I don’t spend a lot of time on boats, but whenever I do, I am always a little bit amazed at the power of the current in the water. It’s one of those forces that’s always there, no matter how still and pristine a body of water might seem, still churning and moving below the surface.
Imagine with me that you go out on a boat on one of those clear, warm early summer days. The clouds are minimal, and the wind is even less, so you cruise out to the middle of the lake on what seems like a sheet of glass. You can shut down the motor of the boat right in the middle with the intent of letting the kids swim for a while. And, for the next hour or so you throw each other off the boat, practice cannonballs, and have a snack. But then, inevitably, you have to restart and reposition the boat, because even though you turned off the motor in the middle, you look up and notice that you are closer to one side of shore than you were an hour before.
Why? It’s because you’ve drifted. You didn’t mean to move; you had no intention of changing your position. You just stopped fighting the current; you stopped paying attention. Because there are constant currents, you are always moving—whether you recognize it or not. When you’re out on the lake, unless you choose to take an active effort against doing so, you are going to drift.
That’s actually true in all areas of life. Drifting is bound to happen without intentionality:
- You might mean to cut down on your spending this year, but without intentionality, you are going to drift from that vision.
- You might want to eat less sugar this year, but unless you pay attention, you will drift from your goals.
- You might intend to read more and watch TV less, but unless you take active measures to do so, you will drift.
When you do nothing, you drift, and you drift despite all the good intentions, grandiose claims, and resolute statements. You are always going to drift. And you know what else? No one drifts toward Jesus.
No one ever did nothing and woke up closer to Jesus the next day than they were before. We drift away from him, not toward. If we want to move toward Jesus, it’s going to take an active stance against the current that’s always moving us further and further out.
That’s why the writer of Hebrews tells us to do something very simple and yet very profound at the same time: “We must pay attention all the more to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away” (Heb. 2:1). Pay attention, because if you’re not paying active attention, you are going to drift. And if you drift, it’s always going to be away from Jesus, not toward him. These men in John 1 made an intentional choice of focus. Even though they didn’t know what they were looking for precisely, they chose to go and be with him.
The simplicity of abiding in Christ isn’t going to happen by accident. Today, like every day, we will have to bring some intentionality to our Christian walk. We aren’t going to stumble into abiding; we’ve got to make the intentional choice to meet Jesus where he is. We’ve got to open the Bible. We’ve got to pray. We’ve got to reflect. And in each case, and on each day, we’ve got to choose to do it over and over again. As life becomes more and more complex, we must make intentional choices about where we want to focus ourselves. If we do nothing at all, our natural course is to drift further from Jesus rather than toward him.
Excerpted with permission from Growing Down by Michael Kelley. Copyright 2018, B&H Publishing Group.