I have been a Christian for slightly over 10 years now. I know that may sound odd because my parents went to church and so did I for almost all my life. However, 10 years ago, I finally got it! I understood what it meant to let go and let God, to surrender myself to Him and to get saved.
I had heard of people ‘backsliding’ ever since I was in high school and it was always associated with a good ‘Christian’ who suddenly started to go wrong. Started doing things that were considered ‘un-Christian’. How far from the truth this is! You see, when you think of backsliding it is not about action, it is about INACTION.
I recently found myself in a space where I sensed a distance between God and I. I know that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, therefore His position did not change. Thing is, I had not done anything distinctly wrong or rebellious, but still … that distance was feeling more and more real every day.
Then it came to me; this is what a backslide is!
Then ever so slowly, I start to move back. Initially, the movement is slow and unnoticeable, but when I start to feel the distance, it’s like momentum starts to build and I start to panic. Why am I sliding back? I haven’t done anything wrong, my eyes and my spirit are still fixed on the Lord, so why am I sliding back?!
It’s because I am doing nothing to move forward!
What a revelation! How true this is of so many things in our lives. Be it marriage, friendship, career, self-rejuvenation, getting fit, planning for retirement … the list is endless. We stand there with our eyes on the goal, with our hearts fully committed, yet at the end of the year or month or decade, we seem so much further from our goal; without having actively moved away from it.
That is the backslide!
I was keeping my eyes on the Lord, but I had stopped moving towards Him; I was not reading the Bible, my devotion was sketchy, my service was quiet, my prayers – perfunctory!
At this point, one of two things will happen…
Scenario 1 – you realise you are in the backslide, you panic because you feel you have put too much distance between you and God and you can never make it back to where you were before, so you give up; you turn around, turn your back against the Lord and you walk away … actively leaving Him behind.
Scenario 2 – you realise you are in the backslide, you remember how great it was to bask in the glory of God and you decide to ask Him for help, to get you back to where you were. He is a faithful God, He will answer, He will restore. After all, the only reason you were able to get close to Him before was by His grace. You surrender afresh and before you know it, you are actively moving back towards the Lord.
The backslide has been arrested!