The Unhappy Backslider
1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.—1 Timothy 2:1-8
Peter speaks of some who through waywardness have gotten so far out of fellowship with God that they have forgotten that they were purged from their old sins. This is a sad state to be in. It is what is commonly called in the Old Testament “backsliding.” “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways” ( Proverbs 14:14). An old preacher I knew as a boy used to say, “Backsliding always begins in the knee.” And this is very true indeed. Neglect of prayer will soon dull the keen edge of one’s spiritual sensibilities and make it easy for a believer to drift into worldliness and carnalities, as a result of which his soul’s eyesight will become dimmed and he will lose the heavenly vision.
The backslider is short-sighted. He sees things of this poor world very vividly, but he cannot see afar off, as he could in the days of his former, happy state. To such comes the exhortation, “Anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Get back to your Bible and back to your knees. Let the Holy Spirit reveal to your penitent heart the point of departure where you left your first love, and judge it definitely before God. Acknowledge the sins and failures that have caused your wanderings. “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation.” And He who is married to the backslider will give you again to know the blessedness of fellowship with Himself, and once more your peace will flow as a river and the full assurance of hope be yours.
As you walk with God, your faith will grow increasingly, your love unto all saints will be greatly enlarged, and the hope laid up for you in heaven will fill the vision of your opened eyes, as your heart is occupied with the Lord Himself who has restored your soul.
For it is well to remember that He Himself is our hope. He has gone back to the Father’s house to prepare a place for us, and He has promised to come again and receive us unto Himself, that where He is we may be also.—Henry Ironside
- Is my “knee bended” in regular times of prayer?
- Who in my life helps to keep me accountable to avoid times of backsliding? When I was the last time I met with them?
Prayer – Father, thank You that You always are with me, even in times when I am trying to run away. I am so thankful for all the times You gently call me back to Yourself. Keep me close to You, Lord! Don’t let me stray far from Your path. Keep me on my knees and in Your Word so I don’t get off track and fall away. In Jesus’ name, Amen.