Have you ever gone through a time when you felt SO close to God and so passionate about your faith — only to slip back into bad habits and “life as usual” not long after?
If so, you’re not alone. This behavior is called Christian backsliding and pretty much all of us it go through it at one point or another.
Gotquestions.org defines backsliding this way:
The word backslide, in a Christian context, implies movement away from Christ rather than toward Him. A backslider is someone who is going the wrong way, spiritually. He is regressing rather than progressing. The backslider had at one time demonstrated a commitment to Christ or maintained a certain standard of behavior, but he has since reverted to old ways.
The Bible is full of very strong and serious warnings about giving in to sin after we know better. It’s clear – once we have experienced God and new life in Him, our lives should be dramatically changed because of it.
For example, 2 Peter 2:21 says:
It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.
And even more frightening, Hebrews 10:26-27 says:
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
Thankfully, James 4:8a tells us that if we will just “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
So, my question for you is this: How is your relationship with God lately? Are you following closely to Him, seeking His face and obeying His Word? Are you Putting God First and seeking to grow deeper in faith every day?
Or have you gotten distracted by the shiny things of this world?
Let’s return God to His rightful place in our lives. Here are Six Ways to Prevent Christian Backsliding and start growing in faith instead.
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1. Make Time with God a Part of Your Daily Routine
Whether it’s the cause or the effect, daily quiet time with God is typically one of the first things to go when Christians start backsliding.
It’s understandable. We’re moms; we’re busy! It’s so easy to forget, get distracted, get busy or simply just not have the energy for yet another thing to add to our to-do list at the end of the day.
That’s why one of the best ways to prevent Christian backsliding is simply to make quiet time a non-negotiable part of our daily routine. And the good news is, once it becomes habit – you don’t even have to think about it! It actually becomes easier to have time with God than to skip it.
For example, you could:
- Read your Bible over breakfast
- Listen to Christian praise and worship music or audio books in the car
- Listen to Youtube sermons while folding laundry or cooking dinner (Francis Chan is my favorite)
- Institute a mandatory “quiet reading time” for your kids after lunch
- Use this free quiet time planning guide to help you plan and stay on track with reading your Bible regularly.
2. Get in the Prayer Habit
One of the great benefits of prayer is that you can pray literally anytime, any place. You don’t need to “find the time” or find a place where you can have peace and quiet. God is accessible through prayer 24/7. The hard part is simply remembering to do it. That’s why you need little cues to help you get in the habit.
For example you could:
- Wear a special piece of jewelry that reminds you to pray
- Decorate your home with special items that remind you to pray (This Willow Tree figurine is beautiful)
- Write out your prayer list and place it somewhere prominent, like on your fridge or mirror
- Download these free, beautiful Scripture Verse Card Printables to put around your home (click the link and scroll to the bottom)
3. Surround Yourself with Other Christians Whose Faith You Admire
Who are the five adults you spend the most time with? Make a list in your head.
Now, without being too judgmental, do these five people demonstrate evidence of a life that is radically sold out to God, a life that follows God when it’s convenient, or a selfish, sinful life that completely rejects God and all that He has to offer?
The truth is, the people you surround yourself will have a significant impact on your own faith and how you live it out on a day-to-day level.
If you don’t have any friends who are courageously committed to following God wherever He leads, make some.
And if you have any friends who are actively leading you away from God, providing a negative influence, and hindering you in your faith, it may be time to reevaluate how much time you spend with them.
4. Choose Your Media Carefully
Next, go through and evaluate the other influences you surround yourself with. For example, the TV shows you watch, the radio stations you listen to, the books and magazines you read, the Facebook pages you follow and the YouTube videos you watch.
Do these channels draw you closer to God and encourage you in your faith, or do they pull you further away? Do they inspire you and encourage you to lead a life worthy of your calling, or do they glorify sex, violence, inappropriate language, greed and self-centeredness?
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. “It’s just TV. It’s not real.” But the truth is, “trash in, trash out.” You cannot surround yourself with worldly influences and opinions and think that it’s not going to affect you just a little bit. You just can’t.
Now does this mean you can NEVER watch even a second of immoral behavior on TV? I wouldn’t go that far. After all, the Bible itself recounts TONS of immoral behavior, both as a lesson and just as a natural fact of life.
But if the majority of what you are watching, reading and listening to doesn’t line up with the kind of person God is calling you to be, it may be time to reevaluate.
5. Set Goals for Yourself
New Year’s is right around the corner, and for a lot of us, that means it’s time to reflect on the past year, look forward to the new year, and set some goals and resolutions going forward.
So, how about making some Christian New Year’s Resolutions this year?
Sure, it may feel a little awkward at first. After all, it’s pretty difficult to quantify your faith walk. “By February, I want to be 4 units holy. By April, I want to be 6 units holy…”
But if you’re serious about Christian goal setting, there are tons of goals you can set. For example:
- To read your Bible 6 days a week
- To devote 20 minutes to pray and reflection every day
- To take notes on Sunday mornings, save them in a binder, and then actually go back and review them once a month.
- To do four service projects with your family this year.
- To donate X amount of dollars to your favorite charity over the course of the year
- To find someone to mentor you, and to find someone to be a mentor to
- To share your faith with three co-workers
By the way, if you’d like some help setting and actually achieving your Christian goals and resolutions this year, my friend Arabah Joy has a resource that looks absolutely perfect for this called Grace Goals.
6. Find Accountability
And last but not least, if you really want to stay on track, finding an accountability partner or a mentor is SO valuable for this.
As flawed humans, it’s so easy to rationalize and make excuses and basically lie to ourselves. We can talk ourselves into anything, and slowly start slipping away without even realizing it.
With a Godly accountability partner, however, you have someone to ask the tough questions, offer a new perspective, challenge you when you need to be challenged, encourage you when you need to be encouraged, and just generally help you stay on the right path.
Not sure where to find a good accountability partner? You could always ask around in the Equipping Godly Women Facebook group. There are tons of really awesome, Godly ladies in there, and I bet you could find someone really lovely.
A little bit of back-and-forth is completely normal for all Christians. And yet, just because it’s normal doesn’t mean you have to just accept it. If you are serious about walking in faith and avoiding Christian backsliding, these six tips will help you do just that.
How do you safeguard against Christian backsliding in your life? Do you use any of the six methods above or something else? Is there anything new you need to try?