In the final stanza of his hymn, Come Thou Fount, Robert Robinson poetically described when many have painfully discovered: “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.”
No wonder Isaiah calls us sheep that have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). No wonder Jesus saw the people around him as “lost sheep” (Matthew 10:6).
The apostle Paul, writing to his young colleague Timothy, highlighted three ways people are prone to wander. See if any of these hit close to home.
We can wander theologically.
“The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk” (1 Timothy 1:5-6).
We can wander intellectually
“Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith” (1 Timothy 6:20-21).
We can wander financially
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:10).
How do we keep from wandering?
Theologically, we stay close to the truth God has revealed in Scriptures “so we do not drift away” (Hebrews 2:1). As we keep to the “ancient paths” (Jeremiah 6:16), we won’t get lost in the theological weeds.
Intellectually, we evaluate all learning in light of the truth of Christ. We do our scholarship in connection to Christ Jesus, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).
Financially, we look to Jesus as our heart’s deepest treasure, of greater worth than the stuff of earth. Thomas Chalmers, a Scottish theologian from the 19th century put it this way: “The only way to dispossess the heart of an old affection is through the expulsive power of a new one . . . it is then that the heart, brought under the mastery of one great, predominate, and supreme affection is delivered from the tyranny of all its former desires and the only way that deliverance is possible.”
Andrew Peterson has a new CD entitled, “Light for the Lost Boy.” This song, written for his son, is wise advice to any who feel they’ve wandered and gotten lost.