Drifting

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. Heb. 2:1

The translation quoted above would give the thought that there is a danger of the hearer of the Gospel allowing truth revealed by the Son to  slip away. There are, however, many who believe the thought is that the careless hearer of the Gospel may drift by it, thus simply ignoring that which is revealed by the Son. Brother Darby’s translation reflects this. “For this reason we should give heed more abundantly to the things we have heard, lest in any way we should slip away.”

The imagery here is of a boat slowly drifting away from or past a safe and secure harbor. Just drifting aimlessly along, carried by the currents, without any regard for the signs of danger which lie ahead. Many who hear the Gospel today could be described in this way. They have heard the message which was brought Personally to this lost world by God Incarnate. One vastly superior to the created angels who functioned as Divinely sent messengers, and yet they are carried by the currents of this world and drift right on by. (Heb. 1:4–14; 2:5–9) The writer warms, if disobedience to the message of the angels brought just judgment, “how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord.”  (2:2–3) It is a dangerous thing to take the Gospel of Christ which was Personally delivered by God through His Son casually and simply drift silently past to eternal damnation.

Isn’t this also a warning to those of us who know Christ, those who have believed His report. Isn’t there the real danger of slowly drifting away from the things of Christ? Not losing our salvation, but being carried by the currents of this world away from the things of Christ. Was this not true of Demas, about whom Paul writes, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.” (2 Tim. 4:10)

This drifting is not sudden and swift, but slowly, silently, almost without any sense of movement. A meeting missed, a day without prayer, a new hobby found, an advancement in business, and one step leads to another until we find ourselves carried further and further away from the things of the Lord. The writer of the Proverbs gives a very clear picture of this departure in chapter 24:30-34.

“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.”

He sees a field filled with thorns, obviously not cared for. No doubt productive at one time, but now producing that which is not only of no value, but harmful. His observation was that the owner took a little break, sat back, folded his hands, and fell asleep. Isn’t this the way a once production spiritual life comes to ruin. A slow, silent drifting away until one awakens to see a tragic scene.
There is a principle given to us here. “Unkept soil always returns to nature.” There is no need to deliberately plant weeds, just doing nothing will bring out the weeds of the flesh. Taking a little break, as David did, and our unfed soul will slowly return to the control of nature. The writer of the Proverb likens it to a traveler. “So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth.” (v. 34)

I remember the days our family packed up the car and drove to the shore. My parents and three brothers packed in the car with the trunk jammed full and maybe things tied to the roof. No air conditioning in those days, nor Interstate highways. Seventy five miles on two lane roads through the hot, flat, sandy land of southern New Jersey. We kept asking our parents, “How much further?” It seemed like we would never get there, but given time, we did! So too with the saint who takes a spiritual nap. He never envisions the weed filled life, but given time he arrives there.

Is it possible that this is an accurate picture of your life as a Christian? You met the Savior and went on well, until you took a little break. A little folding of the hands. Just a short nap, but without realizing it you began to drift. For whatever reason you started to miss meetings, and your interest became centered in things which were not spiritual. You began to watch and to read things which were far from edifying. You saw little of your former Christian friends. And now your life, with its potential of being productive for the Lord, is filled with the weeds of the flesh.

What a warning to us all. A spiritual nap can be the beginning of spiritual ruin. There must be an alert mind, one constantly aware of the slightest drifting, and when noticed, fleeing to the security of the throne of grace.