Thanks to Geoff Ashley at the Village Church, for publishing this quote from a fantastic little book by D. A. Carson.
One of the most striking evidences of sinful human nature lies in the universal propensity for downward drift. In other words, it takes thought, resolve, energy, and effort to bring about reform. In the grace of God, sometimes human beings display such virtues. But where such virtues are absent, the drift is invariably toward compromise, comfort, indiscipline, sliding disobedience, and decay that advances, sometimes at a crawl and sometimes at a gallop, across generations.
People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated. (Carson, D. A. (1998). For the love of God : A daily companion for discovering the riches of God’s Word. Volume 2 (25). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.)
I am certainly quick to see in my life how relaxation leads to chaos in a hurry. Holiness is not obtained by a downshift in to neutral. Rather, we must “press on in the race that is set before us.”
Certainly we must press on and be ever vigilant. At least that is my prayer for my heart. For today. For this hour. For the next moment.