Music is all about “trends.” It both models and molds the trends that we all follow. In light of this reality, I would suggest that Christ’s representatives cannot allow the “trends” to dictate whether or not we faithfully use our music for the sake of Christ. According to Col. 1:16, “all things were made by Him and for Him.” This does not mean all music must be “religious” in nature, but all of our music should be sifted through the sieve of Christ’s desires so that the outcome of our music is something pleasing to Him. Deserter is all about the ever-present vulnerability and susceptibility to “drifting” from faithfulness to Christ’s person and purposes. There was a time where even in Christian music, doctrine or theological substantive material was almost taboo because it was seen as a liability from the business perspective. I would even agree with that. The industry does not welcome the mind of Christ or anything that makes too much of Him. However, God graced a movement within music where this “trend” gained momentum and even made some people a lot of money. In spite of this, there is always the danger of the drift that can take place in a heart, a group, or an industry. Deserter appeals to us not to be blindsided by this reality, and not to give in. Let’s resist the devil and he will flee.
Deserter ft. Jahaziel Devotional Thought
Scripture puts forth a strong admonition—don’t just start well, but end well. Don’t veer, don’t regress, don’t desert, but stand, hold fast, and go onward Christian soldier! Many in Scripture had impressive beginnings but in one way or another they deviated from faithfulness into some less glorious, sometimes perilous state. So we are warned repeatedly in Scripture about the slipperiness of the road we travel, and our propensity to wander. I call to mind the Lord’s exhortation to Joshua in reference to a life of obedience to the word of God (1:7), “Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.” I am further reminded of our Lord’s word to disciples who claimed to want to follow Him but, who also had interests that were not in line with where He was calling them. “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk 9:62). Then there is the very sobering parable of Matt 13:21 which exposes one key reason why people fall away, “…he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.” These passages and many others warn us about the ever present danger of being pulled off course, and today we are not exempt.
How many times have we heard a pop star speak of their “church roots,” or how they “began in the church?” Apparently many start with some measure of “child-like faith,” and perhaps even a God-sensitivity but, by the time they reach the pinnacle of their success they are often marked by their reputation for things that are completely contrary to God’s character. This is the “deserter”—one who leaves, drifts, or abandons God, His way, or His mission. They forsake a more excellent way for something that from the eternal perspective is less glorious, even though from the temporal perspective, it may be more convenient, self-gratifying, or popular. It may not always entail sliding into something outright sinful, though it often is, but often the drift is the subtle shift away from zeal to indifference, “hustle” to casualness, from “the special” to “the common,” away from “very fruitful” to “sort of fruitful.” In the worst case scenario the deserter is one who leaves Jesus and His way of gospel grace altogether. In this case, if no repentance/returning takes place, the apostle John’s words ring true, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us” (1 Jn 2:19).
During my early teenage years I ventured to preach to my peers like my father preached to his. However, almost immediately after the ridicule and humiliation ensued, I abandoned that goal. I uickly adopted a philosophy of “fitting in,” and ultimately gross sin. I was a deserter. I wanted to be liked and embraced more than faithful and rejected. How about you? Are you standing firm or slipping away? Paul, in 2 Tim 4:10, recounted how “Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.” Some commentators note that Demas may have technically continued in the faith, but deserted his commitment to Paul and rigors of mission with Paul. If this is true it illustrates how even when people don’t utterly abandon the faith, they can still abandon a missional course because of a “love for this present world.” Every day we must determine to go forward and not backwards. Every believer will face the temptation to go back into something less difficult, more familiar, and/or demanding less sacrifice. By grace, let us press on.
Hope For the Deserter
Jude ends his admonition to the saints by glorifying the God “who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,” (v. 24). The idea of “stumbling” in the context of this letter is “falling away” or apostasy. The blessing and encouragement is that our Lord dispenses “keeping grace” and we can remain steadfast because He is working in us to will and do according to His purpose. Luke 15 assures us that He also has “seeking and saving grace,” as well as “rescuing and restoring grace.” Jesus pursues deserters. His grace is both direct and indirect, through His people. James 5:19, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” Wandering is another word for “deserting,” and we are prone to do it. However, our God is faithful to bring us back, and when He restores us we can strengthen others (Lk 22:32). Deserter—you don’t wanna be a deserter! Amen.
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