One by One

Barbara Brinkworth

Most people who are overweight would love to lose the extra pounds.  Unfortunately, most of them do not do it.  One of the reasons for that is that they have an “all or nothing” attitude.  They alternately starve themselves and go on eating binges; while the only thing they lose is their temper and perhaps, their sanity.  The fact is that the extra weight came on one pound at a time; and that is, most likely, the only way it will leave.

Backsliding can be compared to weight gain/loss.  A Christian does not backslide overnight. One by one, the person involved stops doing the right things.  At the same time, he may start doing the wrong things.  One morning, he wakes up and realizes he is farther away from God than he ever could have imagined he would be.

Once he realizes that he has distanced himself from God, he will hopefully have a desire to get things right with the Lord.  That would be great!  It is definitely the right place to begin; but he had better beware of an “all or nothing” attitude.   A Christian who wants to turn back to God will have to get there the same way he left — one step at a time.  He will have to begin to do the right things that he had neglected: prayer, Bible reading, church attendance — to name a few. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” II Peter 1:5-7 As he adds each one back into his life, he will have to be extra diligent until each becomes habitual again.

It has been said that a task must be done 21 days consecutively in order to become a habit.  My theory is that spiritual habits take even longer to establish, because the Christian is battling the world, the flesh, and the devil.

In addition to adding the right things back into his life, the backslider will also have to subtract or let go of the wrong things. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1. Once again, an “all or nothing” attitude will not bring success.  Each sin or “weight” will have to be dealt with one by one.  As each is put away, diligence will again be required to insure that it remains in the past.

All in all, it will take a great deal of character, strength and grace to get back to the place of consistent obedience. If you are that backslider on your way back to God, do not give up hope.  King David said in Psalms 119:67, ”Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.”  Once you are obeying the Spirit again, you will have the wisdom to know how to make one good decision after another.  You, too, will be able to say, "I have kept thy word.”  

When many reach the bottom of their “barrel”, they, hopefully, will look Up for help

This article was featured in The Bible View #218.

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