It’s been called many things across pulpits; growing cold, lukewarm, being carnal, walking away from God, and worldliness among others. The common name is backsliding and you don’t hear much about it anymore. Though the concept might seem old fashioned it should still be a very real concern to honest Christians. We should be prayerfully examining our hearts daily to ensure we are humble, walking in submission to the Word of God and repentant.
Life sneaks up on you and before we know it we’ve developed habits and ideas that are altogether in opposition to Biblical Christianity. Scripture reminds us that it’s the “little foxes that spoil the vine” (Song of Solomon 2:15).
It’s easy to keep the big things out. Unfortunately, often it’s the build up of little things that eventually limits us spiritually and corrupts any potential harvest. We’ve got to work daily on getting the little things right.
Joe Thorn recently posted a blog entry concerning 25 marks of backsliding that I found interesting. Take a look at his list and prayerfully consider these items. You might take issue with some items on the list but it’s worth the read.
1. When prayer ceases to be a vital part of a professing Christian’s life, backsliding is present.
2. When the quest for biblical truth ceases and one grows content with the knowledge of eternal things already acquired, there can be no mistaking the presence of backsliding.
3. When the biblical knowledge possessed or acquired is treated as external fact and not applied inwardly, backsliding is present.
4. When earnest thoughts about eternal things cease to be regular and gripping, it should be like a warning light to the backslider.
5. When the services of the church lose their delights, a backslidden condition probably exists.
6. When pointed spiritual discussions are an embarrassment, that is certain evidence of backsliding.
7. When sports, recreation and entertainment are a large and necessary part of your lifestyle, you may assume backsliding is in force.
8. When sins of the body and of the mind can be indulged in without an uproar in your conscience your backslidden condition is certain.
9. When aspirations for Christlike holiness cease to be dominant in your life and thinking, backsliding is there.
10. When the acquisition of money and goods becomes a dominant part of your thinking, you have clear confirmation of backsliding.
11. When you can mouth religious songs and words without heart, be sure backsliding is present.
12. When you can hear the Lord’s name taken in vain, spiritual concerns mocked and eternal issues flippantly treated, and not be moved to indignation and action, you are backslidden.
13. When you can watch degrading movies and television and read morally debilitating literature, you can be sure you are backslidden.
14. When breaches of peace in the brotherhood are of no concern to you, that is proof of backsliding.
15. When the slightest excuse seems sufficient to keep you from spiritual duty and opportunity, you are backslidden.
16. When you become content with your lack of spiritual power and no longer seek repeated enduements of power from on high, you are backslidden.
17. When you pardon your own sin and sloth by saying the Lord understands and remembers that we are dust, you have revealed your backslidden condition.
18. When there is no music in your soul and no song in your heart, the silence testifies to your backsliding.
19. When you adjust happily to the worlds’ lifestyle, your own mirror will tell the truth of your backsliding.
20. When injustice and human misery exist around you and you do little or nothing to relieve the suffering, be sure you are backslidden.
21. When your church has fallen into spiritual declension and the Word of God is no longer preached there with power and you are still content, you are in a backslidden condition.
22. When the spiritual condition of the world declines around you and you cannot perceive it , that is testimony of your backslidden stance.
23. When you are willing to cheat your employer, backsliding is apparent.
24. When you find yourself rich in grace and mercy and marvel at your own godliness, then you have fallen far in your backsliding.
25. When your tears are dried up and the hard, cold spiritual facts of your existence cannot unleash them, see this as an awful testimony both of the hardness of your heart and the depth of your backsliding.
I would also caution, if you think backsliding as a subject is antiquated and unnecessary you might need to prayerfully examine your spirit. We’re all human and prone to error and sin. Acknowledging our inherent weaknesses and guarding ourselves against sin we know we’re capable of is not Puritanical but wise and should be driven, not by fear or guilt, but by a desire to please Jesus Christ.
Would you add or remove any items from this list? Comment below.