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July 23, 2012

(NB: all links have popups) – Only 40 years after Paul had planted the church at Ephesus, Jesus had to warn the church of her backslidden state – “I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Rev 2:4-note). Solomon (sadly a backslidder himself) warned that “The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways.” (Pr 14:14)

Backsliding begins
when knee-bending stops!

Collapse in the Christian life is seldom a blowout. For most of us the threat of life is not so much that we backslide suddenly into disaster, but that we slowly, even impercitibly drift into sin(s). It is usually a slow leak! And so we fall in private long before we fall in public. No one is so empty (& miserable – see Ps 32:3-4-note) as the man or woman who has stopped communing & walking with God & doesn’t know it. And so the question we all need to be willing to ask ourselves “Am I beginning to backslide?” Remember that the signs may not be obvious to others, nor even to ourselves, for sin is deceitful (Heb 3:13- note). When you see a tree broken over in a windstorm, it’s easy to think that it was the wind. If you look closer, you will often see that insects have been at work a long time on the tree, making it weaker and weaker. It really wasn’t the wind that caused the fall–other trees around had withstood the wind. Instead, it was the slow fade, the slow drift from the Word, the slow decline of spiritual strength and stamina, as the “insects” of little sins tolerated (cp Song 2:15-Spurgeon’s devotional) & which nibble away month after month. The danger and deceitfulness of drifting is illustrated by the story of the English explorer, William Edward Parry, who took a crew to the Arctic Ocean. They wanted to go farther north to continue their chartings, so they calculated their location by the stars and started a very difficult and treacherous march north. They walked hour upon hour, and finally, totally exhausted, they stopped. Taking their bearings again from the stars, they discovered that they were farther south than they had been when they started. They had been walking on an ice floe that was moving south faster than they were walking north. Similarly, how easy it is to be out with step with God, thinking we are walking with Him, when in fact we are moving away from Him faster than we were supposedly walking toward Him! Ouch! That is the tragedy of drifting from the truth. Will you (or I) awaken one day (“come to our senses”) to find, that all the time we have been moving imperceptibly in the wrong direction?! C H Spurgeon was right when he said that “The Christian life is very much like climbing a hill of ice. You cannot slide up. You have to cut every step with an ice ax. Only with incessant labor in cutting and chipping can you make any prog­ress. If you want to know how to backslide, leave off going forward. Cease going upward and you will go downward of necessity. You can never stand still. Remember that if you are a child of God, you will never be happy in sin (Ed: or “get away with it!” – read Heb 12:5-11-note). You are spoiled for the world, the flesh and the devil. When you were regenerated there was put into you a vital principle (the HOLY SPIRIT), which can never be content to dwell in the dead world. You will have to come back, IF INDEED you belong to the family (cf Jn 1:12).” The great news is that no matter how deep we fall, we are never out of our loving, longsuffering Father’s reach and restoration (Read Luke 15:20-24)

Father, lead us not into temptation, but by the enabling power of Your Spirit deliver us from evil for the sake of the Name above all names. Amen  (Mt 6:13-note)
Slow Fade – Listen to this Song that Pictures Backsliding
Click for In Depth Discussion of Backsliding
The Evil of Backsliding – Charles Simeon
Hope for the Worst Backsliders – C H Spurgeon
The Backslider’s Way Hedged Up – C H Spurgeon
The Backslider’s Door of Hope – C H Spurgeon
Backslider Healed – C H Spurgeon
See also – Quotations Related to Backsliding

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