IT'S A SLOW FADE
"Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do." - Psalm 1:1-3
One of the groups that Connections Community Church desires to love and minister to are those who have drifted away from church. I can't tell you how many people who have contacted us who was once a part of a church body, but for one reason or another left the church. My heart breaks for those who have detached themselves from a church body. Yes, many of them are still Christians, but often times people leave church and their joy and passion begins to fade.The above passage in the Book of Psalm paints an incredible picture of reality. It is a picture that describes a Christian who is rooted deep in the Word of God. Vibrant and alive! But this verse also paints another picture, one that is not so pretty and all to often common to many Christians, myself included. "...do not follow the advice of the wicked…"
It is so easy to be away from Godly teaching and the Word and slowly begin to fade into society, accepting things that you used to never consider. Someone who follows the advice the wicked is an individual who continually exposes him/herself to the power of sinful suggestions. They seek out the counsel in wicked things. Meaning, they spends time taking in things that are sinful; through what they watch, what they listen to, and even where they go on the Internet. This person is flirting with temptation, especially the temptation to let go of their time with God in order to take time to do something else.
"...stand around with sinners..."
This has nothing to do with avoiding those who do not believe. It has everything to do with those who do not believe not knowing how to tell the difference between you as a Christian and others like themselves. He is a Christian who is not easily identified among a crowd of those who do not know God. "Standing around with sinners” was related to people who did not know God and were turned away from Him because of the confusion brought about by those who call themselves Christians. You might say a "Christians who stands like sinners" and is beginning to retreat into the darkness with his sins rather than living in the light and confessing them.
"...join in with mockers…"
Someone who joins in with mockers is an individual who has completely shut down. They have crumbled under the weight of their sins. This is a person who will run from God to hide their sins rather than run to God to expose them. Their mockery in the face of God is their desire to run and hide when God has promised to forgive those who will run to him and confess.
There is a song by Casting Crowns called "Slow Fade". Part of the lyrics says, "People never crumble in a day, it's a slow fade." You see, walking away from God is a slow process for many. It is not like you go to bed one night a Christian and wake up the next morning a non-believer. It is a slow process of small amounts of compromises over and over and over. Not only is it compromising and deciding to give in to sin, but it is also compromising and deciding to ignore God and His Word. It is a slow fade, always a slow fade.
The promise of God’s Word…
I have seen the truth of this passage play out in my own life several times. Usually my compromises begin with not guarding my time with God. My schedule gets full and my time with God each day begins to fade. Other times, someone in the church did or said something that hurt me and I slowly justified it as a way to not be a part of a church body. Very quickly it goes downhill from there until I find myself weighted down with guilt and sitting in the dark.
Over the years though I have learned that in those moments of guilt and darkness, God still offers his hand to me. More than once I have pulled out my Bible and turned to God’s promise of forgiveness, 1 John 1:9, and read it over and over until I came to the point of confessing my sins and asking for God’s forgiveness.
"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." - 1 John 1:9 NLT
God has always been faithful to me and honored His promises. If you have found yourself at the end of a long road of small compromises; if you have crumbled after a slow fade – know that God is faithful to forgive you as you confess your sins to Him. Seek God in his Word and allow him to rebuild all that has crumbled within you.
If you would like for me to pray for you, please let me know. Blessings to you! Todd Inman Pastor