“People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”–D.A. Carson
This past month led me on a few unexpected trips. From Seattle to Northern Arizona, and a couple stops in between, I spent long hours with friends I don’t often see. Each place held the treasured privilege of hearing what’s really going on in their lives. In the midst of happy updates, we traded the stories you don’t see in Facebook posts and hide nicely behind Instagram filters. Nothing out of the ordinary surfaced, just the reality that life comes with really high highs and really low lows.
“It’s a fight. You have to constantly be working on the relationship if it’s going to make it.” “I’m really tired of trying to figure him out.” “I’m so confused.” “Sex isn’t what it used to be.” “I can’t solve this.” “It’s lonely” “He lost his job.” “I can’t take more rejection.” “If only we talked more.” “Why doesn’t he call?” “She was supposed to be my friend.”
“People do not drift toward holiness. We drift toward compromise… disobedience… superstition…”
After listening to my friends and reflecting on my own choices, I would add that we often drift toward good and important things- jobs, relationships, dreams, experiences and ministry. We drift unknowingly and we turn around to find ourselves living for these other things. We get hurt by them. We stress out over them. We expect them to solve our feelings of discontent, fear, unhappiness, and insecurity. It’s part of being human.
But in the end, we never drift toward Jesus.
It’s a constant battle to remember and believe He is our only shot at joy, peace, and meaning in the first place. It’s a struggle to simply trust Him with these other things. The good news is we can always find our way back to Him. We can have His presence today.
This song and Psalm have both helped me drift in a better direction lately. Hope they do for you, too.
I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
his ears are open to their cries for help.
But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
he will erase their memory from the earth.
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
not one of them is broken!
Calamity will surely overtake the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.