Thursday, July 18, 2013

Spiritual Drift

In his book Prayer Shield, Peter Wagner documents how Satanists gather in different parts of the United States and Canada to pray against Christian leaders. They have identified key pastors and are targeting them for failure and destruction.

Some may find this difficult to believe. A few years ago, a professor from a noted Christian university was flying from Detroit to Boston when he noticed the man beside him praying. After the man had lifted his head and opened his eyes, the Christian professor, who also had been a pastor, leaned over and asked, “Are you a Christian?”

The man seemed shocked and said, “No. I’m not a Christian. I’m a Satanist.”

The professor pushed the issue and asked the man about the nature of his prayers. The man replied, “My specific area is the pastors who live in [a certain part of the United States].” He was on his way to a convention where others like him would join together to pray against God and His people.

Satan understands hierarchy. He knows the importance of leadership. If he can entice the fall of one of God’s servants, he knows the impact will be great.

JC Ryles writes “There is a vast quantity of religion current in the world which is not true, genuine Christianity.  It passes muster; it satisfies sleepy consciences; but it is not good money.  It is not the real thing which was called Christianity eighteen hundred years ago.  There are thousands of men and women who go to churches and chapels every Sunday, and call themselves Christians.  Their names are in the baptismal register.  They are reckoned Christians while they live.  They are married with a Christian marriage-service.  They are buried as Christians when they die.  But you never see any “fight” about their religion!  Of spiritual strife, and exertion, and conflict, and self-denial, and watching, and warring they know literally nothing at all.  Such Christianity may satisfy man, and those who say anything against it may be thought very hard and uncharitable; but it certainly is not the Christianity of the Bible.  It is not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded, and His Apostles preached.  True Christianity is “a fight.”

The true Christian is called to be a soldier, and must behave as such from the day of his conversion to the day of his death, he is not meant to live a life of religious ease, indolence, and security, He must never imagine for a moment that he can sleep and dose along the way to heaven, like one travelling in an easy carriage.  If he takes his standard of Christianity from the children of this world he may be content with such notions, but he will find no countenance for them in the Word of God.  If the Bible is the rule of his faith and practice, he will find his lines laid down very plainly in this matter.  He must “fight.”

Spiritual drifting--the gradual wandering away from God and His will--takes place when a believer ceases to steer toward the Lord. Like an empty boat set loose upon the waters, he or she makes a slow and lazy glide away from good practices like disciplined obedience, regular Bible study, prayer, and assembling with fellow Christians. And there are consequences for casting yourself on uncharted and dangerous waters.

On the contrary, no person drifts to God. People drift downward, out of the will of God into sin, into world system, or into bad habit or into satanic trap. Any move towards God is a deliberate act, a concerted move and a conscious effort. At some point in our walk with God, everyone drifts from God, but most immediately make decisions that will reverse the trend. The prodigal son drifted from his natural father, perhaps out of greediness, or youthful exuberance or inordinate sense of adventure and gradually found himself at the mercy of other people in a foreign land, far way from a caring a father. Then he came to his senses and said, “I will arise and go to my father”. The only way he could return to the father was to act from his own volition. The same is true for all of us. No one can drift so far that he can not be reach by God.

A life adrift is outside of God's will and therefore in sin. The Holy Spirit pricks a believer's conscience to send a message when he is off course, but the drifter is prone to ignore such warnings. If a Christian continually excuses his wandering ways and denies sin, then his conscience gradually numbs. A person who becomes desensitized to wrongdoing has paved the way for more sinful behavior with less guilt. Can you imagine a more dangerous situation?

People drift from God in search of more--more freedom, choices, and pleasure. But since the consequences are a hard heart, a numb conscience, and dead ears, what they end up with is less. The drifting believer sacrifices the victorious life in Christ for an existence devoid of permanent satisfaction.

The principal fight of the Christian is with the world, the flesh, and the devil.  These are his never-dying foes.  These are the three chief enemies against whom he must wage war.

My question today is how are you doing in battle?  Are you in need of reinforcements?  How are you holding up against the fiery darts?

For the purpose of encouraging him to fight such a fight courageously, he calls it good; that is, successful, and therefore not to be shunned; for, if earthly soldiers do not hesitate to fight, when the result is doubtful, and when there is a risk of being killed,  how much more bravely ought we to do battle under the guidance and banner of Christ, when we are certain of victory?

How do we protect ourselves from falling away? On one level, it is God who keeps us. But, according to Hebrews 3:12-14, God uses specific means to help us hold firmly to the end. A community watch is issued to this group of believers. They’re feeling tested, faced with severe trials, set-backs and disappointments—asking: Is it worth it? Can we press on? Where is God?

What do they need? What is God’s provision to protect them from drifting? Consider the two means listed in Hebrews 3:12-13:

“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.”

God allows circumstances to develop around your life to give your faith opportunity to be proven. It is only when we are tested in battle that we become skilled warriors. You can be confident God will allow trials to come your way through situations like an unreasonable boss, a client who refuses to pay, a false assault on your character, or a difficult relationship that requires unconditional love. These battles are sent your way to test what you know in the mind in order that they might become part of your heart.

When life gets tough we discover the mettle of our faith and the reality of God's power in our lives. It is only when we hold strong to our relationship with Christ that He in turn holds strong to us. When we come through trials and difficulties with Christ by our side we will find the spiritual strength we so desperately need.


Dr. Raj Kosaraju (DBS)

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