Identifying Marks of Backsliding
Posted by Pastor Szekely on April 27, 2008
As I wrote at the end of my last post, Being Up Front on Backsliding, Someone once said, “If you were ever closer to the Lord than you are right now, you’re backslidden.”
In this post, I’d like to note that there are several identifying marks that make known a backslidden condition…and here they are:
1. There’s a Loss of Heavenly Values
-When the excitement and thrill of Bible truth grows weak…
-When worldly pleasures take hold and claim our interest and time…
-When the Bible gets dull…
-When prayer is commonplace…
-When church attendance isn’t that important…
-When taking a stand for Christ is too hard…
These are identifying marks of a backslidden condition! Remember when, for example, you “used to” talk about what you read in God’s Word? Now…you avoid conversation with others about personal devotion and the Scriptures…why’s that?
2. There’s a Loss of Conviction of Sin
When I was growing up, my mother tended bar. Every morning as we went to school, we’d stop in to see her [Where I lived, bars opened in the morning for the night-shift guys]. Anyway, when we would pop in to see her before the bus stop, we would be given gum, Slim Jims, and occasionally even a soda pop. Now we would only be there for a few minutes, but when we stepped out of the bar we couldn’t help but notice how bright the outside was! Just in that short time, our eyes adjusted to the darkness in the bar.
What’s the lesson here? The closer we get to sin, the less we see anything wrong with it! The more we become adjusted to it, the more we lose our conviction. That’s an identifying mark of a backslidden condition!
3. Laziness in Service
A tombstone in an old graveyard stated “Here rests John Brown. That is all he ever did.” Another reads:
Here lies a man who did no good, Had many chances, but never he would.
Where he’s gone and how he fares, Nobody knows–and nobody cares.
Remember you used to care what you did and didn’t do for God? Has there been a retreat in your life from God’s service? That would be an identifying mark of a backslidden condition!
4. Putting people’s word ahead of God’s Word
Some have become more persuaded by the opinion and advice of others rather than the clear teaching of the Bible. I’d rather trust in what God says than in what the news says…or the History Channel!
I know of someone who gets her “theology” from the History Channel! Anytime something on Christ or the Bible is on that channel – I hear about it…and most every time what I hear is inaccurate and just not true! The History Channel DOES NOT correct the Bible! Their word cannot be placed above God’s Holy Word! Unfortunately today, the Bible is not read and studied consistently, and therefore many have a hard time discerning what they watch and what others say. For the Christian, that’s an identifying mark of a backslidden condition!
Now these are just some identifying marks of backsliding…but what causes the backsliding? Please forgive my repetition from my last post, but in a word – SIN! Sin is the #1 cause of backsliding. For the Christian, sin falls into 1 of 2 categories:
1. sins of omission – is not doing what we should do
2. sins of commission – is doing something we should not do
Let me just “throw out” to you some sins of omission:
-Not making a faithful commitment to church attendance
-Not reading your Bible
-Choosing not to tithe and offer
-Declining to serve God
-Not giving forgiveness or making things right with someone when God tells you that you should
Now let me give you some sins of commission:
-Worldly attitude and rebellion
-Disobeying God’s Word
Sin will take you further than you want to go…
Sin will give you much more than you want to know…
Sin will leave you longer than you want to stay…
Sin will cost you far more than you want to pay…
SIN – #1 cause of backsliding – makes you retreat from God – makes you backslide!