The journey away from faith is usually a slow fade into nothing. Very few people wake up and say, “That’s it. I am done with Jesus. I am done with the Church. I am no longer a believer.” Instead, most people take small steps away from the Lord day by day and week by week until one day they look back and say, “I can’t remember the last time I did anything with my faith.”
On my blog, I write numerous articles about how to grow spiritually. I preach dozens of sermons each year on how to maintain and even improve your faith. But what does it look like when someone is taking steps away from God and fading into the darkness of unbelief?
1. The Schedule is Full of Activities that Have Temporary Meaning. The first trick that evil uses to separate us from our beliefs is to fill our lives with events that hold no eternal meaning. When our lives are full of work, children’s activities and our hobbies the things of God quickly slide to the bottom of the list. When you look back on your month or your season and can think of nothing of eternal significance in which you participated, there is a problem.
2. There is a Disconnect from Other Believers. The second trick is to separate us from people who will encourage us on our journey of faith. Many times, the only people we have any more in-depth conversations with are our family and even those come sparingly. Without a community of faith around me, our spiritual life is never questioned or instructed. Alone our lives can drift into a self-seeking pleasure hunt instead of a God-pleasing adventure.
3. You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Learned Anything New About Faith. People with vibrant faith are always seeking to grow if only in small ways. They listen to sermons, read books, are a part of a small group and do a hundred other things to help them mature. Without new information to help form our souls, we grow stagnant and live on memories of what we learned as a child.
4. Anyone Who Questions Your Faith is Seen as Judgmental. Through the years I have noticed that people who are drifting from faith rarely speak to me. In fact, many avoid me like the plague. They know that I might question their behavior and the state of their soul. If they do talk to me, inevitably I am labeled as judgmental and mean. This usually lets them off the hook failures, and it gives them a reason to give up any connection with the Church. They say, “I used to attend there, but the people, especially the pastor, are judgmental.” The truth is that they are far from God and they allow no one to point out the obvious.
5. In Your Mind, You Have Convinced Yourself You Still Believe in Spite of the Evidence. Sure, you no longer attend worship or small group. You even skipped Christmas and Easter religious celebrations to be with family, because you have been so busy. Yes, your Bible is collecting dust while your language has more cuss words than Christian. There is a massive amount of evidence to prove your faith is nonexistent, but in your soul, you believe none of that matters.
Are any of these true in your life? I think we must always be on guard against the forces of evil that seek to destroy. Usually, they whisper in our ear that everything is okay, even when we know the difference. Some of my ministry is helping people grow; another part is warning people of their impending destruction. Where does the road you are taking lead?