20. Backslidden Christians

Not a Fallen Christian, But a Stray

There are far more Christians who have strayed away from God than those who have “fallen” into sin. Although they never fell in the way that we think of a person falling, they were overtaken by a fault because,for whatever reason,they strayed from the things of God. Some went on to fall into sin and others simply stayed away never restoring their relationship with God.I believe Galatians 6:1 includes these people.It is not that they have fallen into some type of terrible sin,but rather they are simply away from the things of God.In many cases it has been a long time since they have even considered the life they once lived.

To all of you who fit into this category you are still important to God. You are a large group of Christians,perhaps even larger than those who are faithfully serving God in the church.There are more of you don’t read your Bibles any longer than probably there are those who do. There was a time you loved the things of God, but for whatever reason you got away from it. Perhaps there are times when you remember those days and wish you could go back. Perhaps you feel guilty because you know what you should be,but you don’t know how to become that person again. Your enthusiasm for the things of God is gone. You still love him. You still believe in him. You just don’t have a relationship with him any longer, and your life is no longer being lived for him.

You are not alone. It happens to many. However,there is a way back if you are willing to return to the Lord. The way back to the Lord is not necessarily coming back to church although after you have come back to the Lord it is likely that you will return to church.No, the way back to the Lord begins with you realizing how much God loves you. You are still the apple of his eye. You are still his beloved child. He still loves you just as much as He loved you when you were close to him. Believe that.

You also need to realize that God is not mad at you.There are some Christians who really do believe God is angry at them because they strayed from Him. He misses you my friend. He waits for you to take the first step back to him. He is not angry. He does not want to hurt you. He wants you to come back to him.

You must understand that the way back to him is not by doing all the things you used to do for him. Don’t think you have to recapture the past. The past is exactly that, the past. You are not the same person you were then. Do not assume you must do everything exactly the way you used to do it. God still has a plan for you and he will lead you to it if you let him.

You need to realize that your life still matters.Yes it does.There are so many Christians who truly believe there is nothing left for them to do.They feel that God has no use for them. They have been away so long that they feel there is no reason for God to use them. My friend you are so wrong. There is something only you can do. I don’t know what it is, but God does. Do you not think there are many just like you who wish they could come back but don’t know how? Perhaps God will help them through you. Maybe if you take the first step others will follow.

There are those who are afraid of the church or perhaps even a bit bitter. Perhaps you strayed because something terrible happened in your church. Maybe there was a scandal caused by a leader who fell into sin. For all of these years you’ve been angry and disillusioned at the church. Please understand that the church is made up of human beings. From the man who stands behind the pulpit to preach to the person who attends occasionally the church is nothing but a group of sinners saved by grace. There will always be sin in the church because we are all sinners. So let’s forget about coming back to church for the time being and concentrate on getting back to the Lord. Once you get back to the Lord he will lead you where he wants you to be.

Perhaps there are things in your life that you don’t want to give up. Let me assure you that God can change your desires if you learn to delight in him once again. It is hard to go from being a Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, soul winning, separated Christian to being totally away from the things of God and then to even think about returning to where you once were. Stop thinking that way. It’s a step at a time. Take the first step my friend. Don’t try to do it all at once and by no means try to do it all by yourself. God will help you. He will lead and guide you if you will simply trust Him.

The journey back is not nearly as far as you think. Certainly when the prodigal decided to come home the journey ahead seemed daunting to him. Certainly the thought of trying to clean up his life was overwhelming. But when he took the first step towards home his father saw him and ran to him. I promise you that when you begin to take that first step God will meet you more than halfway. Come home to your Father. You’ve been gone too long. God awaits you with open arms. Welcome home.

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