The Gradual Slope to Hell

C. S. Lewis quote  the safest road to hell is the gradual oneLewis understood that most of us do not rush head first off the cliff into apostasy or ruinous unbelief.

Most of us do not go from upright citizen and supporter of our country to an act of traitorous betrayal.

There are very few who take the dramatic step from devoted spouse to flagrant and flippant adulterer.

Most of us do not go from worshippers to idolaters in the course of a week. It is so rare it is stunning when a white hot devotion becomes outright denial.

Occasionally it may happen, but rarely it will happen. I have seen this occur. It was troubling when I saw it. Almost instant and inexplicable switching of positions. From faith to anger. From love to hardness. From trust to full blown refusal to listen, to remember, to engage.

Yes, it does happen, but oh so rarely...

HOWEVER . . . 

a gentle slope,
a soft underfoot,
no sudden turning,
not obvious milestones,
no telling signposts...

that happens constantly. In fact, it is happening right now, even to some who read this post.

Slow drifting away from what was once held dear.

One step at a time moving away from the faith delivered to the saints.

Slipping quietly into troubling questions and sneaking into the realm of doubt. You are almost surprised when you realize it has happened.

Lukewarm is so easy, so natural, so automatic. Jesus said he preferred us cold over lukewarm, because cold is a dire condition that compels action. While lukewarm is spiritual torpor, lethargy, listlessness that has no energy or inclination to act.

The devil is patient. He does not need us all at once. He will take us in steps, stages, degrees... one bite at a time is how you eat the elephant.

One step at a time is how you do the journey of 1000 miles, whether it is the Road to Zion or the Way to Perdition.

I have a friend, well now I suppose I must refer to him as an acquaintance, who has slowly, year fading into the next, steadily and quietly walked away from all he once held dear. From hot to lukewarm. Now, lukewarm seems some time back. Disconnected from church, from friends and from God. Just not that interested anymore. Not full blown rejection. No, the more dangerous disinterest.

How about our own hearts?
Is there slow slippage?
Is there a gradually growing discinclination?

If there is, you won't notice it, there will be no striking milestones or signposts announcing to you that you are falling away. It will just "happen over time."

For many, faith ends the way some think the world will end. Not with a bang, but rather a whimper.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International