there is no "standing still" spiritually.
we must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.
“We haven’t read the Bible after dinner together in a really long time,” my nine year old said at the dinner table this week. Ouch. He’s right. Truth is, it’s been a really long time since we’ve consistently eaten together. Mostly, we’ve been passing each other like ships in the night—eating in shifts on our way here and there, eating in the stands during day-long track meets, eating random things at random times and in random places. I used to secretly judge families who didn’t regularly sit down to dinner together. Now we are that family. Shame on me for my lack of compassion and understanding. Boy, do I understand it now. The struggle is this: finding time to be intentional with our kids. And the truth is, we’ve drifted off course. Actually, it feels like we’ve been beaten off course by the overpowering wind and waves of our schedule. Either way, we’re off course, and I long to get back on track.
The imagery in this verse is my life story.
Like a boat on the water, I’m constantly drawn into the currents of this world’s priorities, often drenched by the beating rain of my circumstances, blown about by the winds of culture. And this is what I’ve learned: I must not set down my paddles. All too often, I deceive myself into thinking I’m not in a boat, but rather on a path, able to take a break without losing ground. I believe I can ease off from reading my Bible or praying and still pick up where I left off whenever I decide. But this verse tells us this isn’t an option. There’s no such thing as standing still spiritually. The minute you lay down your paddle, you start drifting off course, because you are in a boat. And the longer you sit there, the further off course you’re gonna get. We know this to be true deep down, don’t we? This is just how it happens. We start to get out of our regular spiritual habits, and at some point we look around and find that we've gone waaaay off course. We’re not at the spot where we left off at all. In fact, we’re really far away.
ON THE PODCASTToday's episode is a very real conversation between Natalie and Vera about how they see drifting in their own lives, spiritual habits they'd like to start, and the danger of looking good on the outside but dying on the inside.
(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
So, what do I do when I’m off course?
Notice I said “when.” This is a regular occurrence in the Christian life, in MY life. So, what to do? Well, it’s the foundational thing we must do as believers: be honest about our drifting. Often I’m not, though. My first response is to deny, minimize, or hide my sin—which only serves to push me further off course. But when I finally admit I’m wrong, when I tell Jesus that I’ve gotten off course, he’s always right there for me. This is the marvel of the gospel, that the Son of God doesn’t meet my repentance with punishment but with forgiveness. He doesn’t push me away, but embraces me and puts me back on the path. This is what the Bible preaches to my soul. And this wondrous good news is precisely what our verse encourages us to “pay the most careful attention to.” God promises us that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Amen and hallelujah!
Let’s not stop there though! Once we’ve acknowledged our drifting and asked Jesus to put us back on course, we can and should be paddling. Or, to put it another way, we can and should participate in our own spiritual well-being. This means prioritizing Jesus. And for me, this looks like establishing good patterns—reading my Bible and praying, spending time with other believers, teaching my children God’s Word and ways. To put some flesh on this, let’s go back to my dinner-time conundrum. Yes, we’ve fallen out of a good pattern, but this doesn’t mean we have to fall out of the practice of reading the Word together. I simply need to get creative since our old pattern of reading after dinner is unrealistic in this season. Maybe instead, I need to meet my kids in shifts. Maybe bedtime is better. I don’t know yet. But I do know this: I WANT it. I want our reality to be shaped by regular time with Jesus. Together. This is how I’m prioritizing Jesus right now. What about you?
WHERE HAVE YOU DRIFTED OFF?
WHAT IS ONE STEP YOU CAN TAKE TO BEGIN ESTABLISHING A GOOD PATTERN?
Thanks for reading,
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Hi there, I'm Natalie. I'm so glad you're here. I'd love to connect with you and hear more about what God is doing in your life!
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