Proverbs 14:14 – “The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied with his.” NASB
You may never have asked that question, but I have. It has troubled me in my years of ministry that some seem to drift away from God and turn back as a hog returning to wallowing in the mud. Why would anyone, after tasting the sweetness and peace of Salvation turn back and away from God?
Although I want to give a few possible reasons, I acknowledge that there is probably no definitive and exhaustive answer to the question. That, however, does not preclude the need to ask and answer as best we can, “Why Are There Backsliders?” If this helps one person avoid that pitfall it is worth the time and effort. A healthy relationship with God is worth more than all this world’s goods combined. So, let’s tackle this briefly and highlight a few potential reasons for this problem.
Number One, The Absence of Spiritual Leaders is one potential problem. I find that in studying the Old Testament and the nation of Israel that when Moses stayed on the mountain with God too long for their comfort, they turned to idols. Hosea, warned, “My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge.” Jesus instructed in John 8:32, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” The apostle Paul, in Romans 10 informed us that to believe we must hear and to hear we must have someone bring the word to us and in verse seventeen he said, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
The absence of Spiritual Leaders opens the door to a spirit of indifference. When the ministry becomes more a profession than a calling that door is swung wide for the enemy to enter, discourage, distract, and shift the focus of the people. When there is no clear proclamation of God’s Truth souls are left undernourished and unfed. In that situation, new converts, if there are any, are improperly rooted and anchored in the Word of God.
The need for spiritual leadership is incredibly important and vital for the health of the Church and the individual believer. We need spiritual leaders who will fearlessly and faithfully teach and preach the Word of God, give guidance in holy living, and provide support and encouragement in times of difficulty, testing, and trial. I have prayed for a long time, “LORD, give us more Elijah’s, Elisha’s, and Paul’s.” We need more, true spiritual leaders, we don’t need more hirelings.
Number Two, is Evil Associations. The Bible is filled in both Testaments with warnings of associations with the ungodly and evil persons. We discover in 2 Kings 11 how Solomon’s wives turned his heart away from God. Lot, in a major way, lost his influence on the inhabitants of Sodom. Ungodly company, activities, and surrounds have a way of penetrating the consecration. We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 to “shun the very appearance of evil.”
Number Three, is Worldly Success. No, I am not opposed to success or trying to preach against personal prosperity in this world. It is not just prosperity but success on any front that can open the door to backsliding. Remember in 2 Chronicles 25 how Amaziah’s victories in battle opened the door for him to turn to strange gods. Israel, on more than one occasion, turned to strange gods in a time when they experienced great victories militarily.
With success comes the responsibility of stewardship. Some have been richly blessed only to grow cold in their hearts and trusting the wealth and success rather than God. If it important that we always remember Who prospered us. It is imperative that we maintain an attitude of gratitude and honor the one who prospered us and follow Him fully.
Number Four, could be Shallowness Spiritually. I suggest that you restudy and rehearse the story of Jesus in Luke 18 about the sower and the seed on rocky soil, good soil, etc. We need to invest ourselves in a daily study of God’s Word and allow that Word to become integrated into our thinking and being. That’s why we need the full armor of God.
Number Five, could be Love of This World. Paul lamented in 2 Timothy 4:10, “Demas has forsaken me for the love of this present world.” We are warned in 1 John 2:15 to, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” That passage reminds us of the truth that if the love of the world takes top place in our hearts and minds it crowds out our love for God, not His love for us. The Scripture teaches that where our heart is that is where our treasure is.
My suggestion is, as you go through each day, ask the help of the Holy Spirit to keep your mind stayed on Jesus and keep looking to the author and finisher of our Faith. Reject the offerings of this world when they try to crowd out the things of God. Your soul is worth more than any momentary pleasure, vengeance, or monetary prosperity.
God bless you as you press into His presence and live in the abundant life Jesus came to bring and has brought!