A while back I picked up an old book off my shelf by a revivalist by the name of Charles Finney. The book was titled, “Revivals of Religion,” and it is all about how to usher in and sustain revival. There is a chapter in this book titled, “The Backslider in Heart.” While I was reading through the table of contents the Holy Spirit told me to read this chapter.
Listen to some of the evidences he lists as a backslider in heart:
- Manifest formalities in religious exercises.
Remember, Finney was alive in the 18th century so bear with the language. What this means is that the backslider in heart will still perform Christian duties, but it will be void of your heart and devotion. Finney says, “The backslider in heart will pray, praise and give thanks with his lips so that everyone will hear him, but no one will feel him.”
- A lack of religious enjoyment
Do you enjoy God? Like sincerely enjoy God? Or is He just a means to an end?
Song of Songs says that His love is, “Stronger than wine,” That is a huge deal! That should cause us to be full of joy rather than checking our phone every 5 minutes because we want to leave church, so we can go eat. I don’t want ministry to become a job, I want it to be my passion because He is my passion! Finney says, “If we love Him supremely, it is impossible that we should not enjoy His service at every step.
Brother and Sister let’s not confuse being burnt out with being backslidden.
If we are not careful we can reinforce our lack of love with the excuse that we are too busy in ministry and burnt out. But if ministry flows from a place of love and devotion to our Master than we will never know what it means to be burnt out.
- A lack of interest in the Bible and in secret prayer.
This was the kicker for me. If we really loved Him the way we are created for, wouldn’t I desire to spend time with Him?
How often have we chosen Netflix over His presence?
How often have we thrown 15 minutes of passionless prayer at His feet and called it devotion? Lord please forgive us.
This is not what we have been created for and this is certainly not what Jesus died for.
He died in passion and love for us, so we can live in passion and love for Him!
So, what do we do? We return to Him.
Zechariah 1:3 says, “Return to Me and I will return to you.”
This is such a precious promise we have from our Father.
Have you found it hard to pray? Hard to read His word? Hard to hear Him?
How do we fix this? We simply return to Him. Repent and do your first works
I encourage you to get in secret with the Lord and repent to Him and after you do that, do the things you did at first.