Fish or Cut Bait: Avoiding the Christian Backslide
As I knelt at the altar of the large church, I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder.
It was my friend Karen* who had followed me up there. Through her gesture, I knew that she was encouraging me on in my walk with God.
And I appreciated her support – probably more than she’ll ever know.
It was college, and I just had been through a difficult season. Karen and I had some good talks in her dorm room that year. She was a ministry major, and I enjoyed the freshness and depth to her faith.
I remember that Karen was committed to fasting on Sundays, a practice that I still have difficulties with. But I admired her for it, and I wondered at her commitment in seeking God through fasting.
It was a few years after graduation when word came to me that Karen and her new husband had fallen from their faith and turned away from God.
I gave Karen a call and we chatted for a bit.
When I asked her where they went to church, she told me that they had not attended for a time.
Her husband later told me that they’d “gone secular.”
Now, I’m always a bit confused when I hear that someone of faith is no longer walking with Christ.
And it always fills me with questions.
I mean, did they just wake up one morning and decide to throw in the towel?
Or … was it something else?
Pete, the tall, curly headed manager at the McDonald’s that I worked at as a teen, was a outspoken Christian.
All the workers knew where he stood with the Lord, and I looked up to him as a mature brother in Christ. He was a great example to me and told me once that his goal was to run a Christian bookstore.
But unfortunately Pete, like my friend Karen, wandered off the path. I remember when one of the managers told me about the changes he saw in Pete. He was genuinely concerned for him, I think, as he talked about the “new” Pete who was now cursing and drinking right along with the rest of them.
We all know that Karen and Pete aren’t the only ones who have abandoned their faith. I don’t think that any of us are immune to the possibility.
God gives all of us free will and we could walk away at any time.
But, if you’re like me, you enjoy your place nestled in the palms of God’s hands. I mean what better place to go through life but “snuggled in tight” with the family of God?
Nothing could make me turn away, and the Bible says that no one can snatch us out of his hand. So I’m good right?
Not so fast, you might say.
There’s always the hazard of drifting. If we’re not careful, the tides of life can shake us away from our moorings.
Before we know it, we may find ourselves far away from Him and on some alluring distant shore.
Late last night when my husband was doing some channel surfing, he landed for a few minutes on the preaching of Dr. David Jeremiah who was speaking about “The Dangers of Drifting.”
Jeremiah says we drift because of preoccupation. “It is so easy to fall prey to the busyness of life and lose our perspective on Christ,” said Jeremiah. “When we become preoccupied with life to the extent that we we have little time to develop our spiritual core then drifting is inevitable.”
I think that drifting can be sneaky because there’s not anything we do to make it happen. It’s more a danger of inactivity in our walk with God.
Jeremiah explains it this way: “Drift -- the word itself is passive. It is a word that should be connected to the word neglect in the passage. How do I become a cold hearted Christian? Don’t do anything. Don’t come to church. Don’t read your Bible. Don’t pray. Don’t go to small groups. Don’t serve God. Don’t, don’t, don’t. All you got to do is don’t, don’t, don’t.”
Hmmm…the thought of drifting makes me want to make sure that I stay alert in my faith -- daily making sure my moorings are secure.
Fish or cut bait? Daily we face the choice.
When it comes to faith … I’m “going fishin’.”
How about you?
*Karen’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.
Hear Dr. David Jeremiah preach on the Dangers of Drifting by clicking here.
Here are some Bible verses that'll help you on your journey:
Hebrews 2:1 New Living Translation
So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.
Ephesians 4:14 New Living Translation
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
Matthew 7:13-14 New Living Translation
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.