“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Soren Kierkegaard
When I was younger I remember my great grandmother and I engaging in various conversations and even though my great grandmother had but a sixth grade education she had what is called horse sense and she had more than her fair share at that.
If something significant were happening in my life or I got a job promotion or a new opportunity came along we would discuss it with some excitement and anticipation of further progress. These kind of conversations made sense to both of us.
We had good communication and that fairly regularly.
I recall over the course of several years, when I had taken a wrong course of action, the voice of wisdom that echoed from her lips would reprove me with these words:
"You're going backwards instead of forwards."
Now common sense tells us nobody wants to go backwards if you are in a race and the Christian life is compared to a race (Hebrews 12:1). Your goal is to move forward with fast action so as to win the race. Sometimes we are to "walk circumspectly" (Eph 5:16-17) Hearing the words "You're going backwards instead of forwards" from a significant relative can be nothing short of humiliating and even disheartening to one who was as proud as I was at the time. Imagine after trying to better yourself over many years and thinking you are making some progress you hear from your father, mother, sister, brother or a friend that "You're going backwards instead of forwards." How would you react?
The Bible has another word for this backward motion. Do you know what it is called? It's called backsliding and backsliding isn't a good thing. Backsliding is what the nation of Israel did many many times. They repeated this process and got so good at it that God turned them over to their enemies into who took them captive and eventually after Jesus arrived during His first advent God destroyed them in A. D. 70 by having the Romans under Titus burn Jerusalem thus destroying their city but not before warning them through the prophets God sent to them. Because of Israel's continued disobedience and rebellion the Lord had to rebuke His people over and over again with such words at these:
"And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah" Jeremiah 3:11
Backsliding takes place in the heart (Proverbs 14:14) and may manifest itself in various ways such as cursing, drinking, lying or other forms of disobedience to God's laws. This is why it is vitally important to guard our heart as God commands us for "out of it are the issues of life." Indeed memorizing the following verse can help remind you of this terrible sin and to avoid it by God's provision of grace. Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to "Keep your heart with diligence for out of it are the issues of life."
If you want to live your life forward then always, always keep in mind the dangers of backsliding or going backwards. When you run a race you must run it in a forward motion. Even the fastest runners who can run backwards are no match for the runners who run forward. This is obvious from an anatomical perspective. God designed humans to move forward and put eyes on our faces and not in the back of our heads. Try running forward and looking backwards often enough and you'll likely stumble or run smack into something that doesn't feel so good. Yes, God wants us to keep our eyes straight ahead and not look back to the sinful pleasures of the past. What happened when Lot's wife looked back after being told not to do so? She became a pillar of salt which was a picture of God's judgment upon her failure to obey God's word. This is serious brethren. Let that phrase "Remember Lot's Wife" echo loudly in your ears. God doesn't play games with us or lead us astray. We are lead astray when we fail to know and believe God's word. If we do not obey God's word then we do not believe it. To believe is to obey when understood in the light of the Bible.
Now here is something to take note of in this matter of backsliding. You do not normally backslide quickly but rather slowly over a period of time so that it is practically unnoticeable until you reach a point of almost complete apostasy.
You become like the proverbial frog in the pot. The frog doesn't know the he is being boiled alive at first because the temperature is cool but gradually as the water heats up the frog stays in until it is cooked alive. Satan is clever and if he can gain a stronghold in your heart or life then he will take more and more ground gradually. That's the key...gradually. Before you know it you are a defeated foe and ripe for God's judgment. This is a most serious matter brethren and I pray you take this matter seriously too if you love your soul.
A backslider's condition can be hidden behind a facade of religious teachings or a lifestyle of hypocrisy which so deceives the backslider that he slays himself unknowingly by his deceitful heart which is desperately wicked. "For the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9
Turn to 2 Kings 17:1-23 and you will discover the wickedness of ancient Israel and God's warning and testifying against this wicked people.
17:13: "Turn you from your evil ways, and keep the commandments and my statues, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets."
vs 14 "notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks
vs 15 "they rejected his statues, and his covenant...they followed vanity and became vain
vs 16 "they left all the commandment of the LORD their God, and made them molten images
vs 17 "they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire... used divination and enchantments and sold themselves to do evil..."
Many Christians who read the Bible think that King Saul was a righteous man but there's an abundance of evidence that proves otherwise, for example we read in 1 Samuel 15:10-11
"Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel saying, 11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night."
Solomon is a case that is curious to ponder. Solomon is never mentioned in the Hall of Faith chapter of Hebrews 11 but this in itself is no reason to think he wasn't a child of God who entered heaven. While Solomon started out on the right path we know that his many strange wives caused him to worship other gods which was a sin. Only God knows for certain if Solomon died a true believer.
In the New Testament we are warned to "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." Hebrews 3:12 From this and many other scriptures we know it is possible to backslide or go backwards in our walk with God. At the end our your life do you wish to be walking with God or walking contrary to God's law? To walk contrary to God's law means we are in rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ and so must expect to hear those frightening words
found in Matthew 7:23 "Depart from me ye that work iniquity."
Iniquity is rebellion or lawlessness.
We find that Demas who was once a fellow laborer in the gospel with saint Paul had forsaken his ministry in the gospel for we read of him "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia." 2 Timothy 4:10
For many years I loved the world and didn't even know it. Never do I even recall a pastor preaching on 1 John 2:15 which exhorts us "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
1 John 2:15
Here we are told that if any man or woman loves the world then the love of the Father is not in him. This means they are lost and are not doing the will of God. Clearly the will of God is to not love the world so to love the world entertainment such as circuses, amusement parks like Disneyland, soap operas, situation comedies, professional sports (idolatry) bodybuilding contests etc which all glorify the creature rather than the creator is a violation of the will of God.
You can be certain you are backsliding and falling back on a slippery slope if you fail to obey scriptures such as Romans 12:1-2
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
We are commanded to be holy and perfect which means to be set apart to God and set apart from this evil world which Christ came to deliver us from.
"Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father." Galatians 1:4
Yes, to love the world is a indication we are not born again. I know this sounds harsh and judgmental but it is from the world of God and we must listen and obey God's word or we are in danger of hell fire.
"For this is God's will, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality." 1 Thess. 4:3
In summary backsliding is a perilous condition of heart which leads us to transgress God's commandments and is an act of high treason against the most holy Lord of the universe who died that we might have life and peace in Him.
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching.
See his videos on http://www.youtube.com Type LAStreetPreacher in the search bar. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.