellion, lying, pride, bitterness, or idolatry…
The Pressure of Peers
Peer pressure is usually thought of as a bad thing. However when we are around godly folks there is a building up that can (and should) happen.
However there is a tendency to compare ourselves among ourselves and to want to fit in. That is where the danger of peer pressure can come in. When we are following the crowd simply because everyone is “doing it” we are drifting with the current.
There were leaders in Jesus day who believed Jesus was who he said he was but because of the people around them and the pressure that they felt because of them, they didn’t claim it.
The Tug of Distractions
The pace of life can be crazy. We all have distractions. Deadlines. Meetings. Schedule. Work. Play.
The urgent things that we need to do in life can crowd out the most important things if we aren’t careful.
Martha and Mary are a good example of this. Martha was in the kitchen, busy making good things, but she was so busy that she forgot the important things. Mary on the other hand chose the “better” thing – Jesus.
There are many things that can distract us… Worries. Anxieties. Brand names. Wealth. etc…
Good things can get in the way of our relationships with God and others. Time absorbing things can become preoccupations, when we become preoccupied with things our thoughts about those things can replace our thoughts about God. Preoccupations can turn into idolatry and take the place of God.
The Tug of Inertia
Did you ever experience any of these? Laziness? Lack of interest? Lack of effort? Lack of discipline?
Sometimes we can get lazy and complacent in our walk God.
A good appetite will come as we put forth the effort to go against this current.
Going Against the Current
- Daily Commitment – One of the big things that needs to happen if we are to move against the current we must make the decision daily. Maybe multiple times in on day.
- Daily feeding – We need constant contact with God. Daily.
- Daily Obedience – When we choose to obey God daily we are building a pattern of obedience.
Trying to go through life without power is impossible. Going through life without God is impossible. The currents around you will give you trouble and ultimately lead to your demise.
The narrow way is against the current we need God’s help to do that.
The wide way is down the river into current and into the rapids.
Jesus came to turn people around. To set us in a new direction, to lead us against the current and give us the power to go against the currents around us.