This is from John Maxwell: He gave his daughter these guidelines while teaching her to hit a baseball. "Elizabeth, it is your responsibility to swing the bat.
It is my job to hit the bat with the ball when I pitch it." "Elizabeth fearlessly began to swing the bat. She had nothing to lose! Every time she would swing the bat she was a success. The problem - I kept missing the bat with the ball I was throwing. Finally, after many swings and as many misses, Elizabeth threw down the bat, looked at me with disgust and said, `Daddy, you keep missing the bat.'"
Sometimes we treat our walk with God that way, in reverse order! It is the job of the pitcher to only get the ball over the plate; it is the batter’s responsibility to connect his bat with the ball! It is God’s responsibility, which He placed on Himself, to give us opportunities to fellowship with Him and become intimate. It is our responsibility to take advantage of those opportunities and grow in intimacy.
I have found this requires a focused attention to our life and our walk with Him. Before we move on to Judges 18, which is just as strange as the previous chapter, I want to contemplate on how believers can end up in the condition that Israel was in Judges 17. Most believers do not wake up one day and just decide they don’t want to follow God anymore. Sometimes it happens, but not often. So how do we see people that follow God get to the point that we see in Judges 17 where there is no apparent evidence of God in their life?
I believe it is due to a lack of focus on their life and that opens the door for their life to “Drift” away from the Lord. I want to spend the next few Devos examining at what this drifting looks like, what “lack” does it expose in our life and how we can test ourselves to see where we are. Over 35 years ago I spoke at a youth camp where a brother named Kevin Huggins that spoke along with me shared the basic concept and outline of this material. With his permission I took it and added some things, this material has been used by me for all those years and God has touched many through it. I am indebted to the Lord for how He interconnects His people to maximize their abilities, and I am indebted to my brother Kevin who I have not seen in over 3 decades. I pray he is doing well!
Remember, like being in the ocean, drifting is very subtle. In Hawaii we had a man on his honeymoon lay down on a bed inner tube in Waikiki, which is a calm as a pond many times, and he fell asleep. When he awoke he was between 2 – 5 miles out to sea! He drifted without ever awaking, because it happened so slowly. This story has a happy ending; he was rescued, although with very serious sunburn, which did not please his wife on their honeymoon, OUCH!
Physically, drifting can be very dangerous; drifting spiritually can be disastrous! As we look at these conditions of drifting we need to be asking ourselves “where am I?” Taking into consideration that we are all fallen human beings we have to face the fact that we will drift at times…BUT if we catch it early the Holy Spirit will redirect us back into the “current” that leads to intimacy with our Lord!
Hebrews 2:1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.
Ten Conditions of Drifting:
First - Warning #1 Laziness
Spiritual laziness will begin the drifting towards unfruitfulness. Do not confuse this with “resting!” Everyone needs a break and time to reflect, but laziness is when the flesh is in control.
Galatians 6:4–9 Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
When we become lazy in our spirit it exposes a: Lack of Discipline – the flesh never desires to take the difficult road, or that which would inconvenience it.
Test yourself: Do you only do the difficult or inconvenient when forced to, or do you choose to do the difficult, i.e. Memorize Scripture, Read through the Bible, Fast, etc. just to stay in shape?
2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
Second - Warning #2 Boredom
We find ourselves tired of the life we have, because we think there is something better out there. So life becomes a burden and tiresome.
Hebrews 6:9–12 Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.
The society we live in is dominated by busyness. After a while of “doing” we can become bored of it because we want to experience something new. The problem is not “what” we are doing; it is the “way” we are doing it! We do not have “ownership” of what we are doing. This exposes a: Lack of Purpose! When you sense eternal purpose in what you are doing you never get bored!
One more thought: There is nothing wrong with wanting something better than you have right now, that desire may be from God. Remember, the grass may be greener on the other side of the mountain…but the water bill will always be higher!
Test yourself: Are you Proactive in your walk with God? Do you seek from Him on your own to create new ways to grow and serve Christ?
Hebrews 5:11–14 There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.
Where are you? These first two conditions are the first warning signs of Drifting. Examine them and take the tests. In following Devos we will look at the other 8 conditions as we move from Warning to Existing to Danger Zone!