"Do you mortify? Do you make it your daily work? Be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you." John Owen
This great quote relates to the potential for daily drift. It is so easy to slip into old habits, old ways of thought. The grooves wrought of unregenerate, sin-led thinking are still there . . . and it is almost something like this: It is as if, through daily mortification, prayer, repentance, genuine communion in and with the Holy Spirit . . . you are able to hover in the air . . . above a moving, coursing stream below. You are aloft, "above it all" . . . untouched by the ways of earth and, in this case, scurrying waters beneath you. The longer you float, the more you find you are in rarified air--in what seems like veritable celestial air of a different kind and quality than that of the heat and gravity and stench below. It is like you are actually translating almost into a whole different dimension, where angels and Spirit traverse. . . .
If you grow weary or distracted . . . and cease daily mortification--if you relax and quit maintaining effort, forget your task . . . then before you know it, you have sunk back down and hit the running stream. Perhaps it is not moving so fast at the point you dropped into it, and its temperature is not too different from your previous rarified air.
But it is nevertheless moving. Gradually it flows . . . and wends its way . . . down, down toward the sea of nescience, headed for the ocean of tossing waves, storms, danger, darkness and chaos. But for now, you are just drifting along the brook, no big changes, no shocking problems . . . drifting along
floating with the current . . . away, away from where you had once celestially floated "above it all", untouched.
Days go by, and suddenly you realize that you don't recognize the scenery. The surroundings have become strange and dark. Shadowy figures lurk in the brush and follow.
Well, actually you do recall this threatening landscape, and it is with deepening foreboding that you do, for you remember now that this is a place that you once held you in, entrapped and you fought so hard to get away from, striving upstream as you had . . . but now here you are again! You are in a bog, a morass. No way you could quickly maneuver to float again "above it all". Now you've got muck on you, your legs are snagged, tangled in undergrowth. And, having been here before, you know that the whole course of the bog is ever flowing downward . . . to the torrential sea where chaos reigns and there is real terror at not being able to escape at all!
Oh, what have you done in your laziness! In your complacency! Drifted away to wretched old haunts!
Now you must fight, struggle again to get free--get away from the pulling, entangling danger, back to that sweet place of airy flight and regenerating distance!
Which you will. But time and effort you have lost and put yourself in trouble yet again, and it feels as if you have tempted fate maybe one too many times.
Get up and away! Stay away! Make your escape good this time! Return no more to the drifting, to the bog, to the dangers of the raging waters and storms and darkness!