Return to the Lord, Oh Lukewarm and Backsliding Christian
“But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved” (Hebrews 10:39 NLT).
“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7 KJV).
The Lord’s Appeal to the Lukewarm and Backslidden Christians
This week’s message is a brief appeal from the Lord to the lukewarm and backslidden Christians, and an encouragement to the faithful brethren to remain active and focused on the Lord. In a short but powerful vision to Jaydeen (one of our daughters) on the morning of November 8, 2015, the Lord showed her a brother who formerly went by the title of “Reverend”. She was led to hear a conversation I had with this “Reverend” brother. The Lord let her hear what was in his heart; he said in an angry voice: “Don’t tell me about the Bible and the way I live my life! I am a grown man, and I make my own decisions!” Suddenly, she heard the Lord say: “I will punish him for his wicked actions”. This was the end of the vision.
In this vision, the Lord is using this brother as an example, to appeal to all Christian brothers and sisters who have gone back into the world to call on Him and return to Him while He is near (Isaiah 55:6). The Bible says: “But when a righteous person turns from his righteousness and practices iniquity, committing the same detestable acts that the wicked do, will he live? None of the righteous acts he did will be remembered. He will die because of the treachery he has engaged in and the sin he has committed” (Ezekiel 18:24).
Similarly during mid 2015, as a family we experienced an attack from the devil which involved our children. Being never exposed to such behaviour and rebelliousness, we trusted the Lord to carry us through that difficult situation and this truly meant to shake our faith like David's when his son Absalom rebelled against him (2 Samuel 15-19). Under those circumstances, it felt as if God had forsaken us and in that moment our lives were never the same. As it was, that was the year God started testing our faith and while this generated anger and disappointment, the Lord in His Mercy showed me a vision almost similar to the account of the prodigal son how I should in love welcome our lost son back home and to just forgive him and to allow the young man to heal and resume his relationship with God (Luke 15:11-32). What a merciful God, He taught us not to further degrade, humiliate and make the person feel unwelcomed to serve the Lord. Honestly, I have seen many Christians despising a brother or sister who fell into sin and treating them as if they were not welcome. In a message to me the Lord said, those who returned to Him are like those workers who were hired on the eleventh hour (Matthew 20:6) and they too will receive eternal life (John 10:28). Therefore, brethren let us not be a stumbling block to the weak instead we have a Christian duty to encourage them in the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
Symptoms of Christians Backsliding
Over the past few years, I have had some good and fruitful discussions with many backslidden and lukewarm Christians. When I have engaged with them in a conversation regarding the Lord, most of them light up with a joy and excitement in their facial appearance. This clearly shows that their spirit is longing for a relationship with the Lord, while they are being cruelly oppressed by the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:17). As it is, these brethren’s trouble is not a matter of faith, which I perceive they have, but rather theirs is a question of disobedience aided by worldly desires (Titus 2:11-12). When a person has reached this stage of allowing the dominance of evil desires in their life, we may say that the force of sin has woven itself into the person’s conscience, leaving that person powerless against sinful desires. This is a very dangerous stage to be in, like our brother above, who completely rejects the message of the Bible. Once we have no time for the Word of God in our lives, the love and fear for God is non-existent in our lives.
Apart from the obvious outside behaviors of a backslidden Christian not attending regular Church services, reading the Bible, or praying anymore, most backslidden Christians also have negative attitudes towards others—for example by always being moody and unkind, not having peace and joy and having lost love for people (1 John 4:20). Without love for people, God is NOT there (1 John 4:8).
In order to fill the void left with the estranged relationship with Jesus Christ, most lukewarm Christians engage in some addictions. As we know, with today’s entertainment environment and the world’s constant craving for new technology, it is not difficult to be trapped in an addiction – for example TV, movies, social media, etc. Once an addiction finds a home, which we know is the devil’s way of keeping people away from the Lord, it will result in the creation of a new company to keep us occupied and active in our ‘new environment’. In the final analysis, Satan’s goal is to gain our soul and when this happens, we lose eternal life (Matthew 16:26).
As we mentioned in the Addictions article, if we do not keep ourselves occupied with things of God such as daily prayers, Bible reading, worshiping and praising the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Joshua 1:8; John 4:24; Psalm 119:97; 150:5; 146:2), witnessing (Matthew 28:19-20), fruit bearing through Obedience to Christ (John 14:21; 15:1-4), and building people up (1 Thessalonians 5:11), we run the risk of being occupied with wrong things of the devil and therefore becoming lukewarm (Revelation 3:16). Remember, the Lord is coming for those who are focused on Him therefore let us learn to crucify the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24; 1 Corinthians 9:27).
How to Regain Friendship with Christ
In order to return to the Lord, simply repent, disengage from bad company, and throw away your idols and addictions (Colossians 3:5; 1 John 5:21). By repenting, we mean completely turning away from our previous, worldly ways (Zechariah 1:4)! In this new life in Christ, there is no more half-commitment, but we should be fully involved and committed to seeking the Lord with a passion for more truth and more of Christ.
In conclusion, brethren let us not allow the thief of our joy to derail our walk in the Lord by focusing on the troubles we are given. We should endure, like Jacob, by trusting the Lord to help us through any earthly trouble as we keep our faith in obedience to God to inherit His Goodness (Genesis 48:16). As the Bible admonishes us: “But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life” (Hebrews 10:39 HCSB).
I encourage you, backsliding or backslidden Christian, hurry! Like the prodigal son, God Almighty has reserved a full measure of His love for you, which never diminishes or fades. Just come and accept His love as you return to Him by faith, trusting Him and obeying Him.
Finally, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 1:3) and “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me” (John 15:4 NLT).
If you say “YES!” to the Lord Jesus Christ and would like be healed of your backsliding (Jeremiah 3:22) and begin a relationship with Him, please start by praying this