Andy Davis preached a great message today at Chapel today on Hebrews 2:1-4. He spoke about how the author of Hebrews exhorted the recipients of the letter to not fall away from the Faith. This made me think of the various reasons why we fall away.
First of all falling away from the Faith is almost always a gradual decline. It is the begetting of habits. We wake up one day and we find that even the coals are dying out from what once was a fire burning brightly. Most of the time this falling away is not an outright abandonment of the Faith but rather a complacency to things eternal. Here are four things (though not exhaustive) of why we fall away.
Comfort: I think this plagues affluent societies more than anything. The false idea of security will enslave Christians, keeping them from risking everything temporal for the eternal. We are not home yet for our citizenship is in heaven. Comfort fools us into believing that we were made for this world and not the next.
Cynicism: People can become very cynical to the point that everything is criticized under the Sun. There is nothing but negativity. But the truth be told, Cynicism leads to Bitterness and Bitterness leads to Disenchantment. We must learn to love the Church as Christ loves it. He loved it to the end, with all its blemishes yet always expecting her to be Holy. His love makes lovable the unlovable. We should fight to do the same.
Idolatry: Chasing after anything other than the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness will lead us into places where we worship the creation and not the Creator. There is not a quicker way to fall away than Idolatry. Man was made to Worship God and God alone. It is only in this do we find fulfillment. But we must guard against lesser loves.
Apathy: People just stop caring. This is the saddest thing to see this become a professed believer. It is as if they have been blinded to the reality of Heaven and Hell. Part of this is laziness and just plain boredom. What is boring about living a life that is dedicated to the Eternal? Christians must live radically different lives to show that there is more at stake and that eternal Souls depend upon the love of God and the love of the Church.
That is just to name a few. I am sure there are more. What was discouraging was in that list I didn’t put suffering in thinking of life here in the States. This was the real reason why the author of Hebrews wrote his letter. People were falling away because of persecution. This is far from the case in the United States. Far from the case in my own life.
In the New Testament the writers wrote with the conviction that Suffering for Christ was a given. And people chose to suffer because following Christ was better. I want this badly. If Christians were bolder then we would experience suffering, I am sure. Not bolder about politics, or about an institution, but about the pure, beautiful, freeing Gospel of Christ.
All that to say, we must live for something beyond ourselves and endure until the end. There will always be rivals to our affections for Christ whether it be comfort, cynicism, idolatry, apathy, or persecution. We must love. Love God and love our neighbor. If we do not love, and love well, then we most certainly will fall away.