Post details: Question: what are the causes of backsliding?

07/08/08

Permalink 08:23:41 am, Categories: By Trent, GraceHead counseling, 638 words   English (US)

Question: what are the causes of backsliding?

After getting the question above in my email inbox from a stranger ... here is the answer that I submitted:

Thank you for the thought provoking question. I believe I have the correct answer for you. In a word it is pride that causes backsliding, because pride pushes away the grace of God. Along with pride is self-righteousness, and arrogance.

There will be murderers in heaven. There will be adulterers in heaven. Those are not even that dangerous, to be honest ... even though they are among the least popular in society.

I'll tell you what the most dangerous sin is ... but I don't think many would agree with me. Its not homosexuality, nor pedophilia, not even abortion or theft. Those are nowhere near as dangerous as the sins that I am thinking of. They don't even compare.

The most dangerous sins are clearly the covert sins. These sins are dangerous because society accepts them ... even applauds them. In fact, if you do these sins, you are bound to take a leap forward in popularity, and you may take a high position at your church as deacon, or elder, or even pastor of a mega-church. That is what makes them so dangerous ... they don't even look wrong ... the look right!

The most dangerous sins are, sins like pride, self-righteousness, haughtiness, and self-preservation. Those will take you further from God because they are going downstream with the world, and there is little opposition.

This reminds me of a story that a friend once told me. Mike has a habit of asking great men of faith how they wound up so mature in the Lord. The story goes something like this ... When Mike asked an elder how he was able to finish the race so well, and even at his ripe age be so effective for the Kingdom, the wise elder reached into his breast pocket and pulled out two of his pens, holding them out on the table.

"Who's strength and glory is holding up these pens?"

"Yours" said Mike.

Immediately, the elder let one of the pens drop on the table. Then the elder said, listen to the pen that I am still holding.

Cautiously, Mike put his ear near the standing pen, not knowing that the elder could throw his voice.

"Just look at you." Said the standing pen to the fallen pen, "Can't you do anything right? I just can't believe that you would sink so low, and behave so poorly! Don't you even understand the Bible, and how to live right?"

Then the elder looked at Mike and said, "I am sick of holding this loud one." .. and he let the standing pen fall down on the table next to the other. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out another pen ...

"Who's glory makes this pen stand?"

"Still, yours" said Mike.

"What is wrong with you two?" Said the standing pen to the two fallen pens, "You sicken me, with such a terrible demonstration of what you could be, if you only believed as I do, and did what I do, and say what I know you should say ..."

Then the elder let this one drop as well. Again and again, the elder did this until he was out of pens and five fallen pens lay on the table.

Mike got the point.

Q: Want to finish well?

A: Don't come down hard on those that have fallen by forgetting why you stand and they do not. To God be all the glory! Lets be thankful that by His Spirit we are not taken prisoner by error, if we are not.

We want to finish well, and by God's grace we will, with the understanding that without God's grace, we would be hopeless and helpless as the worst sinner around.

Ripening for the harvest,

Trent

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