When we lived in Pennsylvania we had an inground swimming pool. One summer the vinyl liner began to leak due to a small pin-sized hole. At first, the leak was small and undetectable. Soon we were losing enough water that we knew there was a leak. We put a patch over the hole and for a number of months the leak was minimal. Slowly the hole in the liner grew bigger and bigger until eventually the pool lost almost all of its 28,000 gallons of water. The following spring we had to replace the entire liner. What started as a small hole slowly grew to become a bigger hole, and finally, a hole too big to fix.
That pool liner leak often describes our lives. We begin to neglect “little” things, or we find ourselves in “little” sins, and over time if we do not make changes to those attitudes or actions, they become “big” things, and we wonder what happened. (By the way, God does not categorize sins as being big or little. To God, a sin is a sin. It is only us humans who often try to lessen the guilt by calling a particular sin or bad behavior “little.” You’ve heard the line, or maybe even said it yourself – “At least I didn’t do that!”)
What we are referring to can be called “drift.” It is that slow migration from good into not so good, little by little, often without really noticing, until the pin-sized leak becomes a gaping hole. We drift in many areas of our lives, and we rarely, if ever, drift in a positive way. We naturally drift away from everything holy and everything wholesome. Think about your health, your relationships, your finances – without intentional and committed effort they tend to simply drift, a slow erosion, into something less than what they could be. And how about your relationship with God? That, too, drifts in a negative direction unless you purposely strive to become more like Him.
The Bible gives us the prescription to avoid drift. Here is what we read in Hebrews 3:12-13 – “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
The way to avoid drift is found in being in community with others. It is found in “we” not in “me.” We need to be checking in with each other and checking on each other. Why? The drift starts in our heart. And nobody knows, unless somebody has access to you. The Greek word used here for encourage is not just rah, rah, rah; it means exhort, plead, urge, appeal to. And the word daily literally means day after day after day. It’s an ongoing thing. It’s a relational thing.
So we ask you today, are you flying solo or are you in healthy and loving community with others? Do you have others who can see your pin-sized hole before it becomes so big that your liner has to be replaced?
New Bern, North Carolina