I saw a close friend choose not to go to Bible college to stay with his friends, a pastor divorce his wife because he was unable to humble himself, a former boss who refused to cut the bad relationships out of his life and always lived with one foot in and one foot out, a fellow on-fire minister cool off and started making small compromises- until he lost his passion, and all this happened just in the first 9 months of me being saved! However, even though it was over 15yrs ago, I remember their stories so vividly like it was yesterday.
Therefore, I write this list to help those who may have started to stray in hopes they will avoid these signs. And for those who have already run away, that they will stop lying to themselves and come back to God. So if you know any to send this to, please do so in prayer. And for those who have received this message, it is because you are greatly loved!
I would like to clarify my terms before starting so people understand the full meaning of what I am saying.
- Running Away from God: This means the person could still be saved but is growing cold or that they have fully lost their salvation.
- Backslidden: They either are lost and have been saved, or are saved and know what good things to do, but are not willing.
Therefore, when someone says, “I still love God, I am going to heaven. Everything is great.” That may be true for them, but the real question is what does God say! Thus, it is good to ask them questions like this, “Are you still on fire?” “Are you accountable?” “Are you the closest to God you have ever been?” “Are you doing all the good you know God has command you to do?”
Sure the pastor who divorced his wife thought he was fine, he even had some friends support his decision. However, God was not “fine” with it. Of course, the young man I knew who dropped out of Bible college after a semester to stay in Ft. Wayne had tons of “good things” happen in his life. But it didn’t matter- he was running from God!
Therefore, we are not to be “okay” with people’s “Christianese” answers that allow them to hide from what is right. We are to help “spur” our brothers and sisters to good works and reprove their deeds of darkness (Hebrews 10:24). Christianity and discipleship was never defined as, “Going to church, singing in the choir, posting verses on facebook, and reading your Bible.” If that was the case, then everyone in the south is saved!
Here is a quote I have in our discipleship book that I believe says it best,
- We give our free time to sports and entertainment, while Jesus gave His days to ministry and nights to prayer.
- We want the American dream, while Jesus wanted the power of God to change the world.
- We want comfort in life, while Jesus lived in constant conflict.
- We want to be taken in and accepted by the world, when Jesus was put out and rejected by it.
- We want to be thought of as reasonable and considerate with those who differ with us, when the Jewish leaders called Jesus demon possessed, crazy, and confrontational.
- We live for the praise of people, while Jesus lived only for the praise of God His Father.
- We will give to Jesus when it is most convenient and stop when it hurts or brings discomfort, but Jesus gave to us His entire life and in a gruesome bloody crucifixion He died for us all.
- We are consumed with our wants, our needs, our families, our desires, and our dreams, while Jesus was consumed with God’s wants, God desires, and looked to others hurts, others needs and solved others problems.
- We wish to save our lives, Jesus came to lose His.
- Is it any wonder we fail to make the kind of difference Jesus made?
The Twelve Signs
- You Cannot Stand to Be Around the Leadership That Either Won You to the Lord or Brought You to the Closest Places You Had Ever Gone – Hebrews 13:10.
- You Make Excuses and Compare Yourself to Others in Your Group Instead of Comparing Yourself to Jesus and His Apostles – 2 Corinthians 10:12.
- You Love to Point Out the “Speck” in Your Brother’s Eye, While You Have the Plank In Yours – Luke 6:42.
- You Expect People To Support Your Decisions but You No Longer Can Support Your Decisions by the Word of God – 2 Timothy 3:16.
- You Say to Yourself You Are Not That Bad and Say Things Could be Worse – Revelation 2:4.
- You Redefine What You Call “Christianity” and Being a “Disciple” So It Makes You Look Good – Luke 14:26.
- You Are Easily Offended When Others Who Used to Lead You Question What You Do, Because You Feel You Owe Them No Explanation – 2 Timothy 4:10.
- You Pick Friends and Churches that Make You Feel Good With Your Compromise – Jonah on the boat.
- You Justify Your Actions By Your Actions, “If I Was Wrong, Then Bad Things Would Happen,” You Forget That Sinners Can Live “Good Lives” Too – Psalms 73.
- You Say if You Go Back to God, People Will Judge You and You Will Be Too Embarrassed – Luke 17:11-18.
- You Try to Make Grace an Excuse to Live in Sin and Compromise – 1 John 3:9.
- You Say You Are More Mature than Others Who Still Serve Jesus and the Church Humbly – 2 Corinthians 11:3.
If you find yourself struggling with any of these signs, here is my advice. Not “mine,” but rather Jesus’,
These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Note: For those who feel this blog reminds them of something they read before, you are very right. I believe it is a modern version of Charles Finney’s list of a backslider, for his list in the late 1800’s click here.