When most people hear the word “stray,” the first thing that comes to mind is an animal that doesn’t have a home. The animal wanders the streets, searching for food, shelter, and other survival essentials. The same could be said for people who stray away from God. They go out into the world, thinking that they can care for themselves when really, they’re running away from God. People have different reasons for straying away from God.

Perhaps they feel that getting too close to Him is dangerous, or He might ask them questions that they don’t want to answer. God may also ask them to give up relationships, habits, and possessions that aren’t right in His sight. Many people begin to drift away from God because they have sins in their lives that cause them to feel guilt when they show up at church. They may also feel reluctant to pray or read their Bible when they know they have these issues in their lives. Whatever the reason is, if we do stray from God, He'll always take us back. Here are a few reasons why people stray from God.

We think we know best.

When we trust our feelings instead of God’s promises, we wander away from His best.  Living through the daily grind, we learn to navigate life with rushed decisions and hasty emotions that quickly put us off of God’s path. When we take our eyes off the Lord, we are silently saying that we, in our power, are fully capable of plotting our course and finding our way in this world.  Proud and haughty, we dismiss God’s power and place our selfish hearts back onto the throne of control.

We take God’s grace for granted.

Have you found yourself complacent and restless in your faith during the seasons of your life? If so, you wouldn’t be the first, and you won’t be the last. When we “play church” or go through the motions of Christianity, our eyes become unfocused, and our senses dull to the miracle of God’s grace. How easy it is to forget Jesus’ sacrifice and life-changing atonement at the cross when our eyes and hearts aren’t fixed on Him. Getting comfortable in our salvation causes a restless stirring deep in our soul, and suddenly, we find ourselves aimlessly wandering away from the Lord’s best.

We are afraid.

When the storms of life surround us, if we are not rooted and planted in faith, we can be quickly blown off of God’s course and cling to the allusion that our fear is more significant than our almighty Father. Being blinded by fear causes us to doubt God’s power and capability to step in and make way for our situation. Sometimes God’s best includes taking a leap of faith, but if we’re paralyzed by fear, we may miss an opportunity God has for us because we’re afraid to take a chance.

We get distracted.

Just as a child is quick to chase after a flitting butterfly, Christians get distracted in this busy and rushed life. Distracted by responsibilities, obligations, and life demands, living without our eyes focused solely on the Lord can keep us from experiencing the best that God has planned for us. We must learn to guard our hearts and pray for blinders as we hope to focus solely on God’s face and His perfect plan.

We have to wait.

Waiting can be agonizing if we let our circumstances overshadow God’s truth and become paralyzed by our situations. If we focus instead on God’s faithfulness and wholeheartedly seek His wisdom, waiting can be a time of growth and refinement. It’s a blessing to watch His plan unfold after waiting on Him to move, even when the wait seems long and lonely. We have to learn to bind our wandering hearts to the wisdom and will of the Lord and trust Him with our lives and situations.

When tragedy strikes or situations don’t go as planned, some people quickly blame God and walk away from Him. No matter what the reason is for straying from God or fighting your faith, the beauty of God is He’s an amazing Father. It’s the fact that He continues to love you anyway. He still watches over you and ensures your safety, and when you’re ready to come back, He welcomes you with open arms.

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