When Mikaela was 3 and Eli was 8 months old, my daughter, Megan, and I went to lunch and we took them with us. While we were eating, Eli started fussing because he was tired and Mikaela just kind of reached over and squeezed his little foot. (which of course made him fuss a little more..) Very gently I said, “Mikaela, little girls who have Jesus in their heart don’t hurt their little brothers on purpose.” She looked up at me with those big, dark eyes and said, “Well.. Jesus kinda flew out of my heart for just a minute, but he flew back in now.”
Has Jesus ever flown the coop of your heart? Even for just a minute? I think we can all say that at some time or another, we’ve all had a slight lapse in our Christian behavior. It’s not something any of us are proud of, but never the less, it happens. It’s what we good Baptists call “backsliding”.
The definition of backslide is as follows:
1. To relapse I into bad habits, sinful behavior, or undesirable activities 2. To revert to sin or wrongdoing, especially in religious practice. 3. To slide back; to fall away; to abandon gradually the faith and practice of a religion that has been professed.
Whoa….that covers a lot of territory, now doesn’t it? In other words, if we are not moving forward in our Christian walk - if we are not stepping up to the next level with God - then we may be on our way to a backslidden condition. I have heard my husband say many times from the pulpit, “Folks, if we aren’t closer to God today than we were yesterday, we are backsliding.”
That is a very dangerous place to be. You know why it is so dangerous? Because it happens gradually. By the time you realize it has happened, you’ve taken so many backward steps that you face a slippery slope to get back to where you once were. It is hard to regain your footing once you start to lose it. That slope just gets slicker and steeper as time goes on. If you stay there long enough, defeat settles in and takes over. If you stay defeated long enough, then the doubt comes and settles in right beside the defeat. That is NOT a good combination. Defeat and doubt together is deadly.
But you know the good news? There is a solution to this problem. When you catch yourself beginning to take that very first backward step, hit your knees. Or better yet, hit the floor face down. Cry out to the One who can stop that backward motion and get you moving in the right direction again! Jesus… Abba Father… our Restorer. Just focus on the joy of your salvation experience and rekindle that fire in your heart for the One and Only. Our Savior and our Redeemer.
Any of us who are Christians have been there. Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. Any time we sin, we are sliding back away from Christ. It is a struggle that we face every day. Our flesh is so weak, but He is our strength. That is why there is Grace. It is not something we earned and we certainly don’t deserve it. But Christ died so that we could have forgiveness of our sins and experience restoration back to Him.
As Christians, when we backslide, we are much like a disobedient child. It doesn’t affect our sonship. We are still His children. That will never change. But it does affect our relationship. It creates division between us and the Lord. But Christ is just waiting for us to get our feet and our hearts moving in the right direction again. He is there with open arms. Ready to restore us unto the joy of our salvation.
“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:18)
I am so thankful that God is a God of love and mercy. I am thankful that when I slip and fall, He is there to lift me up and restore me back into full fellowship with Him.