So how do we keep from backsliding, and once we find ourselves in such a state how do we get back? The answer is simple but the execution is not always easy. It dovetails with trying to figure out God’s will for our lives. I’ve written this before but it bears repeating: so many Christians struggle with trying to figure out God’s will for their lives. Well, do you do what you already know what God wants you to do? If you know what God wants you to do, then do what He wants you to do. Jesus said:
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
When I backslide it is because I am not keeping Jesus’ commandments, and if I am going to take this to its Biblical and logical conclusion, then I must confess that I do not keep Jesus’ commandments because I do not love Him. At very best I may indeed love Him, but not more than I love myself or this world.
We have to learn to die to ourselves and always give Christ first place in our lives. I cannot give into my designs or desires; I must give preeminence to Christ. Paul taught the Colossian church this very lesson:
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:9-14)
Paul says we must “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” This goes back to doing what God has already shown us so that we can become disciplined in making Christ first in our lives. The reason we do this is found in verse 10, “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
In other words, by practicing obedience to the Lord, which is walking worthy of Him, I will please Him and be fruitful in all my works for Him. That’s right, I need to be doing things for the Lord and His people to be fruitful. After this comes an increase in my knowledge of God. Warren Wiersbe puts it this way:
Practical obedience means pleasing God, serving Him, and getting to know Him better. Any doctrine that isolates the believer from the needs of the world around him is not spiritual doctrine. Evangelist D.L. Moody often said, “Every Bible should be bound in shoe-leather.”
Here’s a recipe for backsliding: stop serving in Church, stop going to Church, stop reading your bibles, stop praying, stop meditating on God’s word, begin slip sliding away.
We grow in Christlikeness through practical obedience. You don’t get it by drinking some 5-hour spiritual drink or becoming a disciple in three easy steps. You grow into it, just like Jesus did:
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52)
Our practical obedience must include regular Bible reading…
“… as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:2-3)
Again, this is not something that happens instanteously but is a spiritual process, a pilgrimage if you will:
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” (2 Peter 1:5-9)
I had more verses to share, but having just read the above passage again, I feel strongly led to rest here and study a while. Beloved, here we have discovered the antidote for backsliding: spiritual growth. The Apostle Peter has given us a roadmap for spiritual growth and I want us to take a closer look at it. I think we should dissect it verse by verse, and clause by clause.
Agreed? Then we shall do so the next time we meet.
May you all have a blessed weekend and please remember to go to church on Sunday.
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Copyright © 2013 David Jeffers