Today at coffee, a few of us sat around and had a discussion about backsliding.

The question came up, “What is backsliding?” Here are a few of the answers.

One person though backsliding was a condition of not doing what you were supposed to do as a Christian, but it didn’t effect your salvation… Your heart was still with God.

Another insisted that being backslidden was simply getting mad, or acting out in the flesh. In other words: any action which is not directed by Christ is backsliding.

Is disobedience to God a state of being backslidden?

Here we have two examples but do they address the issue of backsliding?
Backsliding is a spiritual condition which manifests itself in the physical as disobedience.

The spiritual condition is one of turning away from God.
The physical is written of as the fruit of the flesh.

It is a conscious decision to seek your own way and return to something God has set you free from, while professing that you know who God is. Some of the best examples I can think of include:

  • You and God are just not seeing eye-to-eye
  • You’ll get around to God later
  • Something bad has happened in your life, and unless/until God explains it to you, you are not gonna pay attention to Him

The dictionary defines a backslide as: “relapse into bad ways or error”.

it defines the opposite of backslide as “persevere”. Have you hear that one before – perseverance?

Words used to convey the same meaning as backslide include: relapse, lapse, regress, weaken, lose one’s resolve, go astray, leave the straight and narrow, fall off the wagon.

Having known quite a few people who returned to drug/alcohol use after they quit, they referred to their experience as a “relapse”.
The question I had for them is the same I pose now: “Was your spiritual ‘new life’ real”?

Did you ever really surrender to God what is God’s?

Have we ever really pondered the answer Jesus gave to the pharisees about taxes? Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Give to God what is God’s. When the pharisees heard Him answer, they backed away, and never publicly asked Jesus another question. And what is God’s? Anything short of everything is the wrong answer.

If you have given it all to God, and you are listening to His call, reading His Word, empowered by His Spirit, doing the things He planned for you to do since before time began, when do you have time to fall away?
Assuming you love Him, how would you have to change your life in order to grow estranged from the one you love?

We could look at it in the physical if you want:
Maybe we could become blind, and not see our true love. Or perhaps we could grow deaf and not hear our true love. Perhaps we could have a trauma, and lose our ability to remember our true love.
Would God allow us to forget Him?

In the spiritual realm can we be blinded to His truth? Or deaf to His voice? Can we lose the ability to remember Him at all?
I believe we can become all those things and more but only on one condition – His spirit must be kicked out, diminished, removed or never allowed to enter us for us to suffer from spiritual blindness, deafness, amnesia or worse.

If we have gone astray and backslidden, did we ever really know Him?

Can I be a backslidden nuclear physicist, having never been a nuclear physicist in the first place?

If He is our Lord, sitting on the throne of our life – do we rebel, and then continue in that rebellion without feeling the loss? Can we look Him in the eye, shrug, and go about our own way with a clean conscious?
Can we backslide? If we returned to God after backsliding, do we return to the same relationship we had?

Great things to ponder in your private time with God. I pray you will take the time to seek Him in these matters.

Here are the scriptures I referenced for a Men’s Group discussion on this topic.