Tuesday, December 28, 2010
6 Signs of Backsliding
What is backsliding? Backsliding is talked about in a number of ways in scripture. It is ‘falling away’ ie., apostacy, ‘falling from grace’, becoming ‘Luke warm’, etc. The term backsliding refers to a 'turning back' or a 'revolt' or 'a going a stray'. It may come from the birthing process of a calf. When the cow is giving birth occasionally the calf will be in process of the birth, but will slide back into the womb of the mother. When this happens the farmer often has to tie a rope on the legs of the calf and pull it out to save it. For the Christian, our lives are the process of the new birth. When we revert back to our old ways we are sliding back. Through out the scripture men and women are challenged to “examine themselves to see if they be in the faith”.
1.) Tepid followers- Spiritual heat is important. Through out the scriptures the Lord commands his followers to “never be lacking in zeal” and to “keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord”. Sometimes a believer gets lulled into a lukewarm state by the pressures of life. Other times we allow ourselves to grow tepid because we grow “weary in well doing”. It is an accommodation to the flesh because we are tired of keeping the Spiritual heat on. Don’t take your spiritual life off of the burner.
2.) Costly Compromises- If your life has many secrets and hidden sins, you are very likely backslidden. If you feel you have absolution from some of God’s commands because “God understands your heart” you are likely backslidden. (In fact God does understand your heart, and that is why he gave you the commands in the first place!)
Compromise is always the enemy of obedience and the blessing and favor of God come only to his obedient children. Compromise by its very nature is the subjugating the commands of God.
3.) Prayerlessness- Lack of prayer is both a cause and a symptom of backsliding. If you fail to have quality time with God on a consistent basis you are slipping away from God. Paul wrote to the Galatians that it was not possible to justify themselves apart from Jesus Christ. Why would we think that we would be able to live righteously without him? While everyone is in a different place with regard to the development of their prayer life, each of us should be developing! No one can set a minimum time for you to pray each day except the Holy Spirit. I would wager that he will help you set that goal if you simply ask.
4.) Church attendance and Fellowship suffers- Look at your church attendance and the fellowship you have with men and women of faith. It isn’t hard to see if your dedication to God has slipped. There are some who say that it is possible to be a Christian without fellowship in a local body. This, of course, is ridiculous. Jesus established the church to be a place where the body could minister to each other. This can’t happen when you are not in regular attendance. Children need to be taught, people need to be prayed for, love need to be given, and truth needs to be received. Left to our own devices we will always pick and choose the truths we (our flesh) like to hear.
5.) Strained Relationships- Look at your most intimate relationships and you might see the evidence of your backslidden heart. Often we find friction in our most intimate relationships because we are convicted by the truth of God. We avoid praying with our spouses and children, we don’t read the Word together, and we are angry when others do so. This is a sign of our backslidden heart. We will struggle to be right with God as long as we have rebellion in our hearts. Every wall inside our hearts must come down before him.
6.) Hypocrisy- The greek word for hypocrite is used of an actor. It literally means false face. If you find yourself unable to “be yourself” it may be because you are hiding behind the false face. Talking a good game can maintain your status before men, but God knows from the jump that you are a phony. Demanding of others what you don’t demand of yourself; a lack of mercy in your dealings with others; and an unwillingness to apply the truth that you know already are signs of this problem.
There is a cure for the backslidden heart. It is simply repentance, getting down to the real issues before God- becoming ‘naked’ before him. Ask for forgiveness for your cold, rebellious, and hardened heart. In the times that I have done this, God has always taken me back to the simplicity of the love relationship with him. What is the most important commandment? To love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength…
I pray that your heart of stone will be replaced once again with a heart of soft tissue. Repent!
For further study
Posted by Pastor Dave at 12:33 PM