The symptoms of spiritual decline are like those which attend the decay of bodily health. It generally begins with a loss of appetite … for wholesome food, prayer, reading the Scriptures, and devotional books. Wherever you notice these symptoms, be alarmed, for your spiritual health is in danger; apply immediately to the great Physician for a cure.—Payson

We are backsliders, you who read this, and I, who write.  The only unknown factors are the level to which we backslide and whether or not we repent.  According to the online “Free Dictionary” backsliding consists of reverting to sin or wrongdoing, especially in religious practice.  Even now, you are likely trying to justify to yourself that you do not qualify as a backslider.  Don’t forget what John tells us in his first epistle; “Saying we have no sin is deceiving ourselves and in saying we have not sinned, we make Christ a liar and His word is not within us.” (1 John 1:8, 10) 

We need to know that we aren’t unique; God’s people have always been backsliders.  The nation of Israel is known for their numerous departures from the ways of God, and it would seem that we in America are repeating this same cycle.  As a nation, we have demonstrated a distinct departure from the ways of God.  Some seem to believe that a need for God is an outdated notion and that His ways are archaic or insensitive.  We are guilty of allowing some to declare knowing how better to lead our lives than the Creator God.  What audacity! 

It is past time for the silent majority of professed Christians to step up and be heard, to reverse this loss of appetite for spiritual values.  We need to be reminded that we cannot please God by turning away from Him and His ways (1 Ki 11:9; Heb 11:6).  We must heed the call Jesus had for the church at Ephesus to return to our first love (Rev 2:4) and to hold to the simple teaching of the Gospel, refusing to be decieved by an enemy seeking to devour unsuspecting souls (2 Cor 11:3; 1 Pet 5:8).  One has only to read Psalm 78:59 to know God’s feelings about those who turn from Him.  We must never forget though, that He is always ready to receive His own back, if and when they desire to.  This promise is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 “…and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  (NAS)

Copyright © 2010, Nolan P. Rutter

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