What do you think of when you hear the word “drifting”?
I imagine that I’m on a boat in the middle of a beautiful lake. The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, and I’m just relaxing and “drifting” wherever the current may take me.
Ahhh…doesn’t that sound soothing?
Of course, it’s also ridiculously dangerous because if you aren’t paying attention while floating along, who knows where the tide will take you?
The reality is that while you are mindlessly allowing the current to carry you, you could run into rocks, tree limbs, other boats, or even go off a cliff. So while “drifting” seems relaxing, it is seriously dangerous.
Even more dangerous than “drifting” in a boat is “drifting” in your spiritual life. Yet, so many Christians choose to do it.
Instead of controlling what comes in and out of their lives and their minds, they choose to just “go with the flow” of society.
They are passive about what comes into their hearts through media, entertainment, and relationships.
Maybe they don’t want to make waves.
Maybe they don’t want to put forth the energy to engage in spiritual warfare constantly.
Perhaps it’s just easier to “go with the flow” of the culture than paddle against the tide.
Whatever the reason, spiritually drifting is dangerous.
Because the enemy of our souls, Satan, wants to take advantage of every opportunity to destroy a believer. As it says in 1 Peter 5:8, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Whether you like it or not, as a believer, you have an enemy. Because Satan hates God and you are a child of God, Satan hates you. He has one goal: to separate you from God and destroy you.
Hence, whether or not you choose to recognize it, the enemy is always on the attack.
And he’s a sneaky dude! His attacks aren’t always evident because he knows that Christians will fight back if he is too obvious.
So he uses “sneak attacks.” Rather than tempting a believer to fall into a sin that obviously violates the Bible, the enemy tempts a believer to make a “small compromise.” To do something that doesn’t seem like “that big of a deal.”
Using arguments like, “Everyone else thinks it’s ok,” “Maybe the Bible doesn’t apply to this time period,” or “It’s really not that big of a deal it’s culturally acceptable,” the enemy tries to convince believers to take a small step away from God’s ways.
The problem is that with each small step of compromise, we dull our conscience just a little.
Every small compromise causes us to be a little less alert—a little less vigilante—-to let our spiritual guard down just a little more until we are in a dangerous situation.
That is the danger of drifting: it happens slowly.
We let our guard down, relax our standards, turn off our minds, ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and “just go with it.” Ever so slowly, before we even notice, we are drifting away from God and into sin. Often, without even realizing it, we find ourselves in a place we never imagined we’d be.
How do we avoid this?
Let’s go back to the beginning of 1 Peter 5:8: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Be alert and of sober mind.
Hebrews 2:1 says it this way: “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”
The opposite of “drifting” is being alert, having a sober mind, paying careful attention.
Specifically, what does this mean?
First, we cannot shut off our minds and just “go with the flow” because our culture's flow is completely against God, Christianity, and the Bible.
Instead, we need to know what the Bible says about every situation and every topic.
The only way to do this is to make a conscious effort to read and study the Bible.
The fact is that almost everything our culture believes is against the Word of God. In an effort to maintain the label of Christianity without going against the culture, progressive Christians are twisting and distorting God’s Word. The only way for Christians to resist deception, stand against the tide, and avoid “drifting” is to be men and women of the Word.
This is absolutely essential.
We must also commit to living by God’s Word. You see, it’s one thing to know what the Bible says—-it’s another thing to obey it.
It is possible to know what the Bible says and still choose to “drift,” believing the lie that “it isn’t that big of a deal.” However, this is a dangerous path.
If we continue to read 1 Peter 5:9, we see a different choice: instead of drifting, choose to resist.
Go against the flow.
Paddle upstream away from sin, away from compromise, toward God’s will, instead of floating downstream with the culture.
“Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
The fact is that the temptation to “drift” is nothing new. It’s been around forever, and it is experienced by believers of all times in all ages. All over the world throughout Christianity, believers have experienced persecution for their choice to live by God’s Word and reject the culture.
How did they do it?
They chose to resist the temptation to sin and compromise.
They stood firm in the faith.
They engaged in the battle and chose to live counter-culturally for God rather than experience the pleasure of sin for a season.
They didn’t drift—they chose to stay anchored to God’s Word and God’s standards.
Today, their testimony is asking us to do the same.
They challenge us to wake up from our rest, avoid the temptation to drift, and wholeheartedly follow Jesus against the tide of culture.
They challenge us to know God’s Word and be committed to obeying it.
They inspire us to stay alert, to have a sober mind, and pay careful attention that we don’t drift into the destructive culture around us. If they can do it, so can we!
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.