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Living in the Gaps

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.
Hebrews 2:1

If you’ve ever done any kind of boating, kayaking, rafting, or canoeing, you know that when you come ashore you must secure your craft. You must either tie it to a dock or other structure, or else beach it high enough on the shore so that it is secure on land. Why? Well, imagine you come in from canoeing, step onto the dock and just leave the canoe in the water unattended. As you set up camp, build a fire, cook and eat your dinner, you frequently notice your canoe sitting in the water, gently rocking against the dock. You watch the stars for awhile and then go to bed. In the morning, your canoe is nowhere to be seen. What happened? Throughout the night it slowly drifted away. It was unsecured, unattended and left to the mercy of the waves, the tide and the currents.

The Christian life is that way. Unless our lives are lashed to Christ, we may simply drift away. The waves, tides and currents of this broken world are constantly pulling against us. No one drifts away on purpose. No one intends to walk away from God. People don’t usually bolt from God in a moment; it usually happens gradually, over time due to inattention.

We have been challenged to live in the gaps. That is, learning to walk with God between the “events” of the Christian life like prayer, Bible reading, worship and fellowship. We strive to follow the example of Jesus on earth as He constantly walked with His Father, always aware of and living in His presence as He sought to please Him. Jesus was the Supreme Example of living in the gaps.

But the “events” of the Christian life are not unimportant. They are of utmost importance. Studying God’s Word, worshiping with His people, serving others and fellowshipping are all essential if we are to learn to live in the gaps. For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it (Hebrews 2:1). We “hear.” That’s an event like reading the Bible or attending worship. We “pay attention.” That’s living in the gaps—“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).

My question for you is: how long are the gaps in your life between significant spiritual "events"? For some, it may be just hours. One may read their Bible and pray in the morning and then have a significant prayer before lunch. Then, a gap of a few more hours may pass before they meet in their small group. But for another, the gap may be longer. They may worship on Sunday morning and then have a gap of several days before they meet with a group to pray. Still others may have an even greater gap between significant spiritual events. They may worship on any given Sunday, but experience a gap of weeks before they worship again or connect with God in any meaningful way. Do you see my point? Sometimes those gaps get bigger, and the longer the gaps in your life the harder it is to live for, and with, Christ in them. In fact, if you don’t “mind the gap,” that gap soon becomes a chasm! What may happen next is that, just like that canoe that was not secured to the dock, you simply drift away from God and the things of God. When that happens, it is increasingly hard to get back to a life that is connected to Christ and His people.

The answer? “Pay much closer attention to what we have heard.” Paying attention means to listen carefully and obey—that is, live it out in the gaps.

Have you drifted? Is your life unsecured from Christ? Ask God to examine your life and expose any area that might be causing you to drift. When He does reveal it, don’t dismiss it. Instead, be quick to confess and get back on track. Before we can learn to live in the gaps, we must first participate in the events of Scripture, prayer and worship. Then we must ask God to give us a new and continual awareness throughout our day of His presence. When the powerful waves, tides, and currents come—and they will come—we will have an anchor that will keep us from drifting.

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