Drifting Spiritually

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Master, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.” (Hebrews 2:1-3)

The RSV uses the word “drift” instead of “let them slip.” We can neglect so great salvation by doing absolutely nothing.

Here is an analogy to help understand the situation we are in and what is required of us.

When we are born we enter into the river of life. The river goes upstream towards the source (Yahweh) or downstream towards the deadly waterfall and the rocks below. Because we have sinned, all are heading uncontrollably downstream to destruction.

When we accept Yeshua as our Savior, he saves us from certain destruction and empowers us to reverse direction and head upstream towards the rivers source. Yeshua becomes our ark or our boat and the “hope set before us” is our anchor (Heb.6:19).

What would happen if this situation was literal and we stopped rowing upstream?

The current we fight against represents our trials, tribulations and temptations. We must continually fight against the current. One never drifts towards Yahweh, but always away from Him.

If we simply do nothing we will drift away from Yahweh. Yeshua said,

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” (Luke 13:24).

If we stop striving, stop doing what is required of us and, instead, rest before our labors are finished, we will most certainly drift backwards. Revelation 14:12,13 read,

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of the Mighty One, and the faith of Yeshua. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Master from henceforth: Yea, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”

We are to labor for the Kingdom’s sake until the day we die.

Yahweh warned Israel about drifting

Deuteronomy 4:9 – “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest you forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;”

Here, Yahweh speaks of drifting from what He had taught Israel. However, we can also drift from Him.

Deuteronomy 6:10-12 – “And it shall be, when Yahweh thy Elohim shall have brought thee into the land which He swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you great and goodly cities, which you built not, and houses full of all good things, which you filled not, and wells digged, which you digged not, vineyards and olive trees, which you planted not; when you shall have eaten and are full; Then beware lest you forget Yahweh, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.”

Forgetting Yahweh occurs slowly over time. It starts with simple neglect and ends in destruction. Notice when Yahweh tells Israel to be on high alert against drifting; during times of prosperity and blessing. During hardship we draw closer. We are constantly seeking Yahweh’s face for deliverance from our trials and tribulations. During prosperity, our spiritual senses are dulled by worldliness making it much easier to drift.

Signs of drifting

1) Lack of zeal

2) Lack of prayer

3) Lack of tears

4) Slipping in obedience

5) Flesh wins over Spirit

6) Failure to witness

7) Neglect Bible study

8) Diminished desire to be with brethren

9) Increased thrill with things of the world

10) Neglecting daily devotions

It is hard to outright reject Yahweh or Yeshua., but we will easily neglect them.

Results of drifting

Deuteronomy 32:15, 18-20 – “But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: you are waxen fat, you are grown thick, you are covered with fatness; then he forsook Elohim which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. . . . Of the Rock that begat thee you are unmindful, and have forgotten Elohim that formed you. And when Yahweh saw it, He abhorred them, because of the provoking of His sons, and of His daughters. And He said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.”

Again, the drift and ensuing forsaking of Yahweh took place during the prosperity of Israel.

Jeremiah 18:15-17 – “Because my people have forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up; To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passes thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head. I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will show them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.”

Drifting causes us to walk contrary to Yahweh’s ways.

Ezekiel 23:35 – “Therefore thus says Adonai Yahweh; Because you have forgotten me, and cast me behind your back, therefore bear you also your lewdness and your whoredoms.”

We may end up bearing our own sins if we drift so far as to reject Messiah.

Ephesians 4:14 – “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”

We begin to lose our spiritual discernment and become susceptible to accepting false doctrine.

Revelation 3:15-17 – “I know thy works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”

Prosperity strikes again and results in lukewarmness and rejection.

Remedy for drifting

Philippians 3:12-15 – “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Messiah Yeshua. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of the Mighty One in Messiah Yeshua. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, the Mighty One shall reveal even this unto you.”

In other words, keep rowing keep striving, keep on pressing toward the mark.

2 Corinthians 4:16 – “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

Rowing upstream is hard work, but we are admonished to faint not. When we grow weary and weak, that’s when Messiah is strong on our behalf. 2 Corinthians 12:9,10 says;

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Messiah may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Messiah’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

2 Peter 1:5-10 – “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience piety; and to piety brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness love; For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Master Yeshua Messiah. But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afra off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall:” 

We need to continue growing spiritually by continually adding spiritual character traits to our faith. The more fruitful we become in this, the less risk there is in drifting.

1 Peter 2:11 – “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;”

We need to examine ourselves in this area. Many believers fail to realize that their seemingly innocent activities are, in fact, fleshly lusts; especially in the area of T.V. The more we walk in the Spirit and not yield to the lust of the flesh, the stronger we will be. And we will certainly need to be strong because fleshly lusts are like the rapids in the river of life.

Colossians 2:6-7 – “As you have therefore received Messiah Yeshua the Master, so walk you in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”

We need to walk in Yeshua by imitating him or being conformed to his image. That will result in us being “built up.”

Hebrews 6:18-19 – “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for the Mighty One to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil;”

An anchor comes in real handy when your drifting dangerously towards a waterfall. If we stay focused on the hope before us, we are certain not to drift because that anchor is “sure and steadfast.”

Revelation 2:5 – “Remember therefore from where you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of his place, except you repent.”

This was the remedy for the Ephesians’ drift. It is interesting that, even though the Ephesians were working and laboring hard without fainting, they still drifted from their first love. Any thoughts on who or what their first love was and what their first works were? (Yeshua & the imitation of him)?

Revelation 3:19 – “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

This was the remedy for the Laodecians. Their prosperity led to their downstream drift from zealousness. Repentance would head them again in the right direction.

Spiritual drifting is often unnoticed and happens over time and in times of prosperity. Therefore . . .

“Watch you, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”   1 Corinthians 16:13

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