At some point in our journey with Jesus, we can find ourselves drifting away from God. We all know this is not a good place to be. So, how can we tell if we are drifting away from God and what can we do about it?
The drift is hardly ever intentional. Life happens. We get distracted. Busyness crowds out the priority of our relationship with God and we begin to drift. Our hearts grow colder and we wander further from Him. We feel spiritually empty and apathetic. So, when we talk about drifting from God, what do we mean?
What I Mean by Drifting
When I say drifting away from God, I mean we have been carried away from what we once believed about God, Jesus, the Bible, and the church, by the current of culture and unbelief. The writer of Hebrews says it very plainly:
So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it (Hebrews 2:1).
Sin clouds our belief about God’s power, holiness, sovereignty, grace, and love. We begin doubting his goodness, which he is somehow holding out on us. When we start questioning God’s character and his Lordship over our lives, then it becomes easier for us to drift from the home base of God’s presence.
Drifting Happens Slowly
The times when I have strayed away from God (yes, pastors are susceptible to spiritual drift, too), it never happened suddenly. I didn’t wake up, saying: “I think I am going to wander away from God.” If you are anything like me, you don’t intentionally stray away from God. The interesting thing about drifting away from God is that we drift and we don’t even know that we are drifting. Drifting happens slowly, and many times unintentionally.Large steps away from God always begins with a thousand small steps away from him.Click To TweetLarge steps away from God always begins with a thousand small steps away from him. At least that’s the way it happens with me. I imagine this applies to you as well.
Drifting Happens in Heart First
Drifting always occurs in the heart first. Then, it metabolizes to our attitude, words, and actions. Followers of Jesus can be adrift while singing songs in worship service, leading small groups, praying for the sick and preaching sermons from the pulpit. We turn to faking piety and managing an image, as a way to shield people from how far we may have drifted from our Father. This play acting is exhausting, and it leads us to a place of spiritual apathy. It’s unfortunate that we have not created communities of grace that are safe enough for people to feel free to be brutally honest and transparent about where they are on their journey with Jesus.
How We Know We Are Drifting
How do we know we are drifting or have drifted away from God? We become aware that we are wandering away from God when we:
- Spend little or no time reading the Word of God.
- Spend little or no time praying.
- Are not affected by the Good News (the power of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus) like we once were.
- Spend little or no time fellowshipping with other followers of Jesus.
- Attempt to follow Jesus without the power of the Spirit.
- Find it easier to compromise our moral beliefs.
- Feel very little or no need to confess and repent of our sins.
- Refuse to trust God.
- Justify and rationalize our sins.
What to Do If You Have Drifted
We all drift – near and far from God. Though we drift, there is good news. We can always find our way back the harbor of fellowship with God. If we have drifted or are drifting, here are several moves that we should make:
- Believe that God loves you unconditionally and his grace is enough to cover your drift (Romans 8:38-39).
- Confess and repent of your sins (Proverbs 28:13).
- Live, transparently, in community with other followers of Jesus (James 5:16).
- Add spiritual habits back to your life – prayer, Bible reading, church attendance, worship through singing, etc. (Revelation 2:5).
Drifting happens, but we don’t have to keep drifting. As we prepare for Easter, we can turn and return to our first love and experience renewed fellowship with the living God.
What are some steps you have taken to come back to God when you have drifted from Him?