Prov 14:14 says, “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways”.
The backslider… What is a backslider? Hos 4:16 says, “Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer”. I have a mental image of a heifer sliding backwards down a wet bank or ramp.
When you think of backsliding, what comes to mind? A kid that grew up in church and then turned to the world. A sinner who was saved out of sin and then, over time, returned to the sins from which he had been saved. In both of these examples you’re imaging a person who is now far from the Lord and deep in sin.
The fact is that whether you are at the bottom sliding into a gutter, or you’re at the top sliding back, even if you are still looking good, you are backslidden. Think about it. Backsliding is simply this, sliding back from where you are.
In heart. Backsliding begins in the heart. You become cool to the things of the Lord. Your prayers become less fervent. Your Bible reading becomes less interesting. You’re not telling anyone about Jesus. You have little to nothing for which to praise the Lord. You forget to pray over a meal. Any number of things like these are indications that your heart is beginning to cool toward the Lord. You are a backslider.
Of course, what starts in the heart works its way out into your actions. Soon, you’re missing a service at church now and then. You’re preoccupied with work and kids’ sports and stuff. One thing and another. And you go deeper and deeper into sin; much further back than you ever imagined you would go.
Shall be. The thing about backsliding is that you don’t begin to reap the consequences of your backsliding right away. The Bible says, “shall be”. If you light the fuse on a keg of powder, you just see a little flame on the fuse. But give it time to get to the keg and you’re going to see a massive explosion. There will be plenty of fireworks when that happens. It’s just a matter of time.
Filled with his own ways. Backsliding, when it starts, is hardly discernible unless you are walking closely with the Lord. When you are close to him, you can sense that you’re cooling off, just like turning on a little more cold water in the shower.
But if you don’t catch yourself early, you will be filled… with your own ways. And these can be much worse than you know. The trouble with being filled with your own ways is that you have to dig your way out of the muck and the mire of the mess you have made. This can take years. It can be so hard that some men just give up and say to heck with it.
Don’t backslide. If you have even just begun to backslide, turn back to the Lord now. It’s much easier to get right, now, than it will be even a week from now or worse yet a year from now. Examine your heart tonight and see if there is anything between you and the Lord that indicates you are beginning to backslide in heart. If there is, turn from that thing now and continue growing with the Lord. There is no neutral with Jesus. You are either growing forward in your relationship or you are backsliding.
For more on this subject see Backsliding.