DRIFTING can happen in music and in our spiritual lives. A gifted friend in our vocal music class in high school would begin singing right on pitch but invariably drift off key. She might not have been listening to herself, or her hearing might have been slightly diminished.
Drifting in our spiritual lives can happen in any season of life, but in our latter season it tends to be more common. Scripture mentions drifting with a caution. “...We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard lest we drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1).
Drifting in the natural world implies being carried along by wind or current or tide. Like the movement of a boat when loosened from an anchor. It deviates from its intended trajectory, from its set course. A gradual movement downstream happens when a vessel loses power and floats aimlessly. Quiet and barely noticed, suddenly the boat has drifted downstream a surprising distance.
Spiritually, drifting is what we used to call “backsliding” in my youth. A person who was once fervent, strong, and bold in their beliefs and testimony seems to become lukewarm and reserved. He has lost his power and begins to deviate from God's purpose which formerly impelled him towards God's intended trajectory. Such persons have slipped away from God their Anchor.
Scripture uses several terms related to drifting: “falling away, being carried away, wandering, tossed here and there by waves, being led away, going astray, carried about by every wind of doctrine, driven and tossed.” In most cases those words are directed to Christians. Since God created us with free will, we can decide to change course or drift off course. If we stop pressing on spiritually, drift is inevitable because of the drag of the current of materialism and the pressures of the secular culture around us.
In the book of Revelation Jesus Himself is recorded as calling such a drift “losing your first love.'' His command is that we should remember from where we have fallen and repent. Jesus declared He would rather that we be cold or hot than lukewarm, tepid, and half-hearted.
In the context of our mature years, what could possibly cause us to become spiritual driftwood washed up, as it were, on the shores of life after we have been faithfully fervent and effective in our Christian lives? Who of us is immune to such a possibility? The latter season of our lives carries special temptations and stresses. We may become physically tired, exhausted, weak and weary with the length of our life journey. Our knees buckle and our arms hang limp both physically and spiritually. Just as we lose stature when our spine compresses with age, so we experience a softening of our spiritual backbone. The pressure of circumstances, the loss of beloved relationships, loneliness, being forced to downsize our living situations—these and many other factors may contribute to discouragement and depression which lead to spiritual drifting.
What is the remedy for drifting? Aside from any other adverse circumstances, we drift spiritually when we don't maintain our connection with our Anchor, God, and eventually distance ourselves from others in the community of faith. The New Testament letters are full of admonitions to “hold fast.” We need to continually “draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” That intimate relationship keeps the fires of “first love” burning in our hearts.
The instruction of Hebrews 2:1 is all the more pertinent to those of us in our latter calendar years. We must “pay much closer attention” even than we did in our younger and mid-years. Followers of the Lord for decades and scores of years dare not look at God's Truths as “same old-same old” that we have heard so many times before. That ho-hum attitude is a particular temptation. Perhaps we need new “hearing aids.” The Holy Spirit wants to speak God's ancient truths to us in new ways in our advanced years. Let's anticipate His fresh anointings.
At the summit of our life journey let's not drift off key. This life is a dress rehearsal for our Life To Come. One thing we do know about our Eternal state—lots of singing goes on There. (I mourn the loss of my singing voice as a nonegenarian. My ENT doctor says age thins the vocal cords and we can’t help but “pitch curve balls” with our voices.) Well, whether we've been blessed with singing voices on earth or not, or have lost them, I’ll betcha we’ll have perfect pitch in Heaven.
We shouldn’t be surprised to be recruited for a spot in the Heavenly Choirs. So let's rehearse while we can and sing our way Home in perfect pitch!
This is the final excerpt from my book SAGE BRUSHINGS which was discounted at $12 plus postage during June. It is the last day of June, but you can still order it today at the discount. I have filled all of your orders to date. I’m happy that you have told me how meaningful you have found the blog posts which were most commented on at my website during the period of writing this book.
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