Read: Hebrews 13:7-19 

On several occasions I have had the opportunity to speak at summer camps, primarily in the Midwest. One of the focal points of many camps is the waterfront. It allows for swimming, fishing, building sandcastles, and…boating. Ahh yes, boating! Early in the camp week the program director will remind the campers that they are allowed to use the boats at the waterfront, but they must be sure to return the vessels to their original moorings----AND the boats must be tied down! Invariably in the middle of the week, one can walk along the shore early in the day, and notice one or two boats floating…drifting…in the middle of the lake. When watercraft is not secured at the dock, it will drift away as far as the wind and waves will take it.

The scenario I described is not unlike what happens to Christians who face growing difficulties in life. Trials can lead to grief; grief can lead to anger; and anger can lead to despair. Then in our despair we begin drifting into thoughts, ideas and concepts that seem harmless at first. But the longer we drift, the more danger we potentially face for our souls. “What are the dangers?” you ask. The list is endless. It can be anything from abandoning Bible study and Christian fellowship to entering into illicit affairs that bring harm to our families and ourselves. The danger is so great that we need to discover what to do to avoid spiritual drift. 

The answer is found in our text. Keep in mind that the writer was addressing the problem of coming to Christ and then losing hope because of marginalization, trials, and persecution. So throughout the letter, the writer encourages his readers to persevere. When we come to Hebrews 13 we encounter a series of exhortations to act in specific ways as believers. In fact, our text has at least six commands. But behind the commands there is a subtle reference to a reality we often overlook. If you look closely, you will see this “reality” in verses 8, 10, 14, and 17. Starting with the unchanging nature of Jesus and ending with leaders giving an account for their ministries, the writer is actually pointing to “eternity.” Better still, he is telling us that spiritual drift will be avoided when we maintain an eternal perspective. 

How do we do that? How do we keep our minds on eternity when life can be so challenging? There are lots of ways, but our passage suggests three steps we can take, obviously in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  1. We must imitate the faith of those leaders who have been faithful to Jesus in the midst of hardship (13:7 & 17). Believe it or not, imitating godly Christians is part of our “eternal maintenance plan.” 
  2. We must boldly identify with Jesus, even if it means hardship, since this life is limited, but the life to come is eternally connected to Jesus our King and High Priest (13:8-15). 
  3. We must also intercede through prayer and good deeds, providing for those that God brings into our sphere of existence (13:16-18). And as we intercede, we are spending less time on the problems of this life and more on the life to come. 
Take some time right now to evaluate your thoughts and actions over the last several weeks. Do you find yourself getting discouraged with life and with the circumstances in which you find yourself? If so, you may be in danger of drifting from the glorious salvation God has so graciously given you. [No, I am not talking about the loss of salvation, but rather the loss of joy and spiritual productivity God wants every believer to experience.] If you see spiritual drifting in your life, then pursue an eternal perspective—imitate, identify, and intercede. Such practices will anchor your soul to the One who loves you and gave Himself for you. These steps will empower you to maintain the mindset that the Spirit uses to enable us to persevere in the faith.

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