For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? -Hebrews 2:1-3
Men . . . God has just said in chapter 1 of Hebrews that Jesus is greater than all the angels. He has said to us that Jesus is God - the exact representation of God's very essence and being! We are not following some mere spiritual being - or a leader of a movement. We have the opportunity to know, love, and follow God Himself! Now, having said this, there is an exhortation. That is how Hebrews works as a book - there is teaching about the supremacy of Jesus to everything - and after each teaching there is a call - an exhortation to walk with God. These exhortations are so helpful to me - and that I why I feel the need to walk through them to exhort you as the men of my congregation - as well as men that I work with in discipleship. Let's take a look at our first exhortation!
Because we are not dealing with just a religious view - or a religious figure - or a spiritual being of some interest - we need to pay closer attention to what we've heard of God's Word and God's plan and purposes! We are dealing with God - One Who is immeasurable in power, might, glory, majesty, wisdom, goodness, grace, love, and (and this is part of the point of Hebrews) wrath for the lost and discipline for the saved! That is why we need to pay MUCH COSER ATTENTION!
We are all guys here - so let's be honest! We are easily distracted - especially when someone is talking to us. There are times when my wife and daughters have to do something to get my attention because I am too focused on the television, computer, a book, a spot on the wall - you know what I'm referring to here. It is so easy for us to "DRIFT AWAY" in our thinking. Isn't it awesome to know that our God understands this weakness in us! He knows that we tend toward distraction. He also knows that the devil and the world system are experts as drawing us away in our thinking and our focus. The whole advertising world is geared to pulling your focus away from whatever you were thinking - to what they are telling you to think about - and eventually think you can't live without!
Drifting can be very dangerous men. My family visited Niagra Falls when I was young. We went to the falls and read and heard of the stories of those who went over the Falls in barrels and various kinds of contraptions. The most frightening story of all though was of a young boy who went over the falls in nothing more than a life jacket - and survived. The story is frightening because it began with a father and son fishing trip on the Niagra River. The two of them got distracted fishing and did not realize that their boat had crossed a very dangerous barrier on the river. The father struggled to get the engine started - and could not because of the rough waters. Soon they were careening down the river without any control over the boat. The father furiously paddled at an angle to get to a shoreline, hoping to make it before the falls. His valiant efforts were to no avail as the boat capsized in the midst of the angry current. He grabbed his son and with every ounce of strength in him tried to reach the short swimming. He did not reach the shore - and was killed as he and his son were cast over the edge of the Candaian side of the falls. Miraculously the boy was relatively unharmed - with a lot of bruises and a few cuts. That story is a constant reminder to me to be very careful about drifting in my life. It is an easy thing to do - and it usually leads to danger when we do.
MEN OF GOD - are you drifting spiritually? If you are - here are a few of the symptoms.
#1 - You are probably not in the Word - and if you are - you are not exactly listening to God when you read it. Here is what I mean by this - and unfortunately I speak from experience. When I am drifting - I'm distracted from the Word. Either I am not reading it at all - or - I am reading it to mark it off some kind of list of things I'm supposed to do. There is little "hearing God" at all going on as I read. This will eventually lead to me reading less - or just stop reading at all.
#2 - You are making "little compromises" in your life. If you are drifting - there are "little compromises" that are being made from time to time. These don't seem like huge things, but when you first do them there is just a twinge of conviction as you realize, "Probably shouldn't do that - but - ah, what's the problem - no harm, no foul." Here is the problem though - these little compromises - will lead up to bigger ones in the future. They also dull your spiritual senses over time to the conviction of the Spirit.
#3 - You are not really aware of the tremendous danger of sin. God warns us in Hebrews that the word given by angels received a just discipline and punishment - and that those commands were unalterable. Do we realize that the "little compromises" - if they involve being disobedient - aren't so little? Each one comes with a cost - and each one is neglecting the fact that we will be held accountable for our actions. The drifting of our hearts involves just thinking that sin is not that big of an issue - when it really is! David's first sin with Bathsheba was not adultery. The first step was just wanting to relax and take it easy - when he should have been going to war. That little compromise led to him compromising by not turning away when he saw Bathsheba bathing. That compromise then led to him asking about her - then calling her - then having sex with her - then her getting pregnant - the cover-up - killing Uriah and a bunch of other guys who got killed being dumb in war on purpose. Could David have ever imagined that the "little compromise" of being lazy and not diligent as king - would have led to all this!? NEVER! But that is what "drifting" does to us spiritually! We drift - and we think it is not that big of a deal - and then - we find ourselves in the rapids of the river - then, over the falls! Sin is always, always, always dangerous - deadly dangerous! Anything that deadens our thoughts on this matter - is DEADLY ITSELF!
#4 - You are not as excited or moved by your salvation. Hebrews says here that we should realize what a great salvation we have. The phrase is this, ". . . how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" What God is saying to us is that our salvation is GREAT! The God we serve . . . is GREAT! The judgment and wrath we escaped . . . GREAT! The amount of sin forgiven . . . GREAT! How deep the change should be in our hearts . . . GREAT! And the list can go on and on! But when we are drifting - all that "greatness" just seems to become - ho-hum to us. It is not that we are not grateful for salvation . . . it is just that we are not all that convinced any longer that it was that big a deal - or that our danger was all that . . . dangerous - or that the joy and ultimate satisfaction in knowing and walking with God is . . . all that ultimate any longer. David prayed in Psalm 51 - restore to me the joy of my salvation. That is what we are missing - any real joy or sense of greatness in our salvation.
So . . . are you drifting? If you are - consider Jesus - Who He is - how much greater He is than even angels. Consider Who is talking to you when you come to Scripture - and fellowship with Him! Consider how not concentrating and focusing on what He says may be leading to "little compromises" that are getting bigger over time. Consider if you consider all sin very dangerous or not. Consider if you are not so moved by your salvation as you used to be. If these things are happening to you - SNAP OUT OF IT BRO! There is a very real danger that you face! Your guilty of "spiritual drifting" - and that can cost way more than you ever imagined. Maybe now your just a litle off course. The problem is that the river gets rougher as it gets closer to the Falls. There is still time to wake up - snap out of the drifting - and get back on course. Don't wait until the river's current grabs you and takes you over the Falls. And if you're further down the river than you think - cry to God for help! Call out to brothers to throw you a line from the shoreline - and reel you in! All these things you can do - just don't sit there and continue to drift!