Drift: A continuous slow movement, to be carried slowly, from one place to another
Attrition: the process of gradually reducing the strength or effectiveness through sustained attack or pressure.
One of the greatest tools the enemy has at his disposal is simply drift, which leads to attrition. Remember that this trickster is also incredibly patient and has no issues with memory. Let me tell ya…he’s been here a while! He knows a thing or two. He has studied you and knows your actions and REactions. He knows the laws of spiritual physics…we must be moving forward or we are moving backward. In your Christian walk there is no such thing as stagnant! You are either gaining ground or losing it. If Satan can convince you that coasting is a viable status, then he’s got you…it’s only a matter of time.
The enemy would love to just simply knock you off your spiritual course, but for many that’s just simply much too obvious. Like I said…he’s patient! He’s okay with waiting if that’s his only recourse. Church family events move from multiple times per week to weekly, then a few a month, then a few per quarter, until finally you settle into a pattern, accepting minimal interaction as acceptable or even best. How about your prayer life? When it moves from daily to weekly to something that sounds good in theory but we only access during times of extreme crisis! You know, all to well, how this goes. All satan has to do is make you think that you have hit the pause button on your faith walk…maybe it’s just a busy season! Then, he melts your backward spiral into a backward creep you can hardly feel and in so doing, convince you that you’re sitting still. It’s no big deal, you think. Actually, IT’S EVERYTHING!
This is the proverbial slow boil! You know the old illustration… if you throw a frog into boiling water, he will jump right out. However, if you put him in the pot at room temperature water, he will stay. Then as the temperature is incrementally increased, the frog remains in the water. Eventually, the frog is unable to jump out, overheats, and dies (boiling doesn’t have to be reached). Satan considers you a frog and he’s trying to turn up the degrees on your burner. JUMP OUT!
This kind of drift, especially if it has been years, can be far-reaching, impacting all the varied facets of your life, creating an awkward, unclear connection. The status quo becomes familiar, comforting. Even our family, while hating the drift, can be so accustomed to this less-than-quality behavior or status that they balk at the changes you might attempt trying to reverse course and regain your faith action… or at least you imagine they will!
For years I had been a creature of prayer. I fasted once a week, designed prayer closets in whichever of the multitude of homes we lived in, created my own devotional book…I was a prayer warrior! Then, through a series of difficult circumstances…drift occurred. I withdrew from corporate prayer and my family even became unaccustomed to seeing me have devotions or any kind of specific prayer time. When I began to revive my prayer life, it felt awkward…almost like I was trying to fool someone into thinking I was a prayer champion. I got some strange looks from my family, which were probably just looks of curiosity, but my mind turned them into small judgments. The enemy LOVES to do this! So I had been a prayer warrior for the majority of my life, experienced several years of prayer drought, and upon returning to prayer, I STILL FELT UNCOMFORTABLE AT TIMES!
As you begin to reverse drift, give yourself, and those around you, time to adjust to the new changes…or probably better said…the resurrection of previous, desired thoughts and behaviors! You will most likely be uncertain how to change this when you realize the damage that this drift has caused. Sometimes there are even reasons for this attrition which are beyond our control in part or in whole, such as an illness. The answer is always the same. The consistent answer to any of our faith questions… connection to Jesus!
This connection is EVERYTHING. I’m guessing you already know this. There is a reason you keep hearing this theme throughout your Christian walk. IT’S TRUE! And…it drives through the center of our being to the core! In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers talks about the process of God revealing truth about our individual personhood. He states that this is a painful, but trusted, necessity of any person’s faith-walk. There is no hurt as troubling and magnificent as that which comes from our Heavenly Father. God’s ultimate goal within us is NOT our Happiness…it is our Holiness!
The profound truth of this matter is that when we achieve holiness, our happiness becomes wholly accessible. Without true holiness, our happiness is but a thin veneer covering over weakness, sin, and shame. It is fleeting, only allowing us its experience in weak micro doses, always waning, leaving us wanting more and pulling us toward anything that will bring its momentary presence!! Instead of this surface happiness, what we truly crave and are designed for is holiness, which results in joy and happiness at incomprehensible depths.
How do we attain this depth? Stop the drift! It is this connection with Jesus, which allows for our personhood, as Chambers calls it, to be challenged and shaped into what we truly desire. We cannot become close to Jesus by moving away from Him. Even if our movement toward Him is slow, it is still progress and eventually leads to incredible intensity of relationship. Out of this then, comes holiness AND true, lasting happiness.
This doesn’t require great scholarly insights and spending your days lying prostrate before God. This demands of us simple communing with the Father, with Jehovah Raah, a Hebrew name David used in Psalm 23 to describe God as, “The Lord, My Shepherd.” A shepherd knows his flock and they know him. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.” John 10:27
In Orientalisms in Bible Lands, E.W. Rice, informs us that even in current times, documented reports reveal that if a shepherd is disguised and hidden, when he speaks, his sheep will “run at once to his call” and ignore other shepherds in familiar dress calling them in a louder voice. This occurs through weathering long days and nights together in simple existence, crisis or not. Doing this with your Heavenly Father is to simply have a prayer-time somewhere in your day, read a devotional, TALK to Him as you go about life. Consider Him, comment on His creation, join Him in laughter when life is humorous, yell out to Him when you’re frustrated, cry with Him when you’re in despair. He is here for every moment from the deep and dark valleys to the mountaintop experiences and even what seems trivial in-between. Engaging with Him in this way halts drift.
As He prompts your heart and mind, you can add to your time in prayer or devotions and maybe, yes, you end up prostrate on the floor before Him. As all of this occurs, He impresses changes, in which you feel compelled, as if you’re drinking ice-cold water on the hottest day of the year! Instead of feeling your time with Him is obligatory, you experience these encounters as a nourishing blessing, satiating the drought of your innermost being! If you maintain this simple presence and availability to Him you will absolutely…stop the drift!