Drifting Away

DAY ONE

Sermon Sentence: When we become complacent in our walk, we will start drifting.

Scripture reading: Hebrews 3:12-14

In this scripture, we are told to encourage each other daily so that no heart is hardened
by sin’s deceitfulness. As I am writing this, our church service as we know it will be
cancelled for the next couple of weeks. We won’t hear the sound of music and praise
resonating from the walls. We will no longer hear the voices of people happily greeting
each other before the Sunday morning service begins. The lights will be turned off and
the only sound will be a deafening silence. I wonder if this is how it will sound when we
no longer hear God’s voice calling us. I have never experienced a time when the doors
of the church were not opened, beckoning the lost to come in to be restored and
reconciled to their savior. In due time the church doors will open once again. The lights
will come back on and voices will lift in praise on Sunday mornings. What about those
who become complacent and drift away? Will they hear God’s voice calling again or will
the only sound be a deafening silence into eternity?
It is especially important, during this time of social distancing, that we keep in contact
with each other. Modern technology affords us ample opportunity to reach out to one
another, either by text, email or social media. However, these methods can fall short of
the comfort and encouragement of human contact. If someone comes across your
mind during this current crisis, consider calling that person rather than texting. The
sound of your voice may be just what he/she needs to keep moving forward.
How often have we heard of a near miss on a railroad track because someone was
distracted and didn’t know a train was coming until the shrill sound of the whistle jarred
that person back to reality? A life was saved because the engineer sounded the whistle
and the one in danger responded. A timely word of encouragement could be the whistle
someone needs to hear.


DAY TWO

Sermon Sentence: When we become complacent in our walk, we will start drifting.

Scripture reading: Hebrews 3:12-19

Verse 15 tells us not to harden our hearts when we hear God’s voice. If we continue to
ignore his voice, after awhile we won’t be able to hear Him at all. The farther we move
from God, the easier it is for Satan to find us all alone and vulnerable to deceit. Satan’s
ultimate goal is to very subtly, loosen our grip, one finger at a time, until we have drifted
so far that we hardly hear God’s voice in the far distance. I once lived along a street
that was part of a very steep grade. All day and night the sound of large trucks could be
heard shifting gears as they climbed that hill. I quickly learned to ignore the loud noise
and after awhile it was no more than a droning in the background. Actually, I became
completely unaware of the sound until someone came to visit and mentioned the loud
whirring noise. Just as our instinct for survival allows us to adjust to our surroundings,
unless someone or something comes along to jar us awake, it is easy to become
desensitized to sin that gradually creeps into our lives. This is why we need to
encourage one another on a daily basis before we become comfortably complacent.
The longer we ignore God’s voice, the more we become desensitized to sin which
eventually leads to unbelief; and it was unbelief that kept the people from entering the
promised land. Although the people who rebelled in the desert were not allowed to
enter the promised land, this scripture goes even deeper when it refers to not entering
His rest. As far as we are concerned, this would also apply to not entering God’s
eternal rest.
Are there people you talk to often, maybe even on a daily basis? Make an agreement
to encourage each other each time you meet or talk.


DAY THREE

Sermon Sentence: When we become complacent in our walk, we will start drifting.

Scripture reading: Hebrews 3:7-11

How can God’s people keep going astray time after time? Verse 10 tells us, “They have
not known my ways.” Just as the children of Israel made an idol from gold when they
were in the desert, we are just as susceptible to deception. So often we have a
preconceived notion of the only or obvious way a situation can work out. Then when
the results are not forthcoming within a certain timeframe, we lose faith and look
elsewhere for help because we do not know God’s ways. This is when it becomes
dangerous and without even realizing it, we can easily become vulnerable to deceit.
Unless someone encourages us to move forward, we will find ourselves on a slippery
slope sliding backwards.
Please note that the children of Israel began grumbling and looking back at the same
time. Often when an obstacle is placed in our path, the first thing we do is to look back
at what may seem like a simpler time. This is when we need to remind each other that
God does not retreat. If the children of Israel would have stood still or taken even one
step back when they encountered the Red Sea, they would have slid right back into the
hands of the Egyptian army and slavery.
Often when a Red Sea is in front of us, we might pray for a fast ship and when it fails to
come into port, we are tempted to give up and retreat, because we do not know God’s
ways. In times like these, we need to encourage and remind each other that God only
leads us in one direction which is forward.
So, when it seems as though our deliverance is not forthcoming, we need to remember
that God’s ways are not our ways, and He is leading us through the raging sea all the
while.

DAY FOUR

Sermon Sentence: When we become complacent in our walk, we will start drifting.

Scripture reading: Hebrews 3:12-14

In verse 13, we are told to encourage one another daily. Although everyone is
susceptible to deceit, we can usually notice someone else falling away before we come
to realize that we too are in peril. When we, ourselves, are engulfed in deceit, not only
are we unaware that we have been deceived, but we may actually think we are on the
right path. Sometimes deceit can be so subtle that one may actually be confused as to
what is truth versus lies. This belief that we are doing what is right, when in fact we
have fallen away, is the true essence of deceit. Now we can see the pure wisdom in
commanding us to sound the alarm for each other before we are deceived into
becoming complacent and lose our way.
In verse 14, we are told to hold fast to our faith as it was when we first came to know
Christ, so that we may share in his glory. If we are to hold fast until the end, we need to
work as a team and encourage each other daily. When members of a team climb a
mountain, they are attached to each other with ropes. If one person begins to slip, the
partner pulls him/her up. Someone climbing alone could easily slide back down without
reaching the top and possibly be lost forever.
God is not looking for one lone superstar to cross the finish line ahead of everyone else.
We are told to encourage each other so that nobody will drift away and be lost. We are
like marathon runners; our goal being for all of us to make it to the end together. We
should always be on the lookout for someone who is becoming weary and needs to be
encouraged.
Sometimes, as the race seems to be so long, it is easy to take a break and just stand
still for a moment, possibly becoming detached from the other runners. This is when we
become vulnerable to deceitful lies that can harden our hearts. Run for your life,
keeping within earshot of His voice.

DAY FIVE

Sermon Sentence: When we become complacent in our walk, we will start drifting.

Scripture reading: Hebrews 3:8, 15-19

Blatant sin is characteristic of unbelief and unbelief will keep us from entering God’s
rest. Therefore, it is important that we respond when we hear His voice. Verse 8 and
verse 15 both warn against hardening our hearts when we hear His voice. God was
angry with the people in the desert because of their rebellion and declared that they
would not enter His rest. Blatant sin and unbelief go hand in hand. If a person
continues to sin over time his/her conscience will be seared so that he/she no longer
hears God’s voice calling him/her back. The longer we are estranged from God the
easier it becomes to forget about Him altogether until one day we may even doubt that
he exists.
How is it possible that a nation that had experienced the parting of the Red Sea as they
escaped the Egyptian army could be deceived to the point of unbelief? It seemed as
though the people wandering in the desert so quickly forgot the miraculous way God
delivered them from slavery and cared for them in the wilderness. They could only see
their current situation as they dwelled on that which they were lacking instead of
rejoicing in their freedom from slavery. When we are stressed or overwhelmed, it is
easy to become so focused on our problems that we forget the many times God has
intervened for us. Even worse; it may not occur to us that our thinking is one-sided. If
someone does not encourage us to press on and redirect us, we could easily find
ourselves at a standstill, in danger of sliding backward into unbelief.
Although, we might wonder how the people in the desert could seemingly forget all that
God had done for them, it only goes to prove what deceit can do to rational thinking.
Just as physical strength decreases during time of inactivity; spiritual complacency will
cause us to drift away until we can no longer hear God’s voice calling us.
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