Backsliding when a Christian finds herself or himself going backwards in her or his walk with God instead of moving forwards. Someone once said that if you’re not moving forwards, you are most certainly moving backwards. There are a number of key areas where we can guard our hearts and our minds to ensure that we can keep temptation at bay, and ensure that we do continue walking forwards.
When people look at sin, they often think of a physical act, but when you look at the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:28, it is clear that sin is even so much as a conception of a thought! The physical fruit of conceived sin in the mind is to act it out; whether that is an affair, whether it is financial greed or whether it is disobedience to God’s will in your life; regardless of what it is, remember that the act is simply a bad fruit of the conceived thought process. Normally we can break sin relating into the hunger for all or one of the 3 G's: Gold, Girls/Guys or Glory. We need to know how to guard against temptation in each of these three areas.
Knowing this, how do we guard ourselves from falling into temptation, from backsliding and moving away from who God has called us to be? Well there are a number of key points. First, we need to recognize that we are not called to "act;" we are called to "be". Gifting is so important to the body of Christ, but when you read Paul’s exhortations about leaders in 1 Timothy 3 it is clear to see that our character and our fruit (also outlined in Galatians 5:22 and in Matthew) is of paramount importance. If we understand that our ministry to family and to the Lord comes first, then we will soon be able to put things into perspective. It is by our fruit that we will be known; I don't know about you, but I couldn't care less how good my preaching is, my primary focus is to get that fruit right in my life!
What is the price we will have to pay? Well to begin with, what about the phone calls in the evening that are of great importance? What about that church council meeting, what about that outreach? All these things are secondary to ministering to the Lord and ministering to our families. What does “ministering” mean? Is it prayer? Of course, but actually, I believe it is far more that that. It is washing dishes when our spouse is tired, it is going shopping for food when we have been out all day, it is cleaning the bathroom or taking our children to their school play or their sports activities. These are basic, but primary points that we need to grasp hold of in order to keep us intact and in the place where we can receive from God. A place of tiredness, exhaustion, poor diet, poor conversation with our families and friends is not good ground for good fruit to grow.
Another key to preventing backsliding is remembering that we are not called because we are qualified, but we are qualified because we are called out of good fruit and good stewardship of our relationships. Let's manage our time effectively, make it productive and prioritize the right things and people in our lives. Stopping the backsliding comes when we notice where we could fall short, and we then act to put boundaries in place to keep us in line and in solid accountability with those nearest and dearest to us in order to prevent backsliding.