Christians never quit God in a single day. Oh, some give up the faith suddenly at times because of a great tragedy in their lives but these are the exceptions. No, the way that most Christians lose their faith is through "drifting".
Drifting is a slow removal of ourselves from the influence of God and His people. It is slow because drifting away from God does not usually set off the alarm bells that a sudden faith crisis might do. Drifting is a way to abandon our faith that will not make us feel too guilty.
You can recognize those who are drifting away rather easily. They are the ones who are replacing their spiritual priorities with worldly ones. For example: being with the church slowly becomes secondary to pursuing worldly activities and people; devotional time with God in prayer and Bible reading is slowly replaced by other more "urgent" things; serving others is relegated to times when there is nothing else to do. The saddest reality in all of this is that since our demise in Christ is ever so slow, it is not usually noticed until it is too late.
The sin that lies behind drifting is dishonesty. We refuse to be honest in acknowledging that the pull of the world and what John refers to as the, "lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions" (I John 2:16), is what is beginning to drive us rather than the search for God's kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
Drifting can be reversed but it requires a brutally frank assessment of the direction of our spiritual lives as well as the courage to come to God on His terms, not ours. That is why remaining faithful requires a daily commitment to keeping the Lord and His church a priority, lest we drift away.
- Describe the time in your life when you were the most faithful to God and the church. How was this different than now?
- As far as your experience is concerned, what causes a decrease in faith? An increase?
- Why do you think God allows us to experience long periods of spiritual dryness?
- What is the best medicine for a tired faith?
- Will the very zealous and the mediocre disciples receive the same reward? Why?