on my Spring Break, I had drifted far from…

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There I was, down in the blazing hot sun in Florida, out in the Atlantic Ocean during Spring Break. I remember running down from the hotel I was staying at on to the beach and that first plunge in to the water. I can recall how hard it was swimming against the pounding waves and then, waiting and then trying to ride that perfect, body-surfing wave.
Over and over, I would repeat the process of getting out pretty far in to the water, then finding and riding that oncoming wave as far to the shore as I could.
After a while of doing this, I can recall looking up at the buildings that lined the beach and none of them looked familiar. All I can remember seeing was a mass of people as far as I could see, in both directions. However, my hotel, which was my point of orientation was no where in sight.
I was amazed at how powerful the currents were that had drawn me away from my familiar surroundings. At first, I remember a flush of panic wondering how far was I from “home”. Slowly, I gathered my wits and came in to shore, then walked, and walked, until I finally, I reached the point on the beach where my hotel was. Whew!
You know, our spiritual lives are like this as well. If we are not careful, we too, can be drawn away from our “point of orientation and find ourselves far from where we want to be.
In fact, our Loving, Heavenly Father told the Israelites about this very thing in Deuteronomy,chapter 4, verses 15-20. He said, that if they did not diligently keep on their guard, they could be caught up in the powerful currents of idolatry.
Most likely, the temptations would come slowly. Maybe it would start with a conversation with someone who would say something like, “do you think our God is the only god out there? No, that doesn’t make sense, does it, that there could be only one way to God and we are the only ones who know it”.
Then there were probably some that would say, “I believe god is something far greater than mere humans, something like the sun or moon. I mean, just look at the sheer size of them. They must be divine”.
But God says to the Israelites (and to us): So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth. And beware not to lift your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. But the Lord has taken you and brought you of the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as today.
Friends, I understand that few of us will bow down to worship the sun, or the moon, or the stars or some statute of a bird or fish. However, I do believe that all of us can be tempted to be drawn away from our single-minded devotion to God.
I do believe that it is relatively easy to stop “watching ourselves” and to not “be aware” of how we are doing spiritually.
The stakes are too high to not evaluate ourselves often on how our relationship with Almighty God is doing. His ways are too wise and His motives toward us are too loving to find ourselves carelessly having drifted away from them to find ourselves “far from home”.
Like the Prodigal son in Luke 15, if you are there, “come to your senses”, re-orient yourself towards the things you know to be true. Its time to come home.
and for all of us, be careful, watch yourselves closely that you never lose sight of your God and your love and obedience for Him.

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