Monday, October 10, 2011

OCTOBER 9 "MAYBE BACKSLIDING IS NOT SUCH A GOOD IDEA!"

     IF you've been in the church for any number of years, you will know that "backsliding" is par for the course in the goings on,of the local assembly. There are multitudes that are in and out of the church and cannot make up their minds as to whether or not to give themselves fully to serving God or many others that have out rightly turned away and become apostates & reprobates. As a Christian we can become quite accustomed to this epidemic in the church, but it is no small thing in the eyes of God.  I have heard the scripture "God is married to the backslider" quoted many times, but here is a scripture  I HAVE NEVER heard quoted.  It is not that I haven't heard it quoted in a few years, but rather I have not heard it quoted in 20 something years.  However, it is here, in black and white for us to read today. Verse 7 "You keep on backsliding, so I will lay hands on you and destroy you; I can no longer show compassion".  Will anybody believe me that that's in the bible?
      Knowing God but not serving God is like owning a car and ignoring the; check engine light, thermostat, change oil light, ignoring squeaking brakes and the smoke coming out of your exhaust.  You may be able to say "you own a car" like the rest of us, but eventually your car will break down and you will be walking or mooching rides.  Should you decide one day to now attend to the lights and warnings it will be very costly and your mechanic may advise it is not worth it at this point.  Knowing God and ignoring the Holy Spirit will cause a break down and when and if you do decide to return to the Lord it will be very costly. Now you will not have a mechanic advising you that it is not worth the cost and neither will you have God telling you it's not worth it, but your own conscience may advice you of such.  Yes, it is when someone realizes they can't afford to get on without their car that they finally attempt to fix it but they normally can't afford it.  And most backsliders that realize they cannot get on without God do "attempt" to come back, but normally can't afford (metaphorically speaking) to come back. There is so much to repair it seems futile (although it is never futile).  Later on in our text God says he has, "withdrawn his blessing" well this only compounds the problem.  Credit cards have "compounded interest" in other words, not only are you charged interest on what you have not paid, but the bank then turns around and charges you interest on the interest that they are charging you, making it almost impossible to repay the dept and get back on track. Many have watched a backslider relentlessly try to "get back on track".  Backsliding is plagued with problems from bad decisions but it is compounded by the fact that on top off "self induced" problems, God in the midst of that has also chosen to withdraw his blessing, which only compounds the problems.  Most of us do not realize what it is to step out from under the blessing of God or have his blessing withdrawn, but know this, it is not a pretty site. And so the dilemma of the backslider is not only does he have many problems, much confusion and lack of direction, but he does not have God's covering and in bitterness he now cries out to God and hears no answer, gets no help and this only further induces him/her into his backsliden ways and begins to produce a bitterness in the heart of the individual towards God. Every try to save a marriage where one or both spouses have become bitter against one another?  Ever try to restore a Christian to God who has become bitter towards God?  Why are they bitter towards God...because He has withdrawn his blessing, but why has He done this...because they have not been faithful, but of course they don't see this. Verse 10 "When you tell these people all this and they ask you, 'why has the Lord decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the Lord our God?"  This is the problem, backsliders don't see where they have sinned all they see is that God has abandoned them and they do not know why?  They see their sin differently, of course than God sees it.  They see their sin as simply "I have questions"  "I have doubts"  "I struggle" but yet isn't this the plight of most Christians, isn't that the walk we must all walk. We must all press through and fight the fight of faith. We all have questions, we all have unanswered prayers and doubts, but yet we continue to serve God, trust him and obey him, in the midst of all the uncertainty.
     Thank God for every backslider that successfully returns to God and makes it, but truth be known and in line with scripture, most do not.  Better periodic maintenance in your Christian life than to completely let it unravel (for whatever reason and I'm sure there are many) and then try to fix a broken down clunker.  The true backslider has allowed years of neglect affect his relationship with God and that has put him in his apathetic state. The grossly over weight person has years of neglect invested in that weight. Will they ever lose the weight? Some will most don't, it's to hard hill to climb. You may want to try climbing some smaller hills before attempt to climb Mt. Everest.  If they had tackled their weight problem when it was 10-20 lbs they, with much work could have done it, but now it's 50-100lbs and most are past the point of no return, sadly enough. Will most ever restore that neglected car? No, most won't be able to, they will trade it in for almost nothing and try to start new. Will most backsliders make it back? No, most will not, but a few will.     Maybe backsliding is not such a good idea after all. Maybe dealing with issues while they are still small and manageable is really what God expects out of us, in life. Deal with the relationship before it escalates to the point of no return, deal with the debt before it escalates to the point of no return, deal with your weight before you reach the point of no return and last but not least, deal with the spiritual issues that resonate in your heart, before they grow beyond with what you can cope or come back from. Don't linger in your backsliden state because both you and God may reach a point where one of you says, THAT'S ITVerse 6 " You keep on backsliding.....I can no longer show compassion".  Many may be upset with this post, because it does not give a lot of hope (and we are always supposed to give a lot of hope) but perhaps this is post/blog is more to warn those that are heading down that path, rather than to try to reach out to those that have already made the decision to go down that path. We will have far more success in averting backsliders than we will trying to go out and brings those back that are already backslidden just as we would have much more success in finding people that are only 5-10 lbs over weight and getting them into shape than trying to find someone who is already obese and trying to convince them they can lose 50-100lbs.  God has done everything to save us and he has left only one thing to us, and even that we cannot do, and that is simply for us to maintain and upkeep the relationship with him that he did everything to initiate and start up. We did nothing to be saved, even the Faith we had to believe "unto salvation" was given from him, and then He says, "now abide in me....." and we cannot even muster the strength, resolve or fortitude to do that. It is a sad state of affairs, the human heart, isn't it!