“Therefore, let the one who thinks he stands watch out that he does not fall…”

This is the warning the Apostle Paul gave the Church at Corinth, after he exhorted them not to follow the example of Israel’s behavior in the wilderness on their way to the promised land. He further affirmed the church:

“Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they indeed craved them.” 1 Corinthians 10:6

Truthfully, we too, on our way towards the promises of God can easily drift. We know that the word drift has multiple usages but, for our edification, lets define it by one of its verb tenses: to be carried slowly by a current.

Before we take a deeper dive, may I say that I am quite vulnerable to this slow drift. Yet, my hope is that through a small examination of King Asa’s life you too would recognize your exposure to the elements that increase our propensity to slowly drift.

In 1 Kings 15:14 it says that, “Asa’s heart was wholly devoted to the Lord all his days.” But what happened to his heart that his reign in Judah would end so dramatically different than how it began? Asa’s heart began all-in with God, and having complete reliance upon Him, then it ended this way as described in 2 Chronicles 16:12:

“In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians.” 

Even in Asa’s physical pain he would not consider returning to complete reliance on the Lord. This is the same Lord who delivered him and gave him victory in battle. The same Lord who allowed him to live undisturbed in the land. The same Lord who gave him rest on every side. The same God who prospered him in all he did. And the same Lord whose presence was always with him.

What would cause such a drift in Asa’s heart?

What would cause such a drift in our hearts? Well, the drift is always slowly pursuing us. But I believe there are still warning signs that alert us today to watch out.

Here are six warning signs that all of us as leaders and influencers within the Body of Christ, no matter our role, must become cognizant of them.

1. THE MISMANAGEMENT OF OUR TIME.

About twenty-one years later, which is after 2 Chronicles 15:10, we can derive that Asa was now able to lead Judah blindfolded. He now had much knowledge and experience under his belt. The danger in this is that our knowledge and experience can begin to out-pace our reliance upon the Lord. Thus Psalm 90:12 advises us to “number our days, that we may present to You (God) a heart of wisdom.” The privilege of time is to accumulate wisdom that forever suggests that the Lord is and will always be our only option on this side of heaven lest we drift.

2. THE MISUSE OF RESOURCES.

Over time it’s normal for us to accumulate resources, either small or great. Nevertheless, our accumulation of personal resources can begin to convince us that we no longer need to consult the Lord as to how to use what’s given to us. We should never trust in our earthly resources, but rather remain in complete reliance and trust upon the Lord. Psalms 20:7 reminds us that, some praise (trust) their chariots and some their horses, but we will praise (trust) the name of the Lord, our God. No matter how much we accumulate on this side of heaven, the Lord will always remain our supplier of all things lest we drift.

3. THE EXPLOITATION OF INFLUENCE.

Our social or ministry positions and authority – even our favor given to us by God  – can easily be exploited by us, at any time. “…Ben-hada listened to King Asa…” The word “listened” means to consent and to obey. Thus, it was a clear leverage of Asa’s position. This is what the Lord says regarding Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in Jeremiah 22:13-17: “Woe to him who builds his house without righteousness, and his upstairs rooms without justice…But your eyes and your heart are intent only upon your own dishonest gain, and on shedding innocent blood, and on practicing oppression and extortion.” Our influence has only been delegated to us by God. We can never forget this nor abuse it lest we drift.

4. THE DECEPTION OF PERMISSIBLE SUCCESS.

When our Sovereign God permits earthly success amid rebellion, it sometimes causes great deception. We can grossly think that it was still by our own might and power. Yet nothing escapes His notice. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 5:45 that He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Thus, if we know we’re living in sin and rebellion against God, and He allows success to still seemingly follow us we must take notice lest we drift.

5. THE DIMINISHING TRUST IN GOD

“…because you relied on the king of Aram and have not relied on the Lord…” Relied here means to lean on and trust in. So, the fact is when our trust in God starts to fade, we’re believing we are self-made and self-sustained. Or when we start seeking out other options, this further confirms our diminishing reliance upon our historically faithful Lord! Thus, the question will always be, who and what are we leaning on and trusting in? We are to only and always trust in the Lord with all our hearts, Proverbs 3:5-6. We must resist leaning upon our own understanding and that of others lest we drift.

6. THE UNCONTROLLABLE EXPRESSION OF ANGER.

Taking matters into our own hands and anger against God’s representatives and His people creates in us an inability to contain our frustrations. We must take ownership of our anger. We cannot destroy people in route to being heard or even respected. We must deal with our anger and frustrations with others respectfully. Romans 12:17-18 challenges us with these words: Never repay evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Amid our anger and even disappointment in others, peace must always be our end lest we drift.

The slow drift, no one is exempt from it. It subtly waits to take us all down. Thus, we must always remain on guard lest we run in vain.

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Lead Pastor of Commitment Community Church, Author of “The Racial and Cultural Divide: Are We Still Prejudiced?” and “Act Like A Man: Woman, Can You Help Me?”, former Executive Sales Manager for Alcoa and Defensive Back for the Philadelphia Eagles of the N.F.L.; Receive weekly video blogs from Cedrick by registering at www.loveallnations.org

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5 Comments

  1. John Nesbitt on January 3, 2024 at 11:25 am

    Excellent, Cedrick! Thank you!!

  2. JJ Meyer on January 18, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Really powerful Cedrick. Thank you for sharing

  3. John Kuvakas on January 18, 2023 at 11:06 am

    Great article. I just read the previous article about getting stuck. I can see that being stuck may be a sign of drifting, a barometer we need to check regularly. Thanks!

  4. Dave Martin on January 18, 2023 at 9:23 am

    So true, Cedric, and “drifting” is so spiritually corrosive. I’ve seen it happen in my own life. Thanks for the gentle warning and corrective. While drifting may take a little longer because it’s subtle, it eventually takes us where we don’t want to be and must not go. Thanks!

  5. James H Barr on January 18, 2023 at 9:05 am

    A number of years ago (2015) a friend of mine recommended a book “Mission Drift” Peter Greer/Chris Horst. The unspoken crisis facing Leaders, Charities and churches. In the book they spoke of many people and organizations that have drifted away from their original core values.

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