“All you must do to drift away is nothing.” – Christine Caine, How Did I Get Here?
You can attempt to remain in one place but without any sort of root, foundation or anchor you’ll find yourself bending, swaying, leaning or gradually shifting. Vulnerability, busyness, laziness, ignorance, and distraction can make you blind to the movement or the influence guiding you away from what you know and where you are supposed to be.
This was apparent to me the other day while I was on a boat with my family. We were planning to anchor so my children could swim in waist-deep water but instead chose to turn off the boat and coast.
In the course of 30 minutes, my kids swam and took turns riding down the boat’s waterslide. They were having the time of their lives and weren’t in any immediate danger. That is, until I looked back and realized how far our boat had travelled. We were a long way from where we began, and my children’s feet could no longer touch the ground. The joy of laughter and summertime fun, along with the protection of the lifejackets worn on able-bodied swimmers, had clouded our judgment and diverted our plan to stay near shore.
Culture is very much like the current of large bodies of water. It can look calm, peaceful, relaxing, thrilling, mysterious and so many other feelings of pleasure and excitement. Water effortlessly entices us with its beauty and appeal. It taps into our natural curiosity and sense of adventure.
Yet, water is also duplicitous. It can be crystal clear or a murky mess. Water can be friendly and fun or ferocious, intense, and dangerous. Large bodies of water are never reliable and are ever-changing. Water is continually affected by the weather surrounding its environment.
Culture is having a very BIG moment right now. Culture has always had a strong, and mostly predominant, influence and presence, but in my thirty-five years as a resident of this planet I feel like its grip has tightened. Its pace has quickened. Its power has strengthened and intensified.
Culture is loud, persuasive, pervasive, and present in all spheres of influence (ex. technology, media, entertainment, education, consumerism, government, etc). Culture likes to sneak around as widely accepted beliefs, thoughts, or opinions. It wears many different faces to disguise its hidden agenda and speak of false truth. I should know. I was once a victim who got swept away and carried offshore by the culture wave of the early 2000s.
When you forget what is good, right, and true (God’s Word) as well as where your home is (Heaven), then it’s easy to buy into the cheap counterfeits the world is selling while forgetting where you come from and who you belong to. It reminds me of Paul’s warning to the Galatians:
“You were doing so well. Who caused you to stop following the truth?It certainly wasn’t the one who chose you. Be careful! “Just a little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise.” I trust in the Lord that you will not believe those different ideas. Someone is trying to confuse you. Whoever it is will be punished.”Galatians 5:7-10 (ERV)
A little goes a long way, whether it’s yeast in dough, bad influences corrupting good behavior, or small waves that innocently pull you away from where you were swimming. Drifting happens when we aren’t anchored to a steady and secure foundation.
Culture is like a current that goes against God’s direction for a holy and righteous life. Its shift is swift and sly. Too often we forget that culture is behind the wheel of the world, navigating the ship towards destruction and away from eternity with God.
Culture doesn’t care about you. It longs for you to be careless. It will tap into your vulnerable spaces to entice you to explore provocative places. It knows your weaknesses as well as your desires. It will try to catch you off-guard and lead you astray, not in one strong push, but over time, and when and how you will least expect it. It wants you to drift, slowly, so you won’t notice how far you’ve gone until you’ve forgotten where you have come from or are too weak or too tired to begin the long, wearisome trek back home.
Be cautious, alert, and aware of your surroundings. There are blind spots everywhere and the most effective ones are those that appear safe, hopeful, or friendly. When in doubt, drop that anchor and give it a good tug to establish its foundation.
“So I tell you, live the way the Spirit leads you. Then you will not do the evil things your sinful self wants. The sinful self wants what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against the sinful self. They are always fighting against each other, so that you don’t do what you really want to do.”Galatians 5:16-18 (ERV)