After becoming a Christian, there’s a temptation to drift. To drift from what you once believed to be the truth. To drift from what once quelled your fears and gave you hope.
The longer you’ve been a Christian, the more you want to learn. That’s natural and healthy. But it means you have to be very careful about who or what you’re learning from. There are many people out there that want to teach you something, but not all of them come bearing the truth.
Some people come telling you that Jesus is the American Dream and you can have all the money and stuff you want if you just ask him for it. Others come telling you that if you follow Jesus it means you have to follow their rules too (which are conspicuously not in the Bible).
The danger is in believing those things. Because once you do that, you begin to turn slowly and slightly from the Truth. Little by little, you begin to trade the grace of the Cross for the rules of man.
You begin to drift.
The temptation comes when the drift feels like learning. Christians love to learn, and like I said that’s healthy.
But Christians are human, and humans love to think they have a monopoly on knowledge and that they know something other people don’t. So when they hear a “fresh” take on the Bible that seems to put something in a new light to them, they latch onto it and begin to absorb that teaching as their own. “I bet no one’s heard it put this way before…Let me tell my friends about this. They’ll be so impressed with my new take…”
And all of a sudden, when another Christian comes bearing the actual truth, you turn your back because it’s not what you think you know about the truth, even though you’re basing thoughts on man-made claims, not Scriptural teaching.
Paul warns the Galatians of this very thing.
8 Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. 9 So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? 10 You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. 11 I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing. 12 Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles—free from those laws. (Galatians 4:8-12)
Why do we want to go back? That’s the real question.
Because we find it hard to live in the freedom God has created for us. We like having rules to follow, people to obey, and boxes to check.
Paul longs for the Galatians of old when he cries out,
15 Where is that joyful and grateful spirit you felt then? I am sure you would have taken out your own eyes and given them to me if it had been possible. 16 Have I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth? (Galatians 4:15-16)
It is a worth-while journey to search our hearts for the fire that was first ignited by Christ. That moment when it all made sense and the full weight of grace came crashing down, like a tidal wave flooding the streets of our souls. The shortness of breath. The why me.
It was easier then. We lived in the freedom of Christ’s forgiveness and relished in its favor.
Trading that in for the cheap tricks of this world just isn’t worth it.