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26 October, 2012

What Is Backsliding?


Read Jeremiah 3:22
"Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding." "Yes, we will come to you, for you are the LORD our God.

Backsliding comes in various degrees in the Christian faith. No one becomes a backslider over night and it is much more than being up and down in our Christian walk. It is rather a refusal to do God's will that causes us to backslide. It is a process that we go through as our spiritual life with Him decline because it remains unattended by us. Backsliding is brought on by a spirit of disobedience to Him and the effect of our refusal to obey His Word will always cause our conscience to start slipping away. Slowly, the Word of God has no effect on us anymore. Next to our conscience, our heart becomes harder and harder to remain devoted to Him. By then, you do not have the strength to bother and soon you feel as if you are enjoying the illusion of freedom not having to focus so much on your life with Him. It gets worse when you realize how much strength, focus and commitment it takes to live out the Christian life. In your mind you might even start rationalizing it that you are simply taking a break from it all. Oddly, your body starts feeling like you are on a mini vacation that you would not want to come to an end.

Through the process of backsliding, the Holy Spirit warns us and brings various opportunities for us to grab onto Him, to stop the sloppy slide path we are on and turn away from it. At first, when we start backsliding we can see it so clearly that we are leaving behind the life we used to know. The intimacy, the oneness that used to be so sweet to the soul, the learning process, the tenderness of the conscience, the joy and rest we used to have etc.  We feel almost helpless, anxious and sad as we watch it all slipping away like water escaping through our fingers. As this is happening, you start looking at God like a distant memory as your desire to be devoted to Him is also fading away. Not only the strength to go back is not there, but we get discouraged before we even start since we realize how much effort we are going to need to get out of the backsliding mode. Before long, it feels as if not only we do not have brakes to stop but we are helpless in the process because inside, it feels like there is nothing to grab on to stop the declining process. By the time we get there, we are way too far in the backsliding process. The Holy Spirit has stopped pursuing us.

While you are backsliding you might even enjoy going through the motion of Church and socializing with other Christians, like you would attend a social club. Some of us still go to Church because we care what other people think. Nevertheless, deep in your heart, you are aware that all your values, priorities characters and everything else the Holy Spirit has worked hard to accomplish in you inwardly, are shifting back. This is a scary and dangerous place to be and anyone who can see it coming should not stop begging the Holy Spirit for help to have the heart revive. God does not let backsliding unpunished because it is a state that put us in the same wavelength as the unbelievers as we learn to live in appreciation of our own wickedness. When we reject and forsake our God, the only next step we have is to turn our hearts to new idols, simply because the void has to be filled. If not filled with God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, then the next choice is obviously worldly things. In these days, idols for us Christians are no different from the unbelievers. We “walk” the Christian walk while being consumed by the needs and care of this world. One of the biggest barriers to coming back to God is that we are really good at making ourselves feel that God will understand even though we are unhappy inside.

Beloved, being in a backsliding mode is like being aboard a derailed train with no driver on board.

PRAYER: May God guard our hearts from ever backsliding. May we cherish the grace and precious love we have in Him and may we never want to walk away from it all. My Lord, Savior, Redeemer and Master, please revive the hearts of those who are dead inside.