I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the temptations that Satan uses to lure Christians away from serving Christ. We all know some believers who seemed to start off well, but somewhere in their journeys fell off the wagon, so to speak. I mean, they trusted in Christ. They read their Bibles every day. They prayed daily. They kept themselves free from sin and worldliness. And then somehow, they seemed to lose all interest in the things of God. Their fall was probably not immediate; it was certainly gradual. But where are they now?
There are at least three people I work with who profess Christ as their savior. Neither of them now shows any signs of being genuine, but there’s one guy who seemed to be going strong for awhile. He was not afraid to confess Christ before others. He never used to cuss or swear. He would pray before every meal. He obviously trusted in Christ. Now he takes the Lord’s name in vain on a regular basis. He no longer prays before lunch. He hangs around with mockers and vain persons who have no interest in salvation through the blood of Christ. He has evidently backslid. But why?
When I look back at my own backsliding period, and trace the cause of my downgrade, I find that it all started with an occasional drink. What seemed to be quite harmless was something that Satan used to get his foot in the door. Once his foot was in the door, it wasn’t long before he was in my house, tearing stuff up. I know of other Christians who have started their backslide in a similar manner. It may start with something as morally poisonous as a pornographic image on one’s computer screen. Or it could start as something so seemingly God-sanctioned as a promotion at work. One opens the door to lust and adultery; the other to pride and the temptation to cheat and lie for our employer. In all events, we need to keep ourselves watchful; because the devil as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5: 8).
People backslide because they allow idols in their life. An idol doesn’t have to be a painted image. It is anything that takes us away from God, causing us to put our trust in the things of this world. It is something that we sacrifice to: not necessarily our money, but our time and our thoughts and interests. A wedge can be a powerful tool, though it looks small and insignificant. Once you get it under the door jamb, that door will remain open to whatever you decide to let in. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 5: 22-24).
We’re living in times right now when apostasy and backsliding are at their height. Regardless of how strong you think your walk with Christ is, nobody is immune from backsliding. Yes, Christ will keep His own unto the end; but the only way God’s grace can flow down to us is through faith (Ephesians 2: 8). And it is faith in all that the Father has revealed to us through the Scriptures. If we start putting our trust in idols, then our eye is no longer single, the body becomes full of darkness, faith ceases to effectually operate, and God’s grace is cut off. As fruitless branches we fall from the vine, and are profitable for nothing (see John 15: 1-6).
Sooner or later The Lord will descend into the air to inaugurate a period of judgment upon the world. Born again believers who have kept the word of His patience will be, like Enoch and Lot, raptured into His presence; whereas those who have backslidden and chased after things that do not profit, will be left to endure the tribulation. If you think Satan and his engines of war to be formidable now, wait till God’s judgments sweep the world, for then the tempter will have free rein (Revelation 12: 12).
Christians backslide because they forget they are pilgrims called out of Egypt and traveling to a better country (1 Corinthians 10: 11). They forget that this world and its baggage are all temporary, and could end tomorrow. Hast thou trusted in Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection on the third day to save thee? Thou hast done well. Trust also in His power to lead thee through the wilderness of this sin-sick world, knowing that Canaan and it’s promises are right around the corner. Blessed are all they who follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth.
“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor” (John 12: 26).