Franklin G. Huling, M. A.
DRIFTING IS EASY
The easiest thing in all the world is to drift. It requires no effort whatever. To drift all one has to do is nothing. We need to remember that that sick or dead fish can drift with the current, but it takes a live one, healthy fish to swim upstream. And the drift is NOT noticed until we have drifted a long way. “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things that were heard, lest we should let them slip—Heb. 2;1.” It behoves us to watch vigilantly against beginning to drift.
WHY PEOPLE DRIFT
A False sense of freedom: There is an evil fascination about drifting. Slackening up on going to church and reading the Bible, gives one a false send of freedom. In reality, it is slavery to Satan. Freedom from the will of God who loves us, will prove to be bitter bondage to the devil who hates us.
Ungodly companions: “Be not deceived: Evil companions corrupt good manners—I Cor. 15:33.” For our close friends we must choose those who love Christ and who will help us Godward. Bad apples will quickly spoil a good apple.
Repeated violations of conscience: Every time we step on our conscience its voice becomes weaker. If we keep this up we will wreck our life. “Holding faith and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck—I Tim. 1:19.”
Unconfessed and unforsaken sin. Whether it be a ‘big’ or a ‘little’ sin in our eyes, time will not heal it. Like a splinter in the finger it will fester until removed. There can be no joy in reading God’s Word, no assurance in prayer, and no pleasure in going to the House of God, as long as any known sin is unconfessed and not forsaken. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy—Prov. 28:13.”
Harboring Resentment: Allowing resentment to rankle in our heart, perhaps against a fellow Christian, because of some real or fancied injury, is a sin we must put away, or else drifting is inevitable. We must forgive sincerely, if we want God to forgive us.
Trying to live on past blessings: It can’t be done. The children of Israel had to gather the manna daily. When they tried to store it, it became wormy. A ‘wormy’ Christian experience will start the drift. We ‘must keep up-to-date in our fellowship with God.
Inactivity: An inactive Christian is a drifting Christian. Activity is necessary for spiritual as swell as for physical health. Standing water becomes stagnant. If the ‘water of life’ in the heart of a Christian is not flowing out to others, it develops ‘wiggletails.’ Some foolishly think they have served Christ long enough, and take a vacation. Spiritual vacations generally prove fatal. A whole lifetime is too short in which to serve the Saviour who gave His all for us. If you are not busy for Christ, get busy, and then keep busy until He comes.
Religious Brousing: ‘Nosing around’ into any of the modern false cults generally results in getting caught in one of these traps of Satan. Stick to the old paths of God’s Word. As a friend used to say, ‘If it’s new, it isn’t true; and it’s true, it isn’t new.” There are a thousand ways to hell, but only one way to heaven—heart surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ, and trusting only in Him who died for our sins and rose again for our justification.
Church Tramps: They tramp around from church to church and are always drifters. They want no responsibility to be anywhere or do anything. Nothing develops and strengthens the soul like regular responsibility. Every Christian, without delay, should unite in fellowship with a church that is true to God’s Word, and help as well as be helped.
“THE LOVE OF MONEY”
The feverish love of money starts many on the toboggan. The insatiable desire to get more and better things is the ruin of many a life. The Lord Jesus warned: “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth—Luke 12:15.” And those who steal the Lord’s Day to make more money, are like the tramp who was given six dollars by a man who had seven. Then the tramp knocked his benefactor down and stole the seventh dollar. Christians who do this will find their Sunday-made money the most expensive they ever earned. Many think they are too tired to go’ to the House of God on the Lord’s Day, but they are seldom too tired to go to work to make money. They put money first and God second. And some yield to the temptation to use questionable means to get gain. It is not money, but the ‘love of money’ (the things money will buy) that “is the root of all evil—I Tim. 6:10.” Beware. Love Christ supremely, and obey His loving will. “Be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee—Heb. 13:5.” Pay the tithe to God. He’ll bless you.
The Love of Pleasure: The world is pleasure-mad. Even many Christians are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God—II Tim. 3:4.” Any kind of pleasure or any amount of pleasure that takes away the keen edge of our relish for spiritual things is harmful.” “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth—I Tim. 5:6.”
We need recreation but not dissipation. And we should not take for recreation the time when we ought to be in the House of God. After being down in the work-a-day world for six days, we need to ‘come up for air’ for our souls on the Lord’s Day. In your heart He will give you “pleasures for evermore—Ps. 16:11.“
Change of Residence: Moving to a new place starts many drifting. People do not hesitate to go to a strange grocery, but they hesitate to go to a strange church. And since no one knows them in the new place, they think it will make no difference if they do not go to church for a while. Having moved away from former obligations, they want to take their time about assuming new ones. This is a subtle snare. Delay is dangerous. If we do not get started attending the House of God at once in the new location, the probability is we never will. And then the loss will be eternal, for ourselves and for our children. Never mind, if a church like our old one is not near. Find one true to God’s Word and go there.
“FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLING”
‘Forsaking the House of God’ is an outstanding cause and proof that a Christian is drifting. They forsake the House of God because they have lost the warmth of their first love for Christ. “Thou hast left thy first love—Rev. 2:1.” And if we do not love Christ enough to obey this simple command about “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” let us not delude ourselves into thinking that we love Him enough to obey Him otherwise. Merely living a decent life, is not living for Christ, but for ourselves. To please Christ we must not only hold certain beliefs, but also obey Him. And He commanded us not to forsake the assembling.
Many say, “I can be just as good a Christian and stay home.” Not So. The one who says that shows they are a lazy, selfish, and disobedient Christian. –if they are a Christian at all. They do not care whether services are held or not. If a father or mother forsakes their family, or if a soldier forsakes his duty, they are guilty. If a Christian forsakes his duty, they are guilty before God. And we forsake the House of God when we could go, but do not. Almost any excuse is good enough to keep many away. An obedient Christian is glad to attend every service he possibly can—Sunday morning, Sunday evening, mid-week prayer meetings, etc. And he rejoices, and grows, and bears fruit.
A crippled old lady who hobbled along on two canes, was asked how she managed to get to church so regularly. She replied, “My heart gets there first, and my old crippled legs follow after.” Many Christians are just the opposite. They have good legs, and even automobiles, but their hearts are crippled. And so they heed not the command of the Lord Jesus Christ about “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some it, but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching—Heb. 10:25.” Christ is coming. Don’t drift. Don’t forsake the assembling. “Thou shalt be missed, because thy seats will be empty. I Sam. 20:18. God knows you need to assemble, and others need the help of your example and encouragement.
DRIFTING OVER THE FALLS
On the Niagara River, above the falls, one January morning the carcass of a sheep was floating along. Down swooped a hungry eagle upon it and began eating. The noise of the falls was faint and there seemed to be no danger. The sound grew louder but the eagle thought there was plenty of time and went on eating. When the crashing roar of the falls became deafening, the eagle thought it was time to fly. But in vain it tugged and screamed, and tried to rise. Its claws had become frozen to the sheep carcass and it could not move. Over the falls to its death went the eagle that waited till too late to stop drifting. My friend, if you are drifting, the falls of eternal disaster are just ahead.
WHY STOP DRIFTING NOW
For the sake of the Son of God, who loves you and give Himself for you, and for the sake of others, and for your own sake, stop drifting now! Drifting ships imperil other ships. Remember, the longer you drift the farther you drift; and the longer you drift, the less inclined you are to want to get back; and the farther you drift the harder it is to get back. It is impossible to recover wasted days and years, and we cannot avoid reaping their bitter harvest. Every day you delay, your heart is getting harder.
If you are saved, confess your drifting to your Saviour, and quit it. Go forward in your Christian life. You must go forward or else you’ll drift backward. We never stand still. Be regular in daily reading God’s Word, assembling with others who love Christ, and in giving and witnessing for Christ.
If you are unsaved, my friend, right now anchor your soul in the Rock of Ages, the Lord Jesus Christ. Open the door of your heart and receive Him as our Lord and Saviour. He will keep you and meet your every need. Praise Him. Live for Him. Do it now!”
Ed: The above article by F.G. Huling was published by Bro. C. A. Nickell. C.A Nickell and his wife were Baptist Mid-Missions [BMM] missionaries for 40 years in Brazil, retiring in 2001. He graduated to Heaven in 2011. The F.D. editor changed the R.V. to the KJB reading.