A dangerous drift

Published 5:48 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2012

If you’ve ever canoed or rafted or kayaked then you know that steering the boat is a full time job. You don’t just begin steering to go around bends or to avoid visible obstacles in the river. You constantly steer to keep yourself straight and in the current and also from things that are dangerous or that will throw you off course.

There have been many times when I was in conversation or got distracted with the scenery and before I knew it, I was running our raft or canoe into some overhanging limbs along the bank, or even worse, into some dangerous rocks or rapids that I didn’t want to be in.

Here’s what I realized — it didn’t take any effort to get into a mess. As a matter of fact, all it took to flip a raft or a canoe was to become lazy or become unaware of the surroundings. I didn’t have to work at it to get in a bind, slow us down, or even flip us over. I just simply had to stop paying attention and start drifting.

Hebrews 2:1 says, “We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”

Just as I didn’t have to actively try and steer my raft or canoe into a dangerous situation to get in one, the author of Hebrews is telling us something very similar.

That verse is reminding us that the danger is in the drift. And what will happen is we will drift to one side or the other because the world has two main messages for us. They may come in many different packages but they remain in one of two forms, and both of the world’s messages are revealed to us in the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.

One comes in the form of the rebellious younger son and is the message that says we only live once so we must live it up. This message tries to convince us that there are no real consequences of sin, and even if there are, they are completely worth our rebellion. So don’t deny yourself any of the pleasures of this world that you are able to get a hold of.

The other message comes in the form of the loyal, moralistic older brother and often comes packaged as a Sunday sermon, and it is this message of moralism. It is this message that says we need to be very careful with what we do because God is watching us and He has certain standards that need to be met, and if not met, then we will pay. Therefore, remain loyal to moralism and condemn all other behavior and God will be pleased with you.

Oh, and remember, make sure you really condemn all other behavior. Those are the two messages. The first one is the younger son and the second one is the older son in Luke 15.

Both messages are man-made that may try to harness some things from the Bible but never encompass the real message. Both messages are harmful. Both will only lead to disappointment, and both are just waiting and will come as a result of drifting from the Word and from the true message.

When the Bible is not our source for faith and life, we subject ourselves to this dangerous drift.

The true message is that we are all born as the younger, rebellious son and because of that we are guilty and lost and all the moralism in the world can never save us or excuse us.

The true message is also the one that tells us that Jesus Christ, the faithful Son, came to pay our price and bring us, the rebellious ones, to the Father.

When there is no escape, He rescues us. This is the true message, and the only message that fixes our grave and eternal problem.

We need this message and our hope comes when we put our saving faith in the Son and His message.

 -Jake McCall is pastor of Grace Fellowship in Clanton.