Backsliding: a process by which a Christian reverts to pre-conversion habits and/or lapses or falls into sin. Basically, when a person turns from God to pursue their own desires.
Hold on to your hats guys because I’m about to say something I never thought I would – this summer, I was a backslider. Let me explain.
Backsliding is probably one of the dirtiest words in Christian circles. It’s said in hushed tones, loaded with disapproval, and the person they’re talking about probably slept with their boyfriend or had drunk pictures of themselves all over Facebook. But for me, it wasn’t like that – I didn’t lose my values and I didn’t lose my faith – I lost my proximity to God.
How? Why? It started with me just needing a break. I served a lot in church (I pretty much lived in the building) and when I came home, one Sunday away from church became a month. However, a break from church doesn’t equate to a break from God. But in my head, they were the same thing. I failed to make time for God because I was “busy”, it wasn’t convenient and most importantly, I wasn’t surrounded by my church friends so there was no pressure.
But let me tell you the dangerous thing about backsliding – on the surface, your life feels no different. You know what you should be doing – you should be going to church, you should be reading your bible, you should be praying – yet when you don’t, nothing happens. Thunder doesn’t come from the sky and smite you; you still have your friends and your health. On the surface things are going well, but spiritually, you’re falling apart.
In God’s presence, you are receiving healing and breakthrough, and you become ‘fixed’ and everything is better. But that ‘better’ remains only because of your closeness to God and when you fall away that breakthrough, that healing, those miracles, recede. Suddenly you’re regressing and not progressing. But why? It’s because Jesus is the cement that holds you together and that cement strengthens over time through prayer. When you stop praying and when you stop pressing in, everything falls apart.
And it was only when I forced myself back into a state of worship and repentance before God that I realised the damage two months away from Him had caused. That inner strength I had spent a year forming, the healing I received, the pain that was taken away and all the vision I had been blessed with, had weakened.
Spiritually I wasn’t the same person that I was before. But here’s the amazing thing about God. I wasn’t too far gone that He wouldn’t welcome me home. I went home this summer knowing that I would be tested, and I didn’t think that I was going to fail. But I’m glad I did, because until you know that you will never be the best version of yourself without God, you’re never really going to appreciate Him.
Without the protection of God in my life, I felt attacked at every turn and sin looked more appealing. But I was strong, and I didn’t go back to how I used to live life. However, not everybody does, and that’s why I’m sharing this. I could keep this to myself and play the devout Christian who never once faltered. However, as the Bible says, through testimony we overcome (Rev 12:11).
Take my testimony as a prompt to pick up your Bible more, to pray more and to take God into your life completely. We live in a world focused on excess, but only God can give us abundance.
Lord I thank you for your grace, and that you are a God of mercy and forgiveness. God, shine through my words. Take the focus away from what I’ve just shared and put the spotlight on your heavenly nature, and on the undeniable fact that there is no life without you, and that you are all that we need.
By Rhesa Ojomoh