Monday, 25 July 2016

Backsliders in Heart

Jeremiah 3 v 22: "Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God."

Hebrews 4 v 11: "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after that same example of unbelief."

If you are standing still in your relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ, ie not growing or doing things with and for Jesus, then you are backsliding in heart. The Holy Spirit is constantly moving within us to change us into the likeness of Jesus. If we stubbornly refuse to move our vibrant fellowship with God stagnates.

Stagnant water is not fresh. It gets scummy and has a bad smell. Death creeps into it and its former life disappears. So it is with our souls. The Living Water of Jesus constantly flows until we deliberately dam up that stream.

We don't have time to fellowship with God or other Christians; we neglect to study our Bibles; our prayer life fades away and old habits and little sins resurface and things go back to how they were before we were born again.  When we stop making an effort because a prayer request wasn't answered in the way we expected, that's when trouble starts.

The root of this problem is unbelief. Paul calls it an evil heart of unbelief. Before you became a believer you lived in unbelief. That is when Jesus is not real to you and you can ignore people who are praying for your salvation. Unbelief is a deliberate decision to reject God and His Word and just do your own thing.

In Matthew 7 Jesus said that many follow the broad way that leads to death but very few find the strait (moral and disciplined) and narrow (distractions removed) way that leads to life.  It's a choice we have to make and sometimes extremely difficult, especially when you have come out of a false religion to walk with Jesus.  It has cost many their lives.  But they would rather die than give up their only hope of salvation.

Jesus said He would never leave us once we put our lives in His hands. Even when we backslide He stays and tries to draw us back. He longs for our company and to converse with us but we become dull of hearing.  Our ears and minds are so full of what men are saying and our own opinions that we become deaf to the voice that matters above all others. The voice of the Saviour trying to guide us through the pitfalls of this world.

Pharoah did not listen when God sent Moses and Aaron to plead with him to release the Jews to their own land to worship Almighty God. He brought Egypt to ruin with his hard heart of unbelief. Until the angel of death took that which was dearest to him, his own son.  Then Pharoah gave way to God's will, but shortly thereafter changed his mind and pursued them.  It gave Almighty God more opportunities to do miracles like part the Red Sea, and after the Jews were safely across, He closed it over the Egyptian army, drowning them all.

Will you keep hardening your heart until the pond scum of death has to wreak havoc in your life? Will you wait until plagues fall on your dwelling before you start to really believe in the majesty of Jesus? Will you ignore people who are sent to show you the true path until you hit rock bottom because you think you know best?

Take a step back and look at your situation in life. Is Jesus the centre of your life? Or does He take a back seat to rugby, tennis, golf, spouse, children, job, drugs, alcohol, partying, music, cars, TV, boats, sex, idols or money in your life? The results of Jesus not being centremost is disarray.

Disarray most assuredly describes the consequence of unbelief and backsliding. Things are not running as smoothly as they should. Debts mount up, people you rely on let you down, your children are unruly, sickness disturbs your peace of mind, your inner harmony has left the building.

Pilgrim, if you are wallowing in the Slough of Despond, you need to evict yourself out of there at high speed and get back on the path of righteousness. Dust off your Bible, repent of your unbelief and renew your commitment to God. Pray for the Lord to forgive your neglect of the relationship with Him and make your life clean before Him again.

Jesus loves you and the Father is waiting for His prodigals to return from the pigpen of sin. There will be no condemnation just joy for the backslider's return to the fold.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there is such joy in our hearts to be in Your presence. Yet we stray back into darkness and lose that love and peace. You sent Your Light, Jesus, into the world to draw us back to You. Let us believe and receive Your salvation so we live in harmony with You and the family of God. In Jesus' name. Amen.