“The Backslider’s Do-It-Yourself Checklist” – A Public Service Announcement
In today’s religious world, the word “backslide” seems a bit archaic. I am not being critical; I’m only stating what I’ve observed. I can’t recall the last time I’ve heard the word used in a conversation. Even while talking with other pastors and ministers; the word seems to be gone for good.
Well, maybe not for good.
Tell me, what word would you use to describe a person who seems to have lost their passion for God, for his Word, for his people and church, and for sharing the Good News with others? What word would you substitute for the word “backslider”?
Maybe words like “contemporary”, “progressive”, “relative”, “understanding”, or “liberated” should be used.
When Jesus mentioned the Ephesian church in Revelation chapter two, he reminded them they had left their first love. Sure, he didn’t use the word “backslide”, but was he commending them for pressing into his kingdom or was he rebuking them for their lack of passion? “Left” wasn’t used in the sense of someone leaving one place for someplace better. Just the opposite.
Maybe the reason the word has gone by the wayside is that everyone is passionately seeking God, earnestly desiring to know and do his will. Maybe that’s the case. After all, “this is the Age of Enlightenment! People don’t sin like they used to! People aren’t as uptight about what’s right and wrong; the dogmas and doctrines of the hypocritical church are finding themselves replaced by a much more palatable line of thinking. God is love, man. Jesus came to teach us all how to get along together. He came to show us all how to BE God; and how to release the gift of God within us.”
I’m not going to accuse anyone of anything. I have my own heart to consider. I have my Lord Jesus to answer to. Just like everyone else.
So without pointing any fingers, and to keep from making anyone feel like they’re on trial, I decided to write this post as a public service.
It’s called “The Backslider’s Do-It-Yourself Checklist.”
It’s not a test. It will not be graded. There are no right or wrong answers. It’s simply a checklist to read (and consider).
If you don’t like the title, feel free to change it. Use one of my alternate words like “the liberated DIY checklist.” Call it what you like. But please, for everyone’s sake, use the checklist.
“The _____________________ Do-It-Yourself Checklist”
“The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways. The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless. A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated. The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.” (Proverbs 14:14-18 ESV)
Backslider – to flinch, i.e. to go back, literally (to retreat) or figuratively (to apostatize)
The Backslider: (again, use a substitution if the “B” word bothers you)
–Is filled with the fruit of their own ways. No one is going to tell them what to do, or how to be. After all, they love God just as much as the next person.
–Believes it’s permissible to do anything they want to do.
–Is reckless and careless, and very quick tempered. Touchy, thin skinned, and ultra defensive in regards to their spiritual condition.
–Has a rebellious attitude toward God’s testimonies, and turn away from God by turning to idols. “Yet they tested and rebelled against the Most High God and did not keep his testimonies, but turned away…” (Psalm 78:56-58 ESV)
–Believe their own lies. “Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path? Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back? They cling tightly to their lies and will not turn around” (Jeremiah 8:5 NLT)
–Is self-deceived; they know what to do but won’t do it. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22 ESV)
–Devotes themselves to deceitful (lying) spirits, and teachings (instructions) of demons. The lie or teaching will probably be something really simple, like – “no one cares for you, everyone is judging you, God won’t forgive you this time, and on and on.” “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.” (1 Timothy 4:1-2 ESV)
–Neglects regular fellowship and church attendance. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)
–Hears the word, but doesn’t keep the word during periods of spiritual attacks. Tribulation and persecutions come to steal the word. The cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things ENTER IN and choke the word. “And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” (Mark 4:17-19 ESV)
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3 ESV)
Keep this list handy. Not for use on others, but for yourself.
By the way, in case the checklist helps you uncover a problem, keep this phone number handy.
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” (Jeremiah 33:3 ESV)
And for the guarantee fine print see the Savior’s advertisement in Hosea 14:4, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely…“