It’s usually a creeping separateness. Nothing particular, nothing major. Just a creeping separateness and before you know it God and church and friends seem all far away.
Separateness from following Jesus is there for each of us, a lurking in the background. We don’t given it credibility until it’s too late. God, church and friends seem all far away, and then ...
... it’s embarrassing to return – they’ll make a fuss, express surprise and possibly delight.
Sometimes, it’s intellectual struggles, but they’re not usually the driver. Sometimes, it’s disappointment with other Christians, let down by someone. Sometimes, it’s disappointment with God, who hasn’t answered prayers. And sometimes, it’s disappointment with the church leaders or preachers – they’re no longer as good as they were, or “I can’t live up to what they say.”
Yes, all those reasons I have seen touch the lives of those who have drifted away, but I don’t think they were the primary drivers of no longer partaking in the church family.
It’s that creeping separateness.
There was the initial enthusiasm. There was the joy in being busy for Christ and serving his people.
Creeping separateness comes when we don’t stoke the fire, don’t remember God’s goodness, don’t recall the importance of time aside with Him.
The church at Ephesus had fallen into a creeping separateness. Jesus in his letter (Rev 2:1-7) says to them, “you have forsaken the love you had at first.”
A creeping separateness had overtaken them, as it can overtake any one of us.
One Christian, who found that creeping separateness taking them further their initial enthusiasm and faith in Jesus, was visited by an older Christian. They sat in front of the log fire in the sitting room. The older one never spoke, but he went to the fire and with a pair of tongs took out a red hot log and placed it on the hearth.
Still in silence, they watched the red hot log lose its glow. The older one then picked it up and placed it back in the fire. In a short time, it began to glow again.
A creeping separateness – when you are out of the fire of God, church and friends, you lose your ‘red hot glow’ – not because you want to. Separateness creates the cooling.
Sometimes, we all need to rediscover our first love.