Updated: Aug 15, 2022
We are tempted out from the Lord's safety gradually
Biologists tell us that if you drop a live frog into a beaker of boiling water, its reflexes will cause it to immediately spring from the water and thus save its life. However, if you put the frog into a beaker of lukewarm water and very gently heat it up a degree at a time, you will eventually succeed in boiling the frog.
This is the same tactic that Satan often uses on God’s people when tempting them away from God and into sin. He seldom comes to the thoughts of the Christian and tempts them to simply turn their back on God all at once. But rather little by little, bit by bit, degree by degree, Satan seeks to lead us away from the Lord. Like in the case of the frog the change is so subtle and almost imperceptible that we might not notice until it is too late!
Satan being a serpent seeks to hypnotize God’s people into a state of deception. Once he has anaesthetised us, he then seeks to bring his theft, his destruction and death into our lives, our families, and our churches.
How many drug addicts start directly on heroin? All alcoholics start with one drink. All nicotine addicted smokers start with one cigarette. It is the same with sexual perversion. Lust cannot be satisfied by definition! Amen
Satan, the tempter, softly whispers to our minds just one … joint, fix, drink, or kiss. Go on you will enjoy it. It will not harm you, knowing full well that his goal to get you hooked into sin and bondage. He wants to take away your free-will choices so that he can take you captive at will. Jesus Christ came to set us free and to restore our free-will choices back to us.
As you might have guessed by now our topic is about backsliding away from God and more specifically how to spot it in our own lives and the lives of our brothers and sisters. Once we can spot it, we can take remedial action to prevent it.
In Genesis 4:7, the Lord tells Cain that sin is crouching at the door. This is a graphic illustration of how sin personified is always just waiting for that weak moment in our lives to spring into our hearts and minds and defile us. It was a spirit of murder that entered Cain’s heart, which led him to slay his brother Abel because of his jealousy at the Lord commending Abel’s sacrifice. What about us? It might only take one moment of uncontrolled lust or adulterous thoughts/deeds to cause us to fall spectacularly. Any single wicked idea that pops into our minds if not brought into captivity and whoosh the devil is straight in there, tempting us to convert that wicked thought into the sinful deed.
However, we must not be discouraged because God has given us two marvellous promises in His word. Firstly, there is no tempting which affects only you or I but when the temptation to sin comes, God always shows us a way out of it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted beyond what ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Secondly, Jesus Christ himself is not only able to keep each one of us from failing into sin but undertakes to present us one day to the Father without fault!
Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
What marvellous promises!
But we must play our part and keep alert, by watching and praying. We must continue to exercise a godly control over every thought that comes into our minds. This involves us being alert and active and not allowing the devil to lull our minds into a slumber thus allowing an evil seed of an idea to implant into our hearts and minds. We must learn to walk in the Spirit and thus not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. The Christian life is a life of constant vigilance against a malignant foe.
A definition of the term backsliding might be ‘turning back or away from God’. It involves disloyalty and unthankfulness by us forgetting all that God has done for us.
A classic biblical picture of backsliding and from which we get the term is found in Hosea 4:16. A sheep is sliding down a slippery hillside away from the protection of the shepherd bit by bit into danger and eventually destruction.
So Satan desires us to slip away from the living God by discouraging us from daily prayer and bible study and from regular fellowship with our fellow believers. His aim is to make our faith in God operationally dead or ineffective. This of course will stop us dead in our tracks from our evangelism and witnessing.
This is where we can really help ourselves by reminding each other how much the Lord loves us and of all that he has done for us. Particularly by the giving of Jesus Christ for our sins. We must encourage each other to press on in our walk with God.
The tell-tale signs of backsliding may not be obvious at first to us and are sometimes easier to see in others (beware of pride and pray for your brother or sister if relevant). But if we can agree that any of the following statements are true then we could well be in the process of backsliding.
There has been a gradual decline in our bible reading and study.
We pray less often and are less aware of the Lord’s presence when we do.
Our desire to go to church and meet Christians for fellowship is waning.
1 Corinthians 10:13
2 Corinthians 10:5
We might notice that our Christian friends are dropping hints that they are concerned about our spiritual welfare. There seems to be a general lack of enthusiasm for God, his things, and his people.
The counsel we need when we are backsliding is to for someone to point out that Satan is trying to anaesthetize you and put you to sleep so that he can steal, kill, and destroy in your life. We need also to be reminded of just how much God loves us and how he will receive us in repentance with outstretched arms.
Sometimes a mature believer may confront us in love. Do not be offended by this for it is an act of love. If you are not sure whether the rebuke is warranted, then take it to the Lord in prayer and examine your heart and lifestyle before him.
The restoration process begins by admitting our sin and asking God to forgive us.
Do you want to be boiled like frog?
Do you want to be anaesthetized by Dr Satan?
Do you want to be put to sleep spiritually speaking?
Wake up, be alert and return to the Lord with all your heart asking that He restore your zeal for Him, His word, his fellowship, and his people. He will love you freely!