Have you found yourself drifting in your spiritual life?
“For they have perverted their way; They have forgotten the LORD their God. “Return, you backsliding children, And I will heal your backslidings. Indeed we do come to You, For You are the LORD our God. Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills and mountains is a deception; surely in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel” Jeremiah 3:22-23
Some of the most godly kings were guilty of backsliding- Joash, Hezekiah and Solomon to name a few. They walked with the Lord, saw visions, prophecied ,they had prophets to warn them, they saw awesome and wonderful miracles and power of God. Yet, as time went by they began to fall away from the Lord. Pride, Wealth, Fame, were some of the things that tripped them in their walk with the Lord. The Lord warned them and shook up their world to try to get their attention. Some listened and some did not.
If King Solomon was not immune to this, neither are we.
We have to make sure the desires for this world, our busyness, forgetting God’s promises, forgetting what God has done for us, and unbelief do not enter into our minds, our lives, or our hearts.
Backsliding is a gradual process, we barely notice it. Backsliding is like drifting along the shore of an ocean- without knowing you are moving. At first you see where you are stationed on the shore with your family, chairs, umbrella. After a while of playing in the surf, you look up and suddenly your stuff is no where to be found. You have drifted so far- and you didn’t even notice you had moved. The same it is with backsliding. It’s quiet and you don’t notice it unless you stand grounded always checking yourself, making sure you are anchored and have your eyes fixed on your place. It’s easy to drift. We can get so caught up in our world, we get tired, and maybe even lazy. We are all in danger of neglecting our relationship with Him. Work hard, be alert, make the effort and seek the Lord with all your might and with all your heart
Charles Stanley on avoiding the disaster of drifting said, “Maybe you’re caught up in the wrong crowd and haven’t attended worship services in a long time. The most disturbing part of it is that you just don’t feel God’s presence anymore. Something is happening to your spiritual life- and it isn’t good. You’re drifting, which means you’re headed for trouble” I went through the bible and found some things that we need to be careful of so we don’t end up backsliding and falling away from the Lord: that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Backsliding is prompted by:
1. Pride and a haughty spirit -Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
2. Spiritual blindness You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
3. Spiritual Blindness and forgetting you have been cleansed: Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Rev 3:17-18, 2 Peter 1:5-11
4. Murmuring: But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” Ex 17:3
5. Not Remembering all God has done for you/ not waiting for Him: But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
6. Lusting after evil/ Not Content: In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them.
7. Envy: In the camp they grew envious of Moses and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the LORD. The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan; it buried the company of Abiram. Fire blazed among their followers; a flame consumed the wicked. At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal.
8. Idolatry: They exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
9. Forgetting They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt ,miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. So he said he would destroy them -had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them. Then they despised the pleasant land; 10. Not believing: they did not believe his promise.
11. Complaining : They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the LORD. So he swore to them with uplifted hand that he would make them fall in the wilderness, make their descendants fall among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands.
12. Not Putting God first: They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods; they aroused the Lord’s anger by their wicked deeds, and a plague broke out among them. But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked. This was credited to him as righteousness for endless generations to come. By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD, and trouble came to Moses because of them;
13. Rebellion: for they rebelled against the Spirit of God, and rash words came from Moses’ lips.
14. hanging around unbelievers :They did not destroy the peoples as the LORD had commanded them, but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.
15. Doing evil :They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves. Therefore the LORD was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. He gave them into the hands of the nations, and their foes ruled over them. Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin. Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented. He caused all who held them captive to show them mercy. Save us, LORD our God and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. Psalm 106: 13—47 (#4-#11)
16. Envy, wanting worldly things: Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.
17. Giving up when troubles arise: Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
18. Not believing in God’s promises Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful
19. Craving Worldly desires: the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” Mark 4:15-20 (#12-15)
20. The Love of Money: Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Tim 6:9-10
21. Forgetting God : Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. Duet. 8:11-18: Jer 3:2-25 by the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld, and no spring rains there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. 8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense(make believe or pretend),” declares the LORD. “Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, I will cure you of backsliding Jer 48:7-8 Since you trust in your deeds and riches, you too will be taken captive, ! 29-30 “We have heard of Moab’s pride— how great is her arrogance!— of her insolence, her pride, her conceit and the haughtiness of her heart. I know her insolence but it is futile, ”declares the LORD, “and her boasts accomplish nothing.
Jer 4:19 Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty
Jer 5:7-9 “Why should I forgive you? your children have forsaken me and sworn by gods that are not gods. I supplied all their needs, yet they committed adultery and thronged to the houses of prostitutes. They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man’s wife. Should I not punish them for this?”declares the LORD. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?
Jer 8 :4-12 “Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘When people fall down, do they not get up?When someone turns away, do they not return? Why then have these people turned away?Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit; they refuse to return. I have listened attentively,but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?”Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle. Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,”when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have? Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners.From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. 12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the LORD.
Jer 14:10 This is what the LORD says about this people: “They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.”
Hosea 11:7 My people are determined to turn from me. Even though they call me God Most High, I will by no means exalt them.
Hosea 14:9Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the LORD are right;the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.
Prov 14:14-16The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and the good rewarded for theirs. The simple believe anything but the prudent give thought to their steps.The wise fear the LORD and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure Remember Him- come back to him in your thoughts.
Job 20:21 Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you. Seek repentance before Him with a humble heart and if you have offended anyone, go and confess your offense and make peace
“Return, ye backsliding children” Turn to Him: Come back! There is Mercy and Grace for you from the Father ready to be poured out into your life. He waits all day with open arms calling your name. Yes, come as you are- even in our wayward ways. He calls out “come back my backsliding children” he doesn’t say, come back all who are right with me – don’t think you have to better yourself first before you come back to Him. Today is the day of salvation. Don’t wait any longer. Go to the Lord and He will make your ways straight.
“But all who believe, must believe in Jesus, and repent of their sins” Charles Spurgeon, in 1886 said is best: “Come empty, ragged, filthy, just as you are, and believe in God that justifieth the ungodly. Cast yourself on Him who came to call, not the righteous, but sinners to repentence”
Put God first; Trust in Him alone. Get rid of all the idols in our lives. What do I put before the Lord?
1. Remember Him– come back to him in your thoughts. Job 20:21 Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you. Seek repentance before Him with a humble heart and if you have offended anyone, go and confess your offense and make peace “Return, ye backsliding children”
2. Turn to Him: Come back! There is Mercy and Grace for you from the Father ready to be poured out into your life. He waits all day with open arms calling your name. Yes, come as you are- even in our wayward ways. He calls out “come back my backsliding children” he doesn’t say, come back all who are right with me – don’t think you have to better yourself first before you come back to Him. Today is the day of salvation. Don’t wait any longer. Go to the Lord and He will make your ways straight. “But all who believe, must believe in Jeus, and repent of their sins”
3. Put God first; Trust in Him alone. Get rid of all the idols in our lives. What do I put before the Lord?
4. Get rid of all unrighteousness : Stop judging others and begin to clean your heart out daily of any hidden sins. Remember there is no salvation in ourselves, but in the blood of the Lamb of God- our Savior Jesus Christ. To think ourselves so righteous is a lie. It’s all about Jesus, not us. His Kingdom only. When we were yet without strength Christ died for us. It is not our own strength or righteousness that we are saved.
5. Job 20:21 Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you. Seek repentance before Him with a humble heart and if you have offended anyone, go and confess your offense and make peace “Return, ye backsliding children”Today is the day of salvation. Go to the Lord and He will make your ways straight. “But all who believe, must believe in Jesus, and repent of their sins”
Live for Christ: die to ourselves and our desires and let Christ reign in your heart. There is no greater joy than this. From a fleshly and wordly standpoint, this doesn’t sound like something we’d want to do. When we finally do decide to live for Christ only we will find the joy, the peace and the amazing walk with God our soul desires. There you will be content and there you will find your joy. Searching for this in wordly things will never bring you to the place where you are searching. It is only found in Christ. Living for Him, If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me 8:34-35
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it Luke 9:23
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it Gal 5: 24-
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.. Put no idols before him : We cannot serve two Gods!No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and man.