The Boland family spent some time drifting on a lazy river pool in Orlando a few weeks ago. Sinking back in the tube and drifting slowly along with the pull of the current is a wonderful, relaxing feeling. Occasionally one of the children startled me by jumping on me or swimming up from the bottom.
All in all, drifting on the lazy river is a good thing. However, drifting on the river of life is a bad thing! It’s one thing to drift aimlessly on a lazy river pool in Orlando. It is another thing altogether to drift on the river of life.
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. (Hebrews 2:1 NKJV)
Funny thing about drifting in life, we never seem to drift toward the things of God. We don’t drift toward holiness. We don’t drift toward faithfulness. The writer of Hebrews painted a picture of a boat aimlessly drifting on the water, left to the mercy of the strongest wind blowing or fastest current pulling at the time.
When there is no intended destination, we reach it every time! Like the slow pull of the current on the lazy river, often you don’t even feel like you are moving at all. Yet, slowly, methodically, almost imperceptibly, you go round and round, enjoying the drift but getting nowhere fast.
There is great danger in drifting spiritually; it is one of the sharpest darts in Satan’s arsenal that he frequently aims at the saints of God. It starts as an infection and winds up a raging disease. It is in our DNA to drift. Just like sheep, we are all prone to wander and drift a bit, and when we start drifting in our relationship with Jesus, our love begins to grow cold, our fire begins to flicker out, and we move further and further away from our Master’s moorings. You see, Satan doesn’t need to knock us off course; he only needs to get us drifting, little by little . . . bit by bit . . . until we drift onto the rocks of ruin and regret.
Drifting is not only dangerous to you; it is dangerous to those around you. Think about a boat drifting aimlessly on the water. Every other vessel in the area is in danger of being damaged by the boat that is adrift. This is true for those around us when we are drifting in life. Those we are responsible for lose their safe harbor when we start drifting aimlessly on the river of life.
But this is not for you!
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it. (2 Timothy 3:14)
And how do we continue in what we have learned and believed? We need to continually preach the Gospel to ourselves daily. The truths of the Gospel are a “lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105). Preaching the Gospel keeps before us all that Jesus has done on our behalf: lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death, paid the full penalty for our sin, rose on the third day, ascended into heaven, and now seated at the right hand of the Father.
But that’s not all! Preaching the Gospel keeps before us all that Jesus will do on our behalf; He will complete what He started (Philippians 1:6). God is not finished with you yet. You are being conformed into the image and likeness of Christ; and one day, when you are received into glory, you will be perfect . . . just like Him!
The more we keep in view both past grace given and future grace promised, the less we drift. The pull of the Gospel is more powerful than anything that is trying to pull us in the wrong direction. The Gospel keeps us anchored to our unshakable hope (Hebrews 6:18-19) and to the unconditional love which loved us even when we were God’s enemies (Colossians 1:21-22). These truths will help us in two ways: they will minimize our times of drifting and they will strengthen us to paddle against the current when we are in the middle of a drift.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!