Drifting Away From God…

This blog is a study of Hebrews 2. Instead of one long blog,  I’ve divided it into three shorter blogs so you can think more deeply about each one. It deals with the very real issue of how we should think about those who drift away from the faith and what we should do if we ourselves are the ones drifting.

I want to tell you the story of a fictitious couple by the name of George and Georgette Jingling. Georgette was born into a Christian family and believed in Jesus ever since she could remember. She was practically raised in Sunday school and was an active member of her church youth group. She went to a Christian high school and then on to a Christian college. After she graduated, she started working in an office and met a man who swept her off her feet. However, while he was not a Christian he showed some real interest in religion and started attending church with her. He made a profession of faith in Christ just before their wedding and everything seemed to be perfect. She stopped working while the kids were young but then went back after the kids were in school. All along Georgette had been very active in her church; her husband less so, but attended church because he knew it meant a lot to his wife.

After the kids we all ole enough for school, she went back to work. She made a whole new group of friends who were not believers, and for the first time her faith was challenged by their frequent questions. Some of her values were scorned and she felt increasing pressure to conform to the behavior of her office mates. She grew increasingly tired of trying to balance the pressures at work along with family and church, so she started to withdraw from her church activities.  Her Sunday attendance became infrequent because it was her only personal day off.

Her husband thought it was great to have her home more and he felt less guilty about his sporadic attendance.  The kids didn’t mind skipping church since they hadn’t developed many friendships there.  Soon the family stopped going altogether and it didn’t even seem unnatural. One day George announced that he no longer considered himself a Christian. Georgette wanted to be shocked but knew it would be hypocritical since she had drifted so far away from her faith. And the kids? Who knows?

This little story might be a contemporary version of why the Book of Hebrews was written. We do not know who wrote the book, but whoever it was had a pastoral concern that long-time believers to whom he was writing were ignoring spiritual truth and were drifting away from their devotion to Christ. As far as we can tell, the probable cause for their deserting the faith was due to the increased persecution and social condemnation that Christians were facing under Emperor Nero (see 10:32-39). Thus our author’s challenge was to encourage, exhort, and stimulate these beleaguered believers to hold on to their commitment to Christ and endure to the end. Apparently, it is not enough to have once believed, but one must continue to do so.

I would say that Hebrews 3:14 is the theme verse of this entire book: “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.” (NKJV) I have been in Pastoral ministry for 44 yrs., and I have seen many professing Christians drift away from their relationship with Christ and from the church, so I know it can happen. And there will be many of you who are reading this blog who believe that you are Christians but will not last in the faith. It is my sincere hope that God will help us all “to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith,” “to make our calling and election sure,” and challenge us to “hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.”

What does it mean to drift away?  Whatever it means, the writer of Hebrews includes himself in the danger. 2:1- “We must pay more careful attention…” Thus, the warning is to all Christians to pay greater attention (perissoteros) to Christ, who is the Word spoken by God in these latter days (1:2). The word for drifting (pararuomai) makes use of some powerful imagery. Picture yourself in a boat or canoe heading to a docking point on the shore on a very swift moving river. As you head into that spot, you need to be careful not to stop paddling or cut the motor too soon or else the current will pull you away and you will begin to drift downstream where there is the danger of rapids and a waterfall.  You need to pay close attention to the docking point lest you drift away. The writer of Hebrews says that the docking point is Christ and we must be very careful that we are continuing to move toward Him and not drifting from Him, being pulled away by the currents of life.

The people for whom Hebrews was written were facing the current of persecution. Maybe you are too. People at work or school treat you as an oddity because they know you are a Christian. Georgette, in our opening story, was facing some of that ridicule as well as the current of life’s cares and worries. Maybe that is your situation. You’re just too busy, so many things to think about, so many things to do and not enough time for God. Perhaps you are facing the current of the world’s glitter and attraction, or desire for fame and fortune. These things are causing you to pay little attention to Christ because your focus is on what the world has to offer you.

Perhaps you are facing the current of rebellion; whatever someone in authority tells you makes you want to do the opposite.  Your parents want you to go to church so that is the last place you want to go; they want you to love Jesus and that’s the last thing you want to do. [By the way, this is not to say that a person cannot be a Christian if they don’t attend church. However, the Scripture assumes and teaches that the church is a part of the God’s pattern for our growth and development in the faith (Hebrews 10:24, 25). One could argue that two people don’t have to live together to be married, but such a possibility would raise serious questions about the growth and development of the marriage.]

Perhaps you are facing the current of disappointment and bitterness. You feel that God has let you down, Christians in the past have hurt you, and life has basically dealt you a lousy hand. You are drifting away because you wonder what good it has done to believe in Christ or to try and follow Him.

Perhaps you are drifting in the current of guilt because you keep letting God down. You’ve tried a thousand times to change; how could God listen to one more ineffective prayer of repentance?  Yes, there’s the docking point; it is Christ and we must fix our eyes upon Him. However, some of us are not paying attention (not moving toward Christ) and are in danger of drifting away from Him.

What are we to do?

(More in the next blog…)

When Iron Floats…

For those who are familiar (or not) with Charles Haddon Spurgeon devotional “Morning and Evening,” this was the entry for January 13th. Read it carefully. May it bring hope to you if you are facing a seemingly hopeless situation.

Evening, January 13

2 Kings 6:6 (NIV)

The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to meet.”

And he said, “Go.”

Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?”

“I will,” Elisha replied. And he went with them.

They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!”

The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.


The axe-head seemed hopelessly lost, and as it was borrowed, the honour of the prophetic band was likely to be imperilled, and so the name of their God to be compromised. Contrary to all expectation, the iron was made to mount from the depth of the stream and to swim; for things impossible with man are possible with God.

I knew a man in Christ but a few years ago who was called to undertake a work far exceeding his strength. It appeared so difficult as to involve absurdity in the bare idea of attempting it. Yet he was called thereto, and his faith rose with the occasion; God honoured his faith, unlooked-for aid was sent, and the iron did swim.

Another of the Lord’s family was in grievous financial straits, he was able to meet all claims, and much more if he could have realized a certain portion of his estate, but he was overtaken with a sudden pressure; he sought for friends in vain, but faith led him to the unfailing Helper, and lo, the trouble was averted, his footsteps were enlarged, and the iron did swim.

A third had a sorrowful case of depravity to deal with. He had taught, reproved, warned, invited, and interceded, but all in vain. Old Adam was too strong for [this] young [man], the stubborn spirit would not relent. Then came an agony of prayer, and before long a blessed answer was sent from heaven. The hard heart was broken, the iron did swim.

Beloved reader, what is thy desperate case? What heavy matter hast thou in hand this evening? Bring it hither. The God of the prophets lives, and lives to help his saints. He will not suffer thee to lack any good thing. Believe thou in the Lord of hosts! Approach him pleading the name of Jesus, and the iron shall swim; thou too shalt see the finger of God working marvels for his people. According to thy faith be it unto thee, and yet again the iron shall swim.



The Children’s Bible in a Nutshell


This could very well be the way some child began to understand the Bible. You will find it humorous because (thankfully) your understanding has grown:

“In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas.  The Bible says, ‘The Lord thy God is one,’but I think He must be a lot older than that.

Anyway, God said, ‘Give me a light!’ and someone did. Then God made the world.

He split the Adam and made Eve.  Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren’t embarrassed because mirrors hadn’t been invented yet.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden…..Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn’t have cars.

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel.

Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham.  Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.

After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast.  Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.

Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston.  Moses led the Israel Lights out of  Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh’s people.  These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable. God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti.  Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don’t lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor’s stuff.

Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more:’Humor thy father and thy mother.’

One of Moses’ best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies.  Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.

After Joshua came David.  He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot.  He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines.  My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn’t sound very wise to me.

After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets.  One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore.

There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don’t have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament.  Jesus is the star of The New.  He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, ‘Close the door! Were you born in a barn?’ It would be nice to say, ‘As a matter of fact, I was.’)

During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Democrats.

Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus.  Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man.  He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount.

But the Democrats and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot.  Pilot didn’t stick up for Jesus.  He just washed his hands instead.

Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again.  He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminium.  His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.”