to relapse into bad habits, sinful behavior, or undesirable activities.
The Christian life is not always an easy road. Sometimes we get off track
Hebrews 3:12-13 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Nowhere in all Scripture is the cause of a backslider more succinctly described than in
Proverbs 14:14: “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways.
This scripture teaches us that backsliding is caused by the departure of one’s heart from God.
We can be a backslider in heart even though we have not committed a notorious sin. In fact, most backsliders in heart do not appear as backsliders in life. So it is important that we remember that the first stage of backsliding is a divided heart.
Backsliding begins when we begin to entertain desires, thoughts, and desires that are contrary to God’s word and His will. We then gradually allow sin into our lives by relinquishing Godly principles, showing unfaithfulness to our Savior and neglecting our Christian duties. A backslider in heart is one who has left his first love. A backslider is lukewarm in spirit; mixed up with the world. It is always difficult for the Spirit of God to reach their conscience. A backslider empties his heart of God’s ways and fills it with his own ways. A person who is backsliding develops self-gratifying, self glorifying desires that are separate and contrary to God’s will and purposes
Zephaniah 1:6 The backslider in heart, who for fear of suffering, or in hope of profit or pleasure, forsakes God and his duty, and shall be filled with his own ways.”
The term backslidden Christian is an oxymoron. The Scriptures teach us that backsliding is a state of unbelief and not a temporary lack of belief on the part of a true believer. When a person is backsliding they are in rebellion to God and are in an unsaved state. Nowhere did we find in the Scriptures that a backsliding person is a Christian either.” Backslidden Christian” is another contrived term to ease the conscience of the sinner so they are still welcome in the local assembly. There is therefore no such thing as a backsliding Christian since the term is not found in the Scriptures.
Being a Christian means having an intimate, personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Being a Christian does not mean that we have a set of doctrines to follow and believe, prescribed prayers we must pray, special rules we must act upon, or special habits and sins we must avoid. Everything that God has commanded us in His Word is for our benefit, to grow and enhance the relation in love we have with the Lord Jesus Christ.
A relationship with God is wondrous so that we can experience Him in His glory and to respond to him with love and affection. God designed us to give freely to Him, so that we as believers in Christ could share and show our love to Him. But much of the time in trying to appease our guilty conscience we take away from and diminish our worship experience with Him by following habits of relationship instead of taking it to a “personal” and intimate level with our Creator.
The Creator of the universe, in whom everything exists and has always been, cares and loves us enough, that he give us an opportunity to have a personal relationship with Him. He gives us an opportunity to be heard, and to receive and hear His voice in return, and the privilege to develop a one-on-one with our Him as our God. This is incredible.
But sometimes we take this opportunity for granted. We either do not even take the time to even speak to Him in prayer or conversation, or even take time to praise Him for the love and goodness He gives to us in life. Sometimes through habit we find ourselves by saying “canned” prayers, having a one way conversation as we rush off after reciting a prayer without taking the time to sit back and listen to our heavenly Father to speak and share His heart with us.
And if we can’t establish any kind of good two-way communication and dialogue with the Lord – then no real close personal relationship is ever going to develop between Him and us. The way that to develop a good personal relationship between you and God, is through good, personal, free-flowing conversation and dialogue where both you and your Lord are able to express all thoughts, opinions and feelings with one another. This is what develops that ”best friend” relationship that we have been given to us by God so special, unique and so wonderful. We are able to have an intimate conversation with our best friend and so comfortable with our Lord and Savior. By having this intimacy you are free and comfortable to be yourself and to release God to working our lived so that we might reach our full potential.
Thankfully, God through His Word shows us in history how to avoid letting our personal relationship with Him become one of habit. We need to be careful that we do not find ourselves practicing habits of worship without experiencing the manifest presence of God. Let us not become so complacent in their “religion” that we do not even realize that the experience and relationship with God is absent in our lives.
Is it possible to pray, go to church, give an offering, recite a prayer and not have a personal relationship with Him, or experience His presence? You better believe it is. And that it what is so sad, that many of us practice “religion”, and completely miss out on a one on one personal relationship with our Lord. So don’t let yourself just settle for being “religious” reach out to God, talk with Him personally. Take the time to let Him respond to you in kind, He will. This is vital to a Christian’s experience with God, and when that happens the difference that personal relationship with Him makes, will completely transform your life. He is amazing in that He will reach out to you, talk to you in His wondrous love and walk with you hand in hand, guiding you through life.
Relationship or relation-slip, it is your choice.