Signs You’re Backsliding

By Vladimir Savchuk | December 21, 2023 | 5 mins

Signs You’re Backsliding

In our journey of faith, it’s crucial to be aware of the early signs of backsliding. This awareness helps us walk forward with Jesus and avoid the traps set by the enemy. Here are a few warning signs we see in Scripture.

The Six Signs

1. Focusing on Our Love Instead of His Love

The first sign is when we prioritize our love for Jesus over His love for us. This might seem like a great thing, but remember when Apostle Peter became overconfident in his ability to be faithful to Jesus (Matthew 26:33-34)? He focused more on his love for Jesus rather than Jesus’ love for him and he ended up denying Jesus. However, when we see the story of John later on, we see a difference. John always emphasized being loved by Jesus (1 John 4:19).

We must remember that Jesus is the source of our love for Him. Focus on Him.

2. Your Prayer Life Goes to Sleep

When our prayer life weakens, we’re in danger of backsliding. We see a great example of this in Luke 22:31-32 when Jesus calls Peter “Simon” (his old name) after he is asked to pray and falls asleep. Similarly, I believe that when we “go to sleep” spiritually, our old habits end up waking up.

When you backslide with your prayer time and devotional time, it’ll begin to affect your commitment to God.

3. You’re Following Jesus at a Distance by Avoiding Sacrifice

Avoiding sacrifice is a clear sign of backsliding. In Matthew 26:58, Peter follows Jesus at a distance. As long as Jesus was healing the sick, raising the dead, walking on water, and doing amazing things, Peter followed Jesus very closely. But when Peter might lose his life for following Jesus, He begins to count the cost.

Jesus calls us to embrace the cross and follow Him closely, even in sacrifice (Matthew 16:24-25). If your Christian life is all about you and not the cross, you’re not growing in Jesus.

4. Numbing Yourself to the Worldly Pleasures

Another sign of backsliding is found in John 18:18. He we see that he warmed himself at the fire that the servants of the high priest were warming themselves at (the people who persecuted Jesus). This shows me that he was no longer at the holy fire; he was now at the world’s fire.

Similarly, when you no longer enjoy the presence of Jesus, Satan will offer the pleasure of the world, and it would be difficult to say no to that pleasure. When we stop filling ourselves with the things of God, Satan will fill us with entertainment that will only leave us more numb to the things of God.

5. You Drown in Doubt That God’s Word Is True

Doubt becomes dangerous when it leads us away from God. The Bible warns us about this through the story of Eve and the serpent (Genesis 3:1) and Satan’s temptations to Jesus (Matthew 4).

Satan cannot defeat you until he disarms you, and he cannot disarm you until he casts doubt on the fundamentals of your belief–God’s word.

Doubt can become a sin if it leads you away from God, but doubt is not a sin. Doubt is not the same as unbelief. Doubt is questioning what you believe, while unbelief is being determined to refuse to believe.  

While doubt is a struggle, unbelief is a refusal to believe despite evidence.

I want to encourage you today, if you find yourself in doubt, questioning God’s Word, go to God with your doubt. 

6. Distancing From Other Believers

Infrequent attendance is often a sign of a deluded devotion. A Christian without a church is like a student who doesn’t attend school, a soldier who doesn’t join the army, and a citizen who doesn’t vote.

We are members of the body of Jesus (1 Corinthians  12:27). We need to assemble (1 Peter 2:5). When you isolate from the body of Christ, it is a trap of the enemy to get you to backslide. This is the first thing that we see happen in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).

I understand that sometimes we may need to distance ourselves from a toxic church, but we shouldn’t separate ourselves from the Church of Jesus Christ. 

Final Thoughts

If you recognize these signs in your life, it’s not too late to come back to the Lord. Repent and turn away from your sins. Embrace the way of the cross and His love for you. If the enemy is trying to condemn you based on your sin, ignore him and run to the cross. As you surrender, you’ll experience the Love of Jesus once again.

Remember, Jesus not only saves sinners but also redeems backsliders. Stay close to Him and grow in your faith.

Read: Doubt vs Unbelief

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