I love to Kayak. There’s something about the peacefulness of being out on the water and the sounds of nature. I have noticed though that, whether it’s a lake or a river, there is no such thing as sitting still. If you aren’t paddling you will eventually drift somewhere. Sometimes I just relax with my eyes closed and let the kayak drift where the wind and water wants. However, that’s not a wise way to approach your faith.
Why do I bring this up? Well, it’s a personal life observation as well as a general observation that without a solid connection to Jesus Christians tend to drift anywhere the wind takes them. People don’t tend to walk away from church or their faith overnight. It’s usually a process of eye’s-closed drifting. Respected author and theologian C.S. Lewis puts it this way, “As a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?”
So the question is “why?”. Why would people drift away from Jesus? Whatever the reason, it’s happening. Many young people who grew up in the church and have once professed their faith in Jesus have since given up on Church. The irony is though that some of them will say they still believe in Jesus they just don’t like church or agree with the whole Bible. You can’t follow Jesus and neglect the church or God’s Holy word. Jesus both confirmed the power of scripture and conveyed His deep love for the church. After all, Jesus died for the church not just Christians. It’s impossible to separate Christian from Church. A Christian is to the church as appendages are to your body.
Paul, a first century Pastor and advocate of Jesus, explained it this way; “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free…” If you are a follower of Jesus you are a “Jesus body part” whether you act like it or not. Some body parts, Christians, refuse to function and cause the whole body, the Church, to limp around. No wonder people become fed up with churches. But who’s the real culprit? So, yes perhaps people walk away from Christianity because they want to disconnect from Church.
But some have given up all together on Jesus. Why would anyone give up on the author of life? Sure, bad things happen and God gets blamed. Their view of God shifts from loving to loathing and they want to seek answers somewhere else. It’s always easier to blame God than to trust Him, isn’t it? I dare not try and satisfy your frustrations with God if that is where you are at – rather I’ll direct you to someone who has already answered this question, a man named Peter. Peter met Jesus, walked with Him, ate with Him and also denied Him. But amidst Peters personal struggle and his unbelief he knew when to state the obvious. After one of Jesus’s teachings hundreds of people turned and drifted away so Jesus turned to Peter and his friends and asked, “What about you, will you leave me too?” Peter’s response address the heart of the matter, “To whom else would we go Jesus? You have the words of eternal life.”
Peter had heard enough from Jesus to know that only He had eternal life. Only Jesus could remedy the brokenness, confusion, pain, and death of this world. Only Jesus could back up His claims and make good on His promises. Paul writes a letter years later to the early Christians and challenges them with this, “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.” What truth did you hear about Jesus? Truth doesn’t change. God doesn’t change. Jesus hasn’t changed. If He was once your Savior, He still is. If He worked in your life in the past He will work in your present and future for your own good.
Maybe you are tempted to drift away because you’re either looking for something better or you’re tired of what you’ve got. But I want you to stop and ask yourself this question when you think about giving up on Jesus and your faith. Before you give up on God and the Church ask yourself:
To who else would I go?
You won’t find what your really looking for anywhere else. You won’t find life anywhere else. Open your eyes and fix them on Jesus. Pick up the paddle of your life and row it closer to Jesus. Stay connected to your Church and your faith and trust God for the results. Trust that God will come through in the end. Don’t let anything drag you away from a full life in Jesus.