As a Christian, how do you stop backsliding? How do you stop giving into the temptations, the urges, the wiles of the devil that pull you away from your faith? The Bible has your answer for that as well.
First and foremost, you’re not alone. The Apostle Paul – that great man of faith – dealt with the same things. In Romans 7:19 he said, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.”
So how do we go from doing the things we don’t want to do to doing the things we know we should do? There’s different things we can add to our life, things God’s Word tells us to do, but I want to give you four things. That’s it. Just four.
1.) Put the Word First Place
The first thing we need to do is put the Word of God first place in our life. When something comes up in our life – answer it with the Word of God. When circumstances or temptation come against you – you answer it with the Word of God, not your thoughts or fear or opinion. Imagine that you’re in a sword fight (because we are in a fight after all – and it’s spiritual). You have the enemy attacking you with his giant evil sword. What are you going to do?
You’re not going to just stand there and let him hit you. You’re not going to run away. This is a fight. And you’re a fighter. You’re going to get your sword, block the strike, and go on the attack. Your sword is the Word of God. You take it and use it to answer the attacks that come your way. You confess what God says about you. You keep doing it. As you do it, you’re going to get in faith and then you’re going to release faith. And soon those attacks, as big and bad as they seemed, are going to seem like they’re coming from a toothless kitty cat.
2.) That Means you Have To Know The Word
To put the Word of God first, that means you have to know the Word of God. When lies come your way, how are you going to know they’re lies, unless you know the truth. If you don’t know something is from the devil, it’s possible you’ll accept it because you think it’s from God.
When something comes your way, you won’t know how to stand against it if you don’t know what the Word says. If you don’t know the Word, you can’t have faith to do anything about those things, or ask God for help because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Romans 12:2 tells us, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Reading the Word, studying the Word, helps to renew your mind, among other things. When your mind is renewed to God’s Word, your desires are going to start to change. If your mind isn’t renewed, you’re going to be easily pulled between what God wants you to do and what the devil wants you to do, what the world wants you to do, and what your flesh wants you to do.
I had a friend in college that was in a relationship he just couldn’t get out of. He wanted to get out of it, but he just didn’t have the strength to do so. It’s not that he didn’t like the girl, but that the relationship was dragging him further and further away from God. Time after time he’d try and break it off, or just be friends, or some other idea that came to him. Finally, after trying everything he could think of, he remembered something that Jesus said – “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell (Matthew 5:30).” Of course Jesus wasn’t necessarily saying to cut off your hand. He was saying that when sin has you in its clutches, you have to take extreme measures to get out of it.
So in the nicest way possible, if it’s possible, he told this girl that he never wanted to talk to her again. Yes, he explained the situation and she supposedly understood all the conversations they had, but this part went too far for her. For him though, it’s what worked. He was talked about, called all sorts of names, snarled at because he dared to break up with this “sweet girl.” That’s what sin does to you though. It takes you to a deep, dark place and to get out isn’t easy sometimes.
However, during the whole relationship , He wasn’t in the Word. He wasn’t putting the Word first. Sure, he’d go to church, come to the campus ministry meetings, but that’s about it. He didn’t have that study time any other time than when he was at a church meeting. In fact, he was neglecting everything that is in this list.
To stop turning away from what you believe and being held captive by sin, you have to be in the Word. But that’s not all.
3.) Surround Yourself With The Things and People That Reinforce Your Faith
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.” – Proverbs 13:20
Wise people are people that see the value in having a relationship with God. When we surround ourselves with people that have the same desires as us spiritually, we’re going to prosper in our faith. We’re going to feel more connected to that faith because that’s what is all around us.
However, when we’re surrounded with people that don’t share those desires, even think that they’re stupid – it’s going to bring us down. If you lay down with dogs, you’re going to get flees. Even people that don’t believe in Jesus will tell you that the kinds of people you hang around with will determine the kind of person you will become.
Years ago I was sitting in a computer lab at college (that’s a giant room with a bunch of computers in it for those that may not know). Sitting next to me was a guy that I didn’t know too well, but I knew he wasn’t too good of a person. To make a long story short, I left the computer lab that day with the threat of having criminal charges filed against me and having the school take action against me for doing something that came about simply because I got caught up in the moment while being around this guy.
About a week later I found myself sitting in the county jail being charged for hacking. The Lord revealed to me during all this time that the reason all this happened is because “bad company corrupts good character.” Those you hang around, though you may be a good person, if they’re not, will have an effect on you. That’s why we need to surround ourselves with people we want to be like – who love God and desire a closer relationship with Jesus.
4.) Make Prayer A Priority
The last thing we have to do is to make prayer a priority. Prayer is that important. It will take you places and keep you places that nothing else can. Jesus told the disciples (and us) in Luke 18:1, “that men always ought to pray and not lose heart (faint).”
There is a refreshing and power in prayer that you get nowhere else. Jesus told His disciples this and shortly after, found them napping in the Garden when He asked them to be praying. The spiritual oppression of the devil was so strong that they couldn’t stay awake. They wanted to. They tried to. But they couldn’t.
The problem happened to Peter over and over. Jesus told him that he’d deny him, but Peter didn’t want to believe it. He had a bold declaration that he wouldn’t deny Jesus. He had the desire to not deny Jesus, but he didn’t have the power. That power comes through prayer. And that’s what Peter had neglected.
There is an exchange between Heaven and you when you prayer. There is an empowerment, and anointing to do God’s will when we pray. Don’t take it for granted.
You Can Do It
Don’t listen to what your mind says or what the devil says. You can do it. You can overcome all the things that the devil tries to throw at you. Just don’t give up. Keep going. Keep fighting. Put these things to practice and you’re going to see that nothing the devil throws at you will stick. You’ll overcome it all. Stay with the Word and the Spirit.