“Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” [Romans 7:25]
Backsliding may be good for us. Yes, I know that sentence might come as a bit of a surprise to most of us. But think about it. Backsliding is an opportunity for true spiritual growth. Why do I say this? Because it marks our total surrender to the fact that we are totally unable to please God through our actions. So, in backsliding, we are essentially giving up trying to do right by our own effort, right? Remember the last time you backslid? Maybe when you became a Christian, there are some habits that you dropped. These include sins like drinking, watching pornography etc. The excitement of the new found freedom gave you an unnatural sense of resolve. You attributed this delivery to your salvation. In other words, these were some of the landmarks of your salvation testimony and the turning points of your conversion story.
But days later, or years later, the excitement waned and you fell away. You found yourself helplessly drifting back into those old habits. You’ve tried so hard to overcome them and you no longer can. It seems as if the power that had helped you overcome it the first time is no longer there. The drive is gone, the zeal is gone. So what do you do? You quit. You give up trying to be good. You quit trying to overcome. You give up trying to free yourself from these sins. Salvation becomes too hard for you and so, you quit it. You give up on trying to “stay saved.” You backslide.
[[ #Please note, by backsliding, I am referring to everything BUT the denial of Jesus Christ’s person or position as Lord and Savior. Most of the people who”backslide” still believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for their sins. They just find Christianity (as a religion) to be too hard and too restrictive. However, this is often as a result of ignorance of what it means to be born again and a Christian. #]]
But what has really happened here? Have you lost your salvation? Have you stopped believing? Have you lost your faith in Jesus? ….
I suggest that what you have lost is not your faith in God, but your faith in your own ability to do good. You have decided to quit and have acknowledged that you are desperately helpless in the fight against your own flesh. This may sound radical, but what has happened is that you have not lost your salvation, you have stopped trying to save yourself. You have found out that “I’m a stay saved” is easier said than done. You are giving into the realization that you are totally unable to do right. That you are not able to be perfect.
Backsliding is giving up on the legalistic Christian life because it has proven to be too hard, and practically impossible to maintain. I personally believe that there is a way in which God intends for people to backslide. Why? Because that’s the time He comes in and slides us back to the realization that we are saved by Grace alone and justified by Faith alone. Backsliding is a chance for us to rectify our view of God as a God of great Grace. Backsliding is a time to re-focus our lenses and embrace Grace-dependent growth. This is because it forces us to grow on His terms and not ours; it forces us to grow in humility, not pride; it reminds us that no victory is worth celebrating if it is not victory accredited to Christ alone.
There are many sins that you are dealing with right now as a Christian. As a matter of fact, you often find yourself dealing with addictions and struggles that even unbelievers are not dealing with. That ought to be a sign and a cause for you to ponder. The next time you want to or find yourself backsliding, ask yourself: what is really happening? Are you falling away… or are you failing forward?
~ Ngare ~