Meet Me at the Playground: Let's Slide
I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out, for I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do, this I keep on doing.
Romans 7:18, 19
Our Girl Scout troop had enjoyed sliding down the largest slide at our city park. At noon we left to eat our picnic lunch in another area.
Some boys came along and rubbed the slide with wax paper to make it slicker. I was the first scout to slide down it after we came back. Ouch! I landed on my rear after unexpectedly zooming down the slide. That was what I would call quick sliding. Today I’m going to address backsliding.
I used to think that the term, backsliding, was a modern church term. Not so. God used this term in messages He gave to two prophets.
Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet because his message to the kingdoms of Israel and Judah was nothing but judgment. The two kingdoms had forsaken God and been unfaithful to Him. One of his messages from God was this: “Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding” (Jeremiah 3:22).
Another prophet, Ezekiel, spoke for God. The Israelites were in captivity in Babylon. Jeremiah had reluctantly prophesied this captivity. Now Ezekiel was giving them words of hope. God gave this message to Ezekiel for the people: “They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel: 37:23).
Backsliding means going back into old ways. When Christians give their lives to Christ, they want to walk in His ways. Along the path of life the old ways call and back we go into old habits.
It may simply mean that you don’t spend time with God at church or in His Word. It could be an old habit you freed yourself from only to return to it.
I can think of one habit I have banned in my life only to backslide time and time again. I know I am not to judge others, yet I often find myself doing this very thing. I need to remember that because of Christ’s death on the cross, God forgave me, and I won’t face judgment from Him. How can I judge others?
God promised His chosen people that He would cure and save them from backsliding. He gives us hope also. No temptation has over taken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Let’s search our hearts today. Have we taken back an old habit or desire that is displeasing to God? Remember that He will help you if you confess your backsliding and depend on Him to help you.
Dear Father, Help us refrain from backsliding. Thank You for giving us the promise of a way out when we are tempted.