Jude 1.13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.(KJV)  wild ocean waves leaving nothing on the beach but the foam of their shame; Lost stars in outer space on their way to the black hole. (MSG)

All backsliding eventually progresses to missing church. All. It progresses to missing church and telling the pastor what you will do, you inform him. You do not seek permission, you tell him what you are doing. You would never do that to your employer. You become comfortable informing the spiritual leader in your life what you are doing. 

Then it progresses to missing and not telling the pastor. In my opinion, at that point you have become your own priest. You make your own decisions. The spiritual leadership fades from your life. You are and have become, the spiritual leader of your own life. You do not have spiritual oversight from another. 

It may take time, but people rarely recover once they have started down this path of pastoring themselves. I am not sure I have ever had one person recover from this drift and go back to being a loyal committed sheep in the flock. I cannot remember one example of recovery from this path of becoming your own spiritual leader, in my 40 years of preaching. 

I have watched many start down this trail and I have grieved knowing they are slowly, inexorably, beginning a journey they will probably never correct. They slowly drift out to the edge of the church, lose contact with the body of Christ, and some where they simply drift away.  

It is truly one of the saddest things in this life. A person who held eternal life in their grasp, exchanging it for control of their own life. Resisting spiritual leadership and taking over their own life when they were safely in the plan of God. 

It is God’s plan for you to have a spiritual leader in your life. I truly believe if you do not trust your pastor, it would be far better for you to go find someone you trust, than for you to take over your own spiritual authority in your life. 

Once you start down the path of making your own spiritual decisions, not seeking counsel from your spiritual overseer, you will probably never reverse that drift. You will become what Jude called a wandering star, forever drifting away from God, farther and farther and farther.

Thanks for reading today.