What is Backsliding? 

Backslider in heart shall be filled with his ways: And a good man shall be satisfied from himself. (Proverbs 14:14, KJV)

Have you ever wondered about the term “backsliding”? It only occurs in the Old Testament, and, though not explicitly named, the concept is also present in the  New Testament  (Luke 9:62). Today, let’s dive into what backsliding means and the sneaky ways it might creep into our lives.

When Solomon speaks of the “backslider in heart” in Proverbs 14:14, he’s using a term Jeremiah first coined to describe Israel turning away from God to serve idols (Jeremiah 3:8). To backslide, in Hebrew, means to “turn back” or be disloyal.

So, what does backsliding look like today? Well, it could be a slow fade in our love for the Lord, a diminishing eagerness in our walk of holiness, a slow waning in our faith,  or even a tiny pull toward worldly things. For a minister, it could be the slow drift from the initial godly vision to serving money, fame, etc. When backsliding is complete or total, it results in what Paul calls falling away or apostasy(2 Thessalonians 2:3). However, we are not concerned about apostasy here but the everyday potential backsliding of a true child of God like you and me, the slow deadening of our fire for God.

Perhaps the clearest illustration is Jesus’s caution to the Ephesian Church: “You have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4, KJV). They’d lost that initial spark, that first blazing love for God they had when they came to faith. Similarly, Jesus also warned the love of many will grow cold—many will backslide( Matthew 24:12).

And it’s not just about love. We can slowly slide back from holy living, faith, earnest service, prayerfulness, commitment, etc. The warning is clear: stay vigilant, brethren, against a slow sliding back into sin, unbelief, lukewarmness, lack of zeal, etc. 

Meditate

Reflect on Revelation 2:4. Do you feel your first love for God fading?

Apply the Word 

Backsliding can happen to any of us, especially as the end times pressure continues to mount. Keep an eye on your walk with God, and don’t let the pressures of life dim your love, faith, or commitment to holy living.

Prayer

Pray for the Holy Spirit’s help safeguarding your heart and actions from backsliding.

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