I was talking with someone the other day. Years ago she spent every Sunday in church, taught children’s church, read the Bible daily and prayed “all the time.” She said, “I don’t know what happened. Next thing I know years have gone by, my kids and grand-kids don’t want anything to do with God and me living the Christian life is a distant memory.”
Christ said, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). Iniquity abounding means that sin is all around. Many times it does not start with the Christian, but it surrounds them, and the Christian is slowly reeled into indifference. Often, this condition will begin with sins of omission. They will stop reading the Bible, stop praying, quit going to church. Subtlety years will go by, sins of commission creep in, and the Christian life becomes a distant memory.
What are some of the causes of a Christian slipping away from the Christian life?
LACK OF SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP
Shortly after the children of Israel left Egypt they reached Mt. Sinai. Moses went up the Mount for forty days. Before he returned, Israel had fallen into sin breaking all the ten commandments. When stating why they should turn to other gods, the reason they gave was that they did not know what had become of Moses (Exodus 32:1-8).
Sometimes the lack of spiritual leadership is caused by a Christian’s refusal to accept leadership, at other times, it is due to the leader falling into sin, as a Pastor running off with the church secretary or stealing from the church coffers.
A LACK OF FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRISTIANS
Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived. He wrote most of the book of Proverbs telling us how to live the spiritual life; he also wrote the book of Ecclesiastes which explains the human condition. It was Solomon, not taking his own council, marrying ungodly women and as a result he followed false gods (1 Kings 11:4).
When Christians marry non-Christians, it will almost always lead to the Christian life becoming “a distant memory.” The fellowship of a Christian marriage goes a long way of keeping the Christian life alive and well in both husband and wife.
LACK OF DEPTH IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Luke 8:13, “They on the rock are they which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.”
LOVE FOR THE WORLD
Paul speaks of Demas falling away because he “loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10).
Christ explained that loving the Father and our neighbor is where all the commandments “hang.” Our relationship with God, living the Christian life, living a decent, happy life hangs on our ability to love God and our neighbor. Loving the world is the polar opposite of loving God. The more love we have for the world, the quicker we will fall into sin – sins of omission and sins of commission.
Loving God and our neighbor is so important to living the Christina life the only church Christ threatens to “remove” is the church of Ephesus who had “left thy first love” (Revelation 1:17-2:8).
If you are reading this and the Christian life is a distant memory, more than likely you’ve left your first love. God has promised never to leave you (Hebrews 13:5) and always to love you (Romans 8:38-39).
To revive that relationship with God you long for, start doing the things you are omitting. Start praying. Ask God to put more love for Him in your heart – ye have not, because ye ask not (James 4:2).
Get into the Scriptures. Read the Bible daily, study it often; this is how God will talk to you. Find a church that preaches the truth, holding fast to the word of God. Attend whenever the doors are open – get involved.
Confess your sins to God and stop doing them. As time goes by and you regain your love for God, your love for sin will diminish, and it will be easier to give up the things you shouldn’t be doing.
Please keep in mind, this week’s column is to Christians who have backslidden over time, the advice above is not the way of salvation. Salvation only comes through faith, living the Christian life only comes after salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10).