What is a backslider?
Are you a backslider, or do you know someone who is a backslider? Perhaps you aren't even sure what a backslider is. Well, allow me to explain. According to my Oxford Dictionary a backslider is someone who relapses into bad ways or error. That is the general meaning, but when applied to the Christian faith it means to turn away from God - to relapse into your former pre-saved state. A backslider will return to the life of sin that he/she knew before being saved, or maybe even worse. Or if the backslider was saved as a child they may imitate the ways of those they choose to model themselves after. In other words you won't even be able to tell they are Christians at all. They might even deny they ever was a Christian and want nothing to do with Christians, the Bible or Jesus Christ. They are totally lacking any of the signs of being a child of God.
A backslider has turned his back on God and wants nothing to do with Him. Perhaps he/she has totally lost faith in God. Some may become atheists while in this state. A backslider will forsake fellowship with the saints of God. After all, they don't want to be a part of the things they don't believe in anymore. They don't want to hear about prayer, the gifts of the Spirit, evangelizing or finding God's will for one's life. The backslider wants to be around sinners and discuss sin and worldly pleasure.
A backslider has listened too much to the lies of Satan and has begun to believe them and accept them as truth. He/she may believe that the Bible is a book of lies and all Christians are deceived fools that should be pitied and avoided like the plague. Satan has demons assigned to Christians to deceive them and convince them of all kinds of false doctrines and hateful stories. According to the Bible Satan can appear as an angel of light. There are many of the demonic 'angels of light' in our world today. They create false doctrines that sound so nice and fool many people - both the saved and unsaved.
A backslider is someone who did not put on, or keep on, the full armor of God. He/she did not prepare for the spiritual warfare that is constantly going on. The battle of good and evil that started in heaven centuries ago is still waging here on earth and Satan is taking prisoners every day by the thousands. Every day Satan captures Christians who have let their guard down and have been taken hostage. Once in the enemy's camp they are useless as a witness of God's grace and only speak words the demons whisper in their ears. They are themselves then the hands and mouths of Satan to spread his lies and deceptions to others. They become workers of iniquity.
What causes backsliding?
It can be said that several things can lead up to backsliding. In this section we will look at those things.
* The abandoning of fellowship with the saints - Satan likes to use the old trick of warfare - divide and conquer. He loves it when Christians choose to isolate themselves and go their own way. Once this happens he can whisper those lies in their ears and make them sound so right. Remember he did this first in the Garden of Eden and it worked then so he hasn't stopped. It still works for him. He still whispers those lies in our ears. If we are not constantly being fed the truth also then we become vulnerable to his lies and deceptions. In time his lies seem like truth to us. Perhaps we will think of them as a 'new revelation'. Ever heard that term before? In fact many denominations and religions start out just that way.
* The abandonment of prayer - Prayer is so crucial in a Christian's life. In fact it should be done several times a day. Without constant communication with God we lose our way so easily. We need to constantly ask for guidance, confess our sins and intercede for others. If we fail to do this it will be an opportunity for Satan to sneak into our heads with those lies and deceptions. Why give him an open door? Remember, if you give Satan an inch he will take a mile.
* The failure to keep up a regular habit of Bible study - Daily study of the Bible is a good habit to get into. The more scripture we know the less likely we are to believe the lies of Satan. He knows scripture and likes to twist it around and use it against us, so if we don't know what God's Word says we can't know when he is using it as a way to attack our minds and our belief system. Regular Bible study is crucial for Christians.
* Spending too much time indulging in so called 'little sins' until the heart is hardened - This is a big area of concern for Christians. We like to think of our favorite distraction as a 'little sin' or minor indulgence, but with God there is no such thing as a 'little sin'. All sins are bad and will give Satan a way to creep in and take over our minds. What is your 'little sin'? Maybe a lie every now and then? Perhaps a temper tantrum on occasion? An affair with another man or woman? Yelling and/or cursing at telemarketers? Whatever it is you can bet Satan can use that sin to cause you to give in just a little bit more the next time and eventually you can be captured and used as a weapon against the cause of Christ.
* Giving in to lust and going back for more - Lust is a very dangerous thing. Jesus said that if you lust after another it is like committing the sin of adultery outright. How many times have you lusted in your mind? Do you ever find yourself staring at an attractive person who catches your eye? Do your thoughts go into areas that are certainly far from what Christ would have you think about this person? Lust can destroy your spiritual life. Beware of the sin of lust. Satan can use that to ruin your life.
Maybe you think you will never give in to your desires? Perhaps you think those little fantasies will never see the light of day and no one will ever know? Well, let me tell you that those little fantasies are just the beginning, and many affairs that destroyed marriages have begun just that way. Satan loves to put those lustful thought into your head and then tempt you to give in. Beware of lust.
* Not wearing the full armor of God - Ephesians 6: 10-18 reads as follows. 10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Christians, it is warfare. Satan wants to capture you. He knows he can't rob you of your salvation so he wants to destroy your witness and make you live a life of misery if he can. Be on guard; stand your ground. Wear your armor and fight, fight, fight.
* Loss of faith - Many Christians backslide simply because they lose their faith. Maybe they ask God for something and they don't get it so they blame Him. Why? Because Satan tells them God let them down, and they listen. Don't listen to the lies of Satan, Christian. Tell him you will serve the Lord Jesus and him only will you follow.
Can a backslider be forgiven?
A backslider is still a child of God that Jesus died for, and God will gladly welcome him/her back into the fold upon repentance and confession of sin.
In the book of Jeremiah it talks of the backsliding of the Nation of Israel and God's message to them was, “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings...—Jeremiah. 3:22. God doesn't want anyone to be used and abused by Satan, especially his called out ones. So my plea to all backsliders reading this is - Confess your sins to God and he will forgive you and restore you to fellowship with Him. He will raise you up and give back the things Satan stole from you. It's not too late. Humble yourself before God and allow Him to heal you.
Remember the good times when you served God? Remember the close relationship you had with Him? Do you recall the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are in God's will? Think about it. Pray about it. It's not too late.