There comes a day when it dawns on you that you are drifting. You’ve been drifting spiritually and your faith isn’t what it used to be.
If you’re honest with yourself here are some of the things you’ve noticed:
10 Signs of a drifting faith:
1. Your communion with God is waning or non-existent.
a. you’re just not meeting with God anymore – you have little to no solitude and silence
b. when you do sit down with God it is dry and lifeless or cursory.
2. Your prayers have become, at best, a “laundry list” of wants.
a. bless me, gimme, help me, I need I need I need
3. When you read the Bible it is dull and meaningless.
a. you get nothing out of it
b. it makes no sense or it’s just plain boring
4. Your church engagement is sporadic and lifeless.
a. You attend church only when it is convenient.
b. Everything else gets priority: travel team games, work, relaxing
c. When you are in church you can’t concentrate .…you monkey around with your smart phone…your mind wanders…check the time
5. You’ve faded away from your small group.
a. Just feels like too much work…let’s just stay home and call in sick
6. You’ve lost accountability.
a. dropped contact with your mentor, discipler or group of dudes or ladies who hold you accountable.
7. Relationships, in general, have become shallow and uninspiring.
a. you’re clearly more isolated and disconnected
8. Your anxiety level is on the rise.
a. you are growing more and more agitated
b. snippy and short with others
c. you’ve become impatient
9. Your morality is slipping or tanked.
a. thoughts you think are increasingly wrong
b. stuck in sin patterns/habits
10.You are hurtling through life without meaning.
a. calendar is jam packed
b. you can’t manage your time
c. you are stuck in a cycle of crash and burn followed by reinvention
d. there is no joy in waking up in the morning
You are drifting!
Not to belabor the point but here’s another way to assess the relative vitality of your faith:
The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23
If those 9 fruits describe a vital faith…their antonyms or opposites would be signs of drifting faith:
| Walking in the Spirit |
| Spiritual Drift |
| Love |
| Disregard |
| Joy |
| Depression |
| Peace |
| Anxiety |
| Patience |
| Frustration |
| Kindness |
| Meanness |
| Goodness |
| Immorality |
| Faithfulness |
| Lies |
| Gentleness |
| Roughness |
| Self-control |
| Self-indulgence |
OK…I hope now I have your attention. I don’t have to explain the importance of this do I? Do I need to answer the question “so what?” Maybe I do!
· It (drift) affects more than just your spiritual lives. If you’re drifting in your faith it will eventually effect:
o quality of work
o anxiety or depression levels
o in short - EVERYTHING
When you are spiritually drifting it weakens your whole life immune system.
· it’s not like a cold or even like the flu
· it’s more like sepsis: Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection. Sepsis occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight the infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body. This inflammation can cause a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail. If sepsis progresses to septic shock, blood pressure drops dramatically, which may lead to death.
o I’ve been to far too many Intensive Care Units to pray for a person with sepsis. Some of them make it and some of them don’t.
o Similarly I’ve met with far too many people in my office or Starbucks or in the lobby who have spiritual sepsis…who are drifting…whose faith isn’t what it used to be. Some of them make it and some of them don’t.
I want you to make it. I want you to be reined back in. I want your drift to be halted and your faith to grow again and for life to return…For God to once again be everything to you. For the fruit of the Holy Spirit to be born in you anew.
And that is why we are devoting the next 7 weeks to this subject. It is why we are going to examine themes from the book of Hebrews.
· This is one of the key reasons this particular book was included in the canon of scripture and why God breathed into and inspired its author.
· I want you to get to know the themes within this book. I want you to make it! I want your faith to be what it used to be!
So let’s make a pact with each other:
1. Come back every single week for the next 7. If you HAVE to miss, watch it on line. And, soon, within weeks we will be introducing live streaming of the services.
2. Bring a friend…perhaps the “1” you are pursuing?
3. Couple this series with the return of or upgrade of your communion with God
4. Start to reconnect with your support system…
a. accountability friends
b. small group
Here we go…let’s dive in: Hebrews 2:1 page 1009
Side note: Download and follow along in our Grace App. - you’ll find our sermon notes, the scripture and extras,
OK…here is some background on Hebrews:
· it’s beautiful and it’s deep
· it’s eloquent and it’s earthy
· it’s insanely practical and it is deeply theological
· it is a letter…yet at times it reads more like a sermon
· we do not know who wrote it yet we have a very good idea who it was written to:
o likely a specific group of people living in Jerusalem or maybe Rome
o Jewish people who had become Christians (that’s why it eventually was given the name Hebrews…another term for Jewish folks)
o people who had encountered a significant amount of persecution
· this group of people was drifting in their faith and they were falling back on old patterns of belief…Judaism
o this is why there are so many allusions to Judaism and Jewish theology in the book.
o the writer in essence was saying…hey, you keep returning to stuff that just isn’t true …let me remind you that faith in Jesus is true and right and far better that what you used to believe.
o and…you are worrying me…you are drifting: your faith isn’t what it used to be!
Let’s look at his concerns for them (and my concerns for us):
So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1
· listen very carefully = pay attention to God and what is true
o he assumes that they know what is true…they have some experience with the truth
o they were not novices about “the truth”
And neither are you. You may be drifting but you know full well large portions of what is essential and true about God.
· You may be shallow but you are not totally ignorant about God.
· You’ve been around church enough to not be naïve.
o You know what you are drifting from.
o You remember what it used to feel like to be alive spiritually.
· And you are fully aware that you are drifting away from Him.
o to drift means to float by…un-tethered
Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. Hebrews 3:12
· This passage is more intense…the author here is up in their face and concerned that their drift is more willful than accidental. More deliberate than just a slow fade.
o “make sure your own hearts are not evil” = implies deliberate defiance
o “make sure you are not turning away” = implies rebellion
· Most fascinating is the inclusion of the phrase “turning away from the living God” =
o What on earth did he mean by that? Why not just “turning away from God”?
o I think he was implying that their theology had gotten off.
§ your theology = what you believe about God
§ they had started to reshape God into an image that made their drift more palatable.
§ this is so very common!…drifters recreate God to justify their drifting!
· Again, I believe this may be true about you. (And many other formerly alive believers throughout this nation) There has come upon us a dead theology.
o A way wrong-headed understanding of God that is certainly not “living”…but justifies the new goofy and ridiculous semi-Christian lifestyle that prevails in the United state of America.
o The new theology of America actually has a name: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism
I’ve put a link in our app - Fun facts: here’s more on Moral therapeutic Deism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moralistic_therapeutic_deism
In 2005, Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton as a part of UNC Dept of Religion released a book calledSoul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. In their book, Smith and Denton coined the termmoralistic therapeutic deismto describe the “defacto dominate religion among contemporary teenagers.”
1. Moralistic = Be good or nice and fair.
2. Therapeutic = Feel Good and be happy.
3. Deism = God exists but is distant and uninvolved except when we want him to make us feel good.
This is the theology of drift. This makes God simple and safe. I guarantee most Americans believe this about God…as a result most Americans are far from God or are drifting away from him.
If you believe this you need to know that you are killing off the living God. And though this theology is extremely convenient and makes you feel less bad about where you are…it is dangerous…to you and the people around you.
That’s the point of one last passage: Hebrews 5:11-14 There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.
There is so much going on in these 4 verse but let me highlight a couple of issues out of it:
· If you are drifting you are digressing…you are devolving…it’s like spiritually you were a thriving 30 something who has devolved into a toddler.
o toddlers have trouble with steak…they’re more into Mac and cheese
§ same with you..you can’t handle biblical steak anymore…you are surviving on theological P,B and J
o toddlers have trouble knowing the difference between right and wrong. They do dangerous things like stick their fingers in light sockets and touch hot stoves.
§ That’s what spiritual drift does to you! And it is why you are doing stupid things – you do things that are wrong because it’s like you don’t know any better.
But there’s something else implied here that is even more ominous about drifting – your spiritual de-evolution is having an impact on so many others in your life.
Vs. 12 - “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others”
· By now you should be leading…influencing
o Let me get painfully specific…by now you should be the spiritual leader of your family…your children…your friends…your co-workers
o Instead you are drifting and sliding to immaturity
o Just think of the impact of that on those around you:
§ your net impact is not neutral
§ you are making their lives more difficult.
§ you are skewing their understanding of God.
I repeat the words of Hebrews:
You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word.
I think you get the point.
I hope you are feeling the tug of the Holy Spirit drawing you back from deep space into His presence.
We want to help. We want to coax you back. We want to rein you in. Our goal over the next 6 weeks is simple:
We want to help restore your faith to what it used to be…and more!