Well, you’ve finally crossed the line – you’ve made up your mind and you’ve decided to backslide, walk away from a personal relationship with Jesus, and leave Father’s house. It doesn’t really matter why; you’ve convinced yourself that this is the best choice. Oh, you’ve got your reasons, your justifications. They seem like solid reasons, even plausible. I mean, why would you leave without a good reason? Regardless, you’re leaving, and, in some sense, you feel a bit of relief. You never seemed to fit in just right, did you?
Ah yes! The world! That’s the ticket! You can finally be FREE! You can do whatever you want to do, say whatever you want to say, go wherever you want to. This is going to be great! Your plans and dreams are unfolding in front of you so neatly and seem to be perfect in every way. “Why did I waste so much time trying to be so good?” you think to yourself, “it’s just too much work – and what’s the use, anyway? It always takes too long for it all to pay off. Besides, I know better than to end up ‘LOST’ – that’s for those idiots who don’t know what I know! I’m going to show them all.”
The devil is such a wonderful painter. He paints such an amazing picture of how it will be for you. His paintings are nothing more than façades – false fronts – and there’s nothing backing them up but his lies. He loves to promise, but he cannot deliver the goods. He loves to work through our emotions and our sensibilities to get us to make wrong moves. He uses people, situations, and even our own likes and dislikes against us to make us begin to view the beautiful Church of God in a bad light. He wants to draw you away from all the good things God has for you. As it has been said so many times, he has both a long-range and a short-range plan for your destruction. The question is, do you have a plan to resist his allurements?
Paul warns us to be careful in dealing with the devil in his second letter to the saints at Corinth: “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2 Corintians 2:11). Looking at the words of this verse in the original Greek language helps us to better understand this threat.
|Satan||Σατανᾶς (Satanâs)||adversary (one who opposes another in purpose or act)|
|Ignorant||ἀγνοέω (agnoéō)||to be ignorant; not to know (unaware)|
|Devices||νόημα (nóēma)||a mental perception, thought, or an evil purpose|
We can see from the chart above that the warning is for us to not lack understanding when it comes to the devil’s intents, purposes, and methods. We ought to take it for granted that the devil is out to destroy every one of us. He has no respect of your person, nor does he care how long it takes to get you. Remember: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” (John 10:10).
So how do we keep ourselves from falling for these tricks and devices? Our spiritual armor! Ephesians 6:11 tells us, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Ah, but wait! Guess what? You’ve decided that you don’t need this armor; you’ve decided it’s much too heavy. All it does is slow you down – you probably feel that you can be lighter and more agile when the devil comes against you. Well friend, be prepared. Without this armor you will fall for the tricks of the enemy of your soul. Let me remind you: he is a RUTHLESS and MERCILESS enemy. Don’t expect mercy from him – or any semblance of truth. He is a “…liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).
So, what can you expect now that you have left the fold? The first thing you must realize is that whether you accept it or not, you are now labeled by God as “wicked.” You may not feel like you are wicked, but you cannot avoid this label when you willingly leave God. Wicked in a Biblical sense means criminal; guilty one, one guilty of crime; hostile to God; guilty of sin (against God or man).
Here’s a short list of expectations for your new life:
- No rest or peace
- Isaiah 57:20-21, “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”
- No spiritual protection – you gave up the armor of God. (Ephesians 6:11-17)
- No means to access God for grace or healing
- John 9:31, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.”
- No direction in life
- Proverbs 4:19, “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.”
- Unrealized desires and dreams
- Psalm 112:10, “…the desire of the wicked shall perish.”
- A guilty conscience and a wrecked life
- 1 Timothy 1:19, “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck…”
- Multiplied wickedness
- Luke 11:26, “Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”
- Loss of spiritual and temporal goods
- Proverbs 10:3, “The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.”
- Things won’t work out in life
- Isaiah 3:11, “Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.”
- Proverbs 28:1, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
- Proverbs 1:27, “… fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.”
- Psalm 32:10, “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.”
- Hurts, wounds, sadness and mental anguish
- Isaiah 1:5-6, “Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.”
- Separation from God
- Nahum 1:15, “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.”
- Shortened life on earth
- Ecclesiastes 8:13, “But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.”
- Finally, eternal punishment
- Revelation 20:15, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
- Proverbs 24:20, “For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.”
These 15 things that I have listed are just the “beginning of sorrows.” There are many more items that could be added to this list. I know this because I have lived the life of the wicked. I chose to leave God at the young age of just 12 or 13 years old. What audacity to think that I knew what life was all about at this tender age! I couldn’t have made a worse decision at this time in my life.
Many of the thoughts I’ve listed in the beginning of this article are my own thoughts: Thoughts that I had as a young teenager. I left the beautiful Church Of God and traded peace, joy, and contentment for a life of wickedness, condemnation, and despair. How foolish was I. Oh the regrets that I have! I’m so thankful that God had mercy on me and allowed me to return after 16 years in a life of sin.
One thing that you can expect in a sinful life is to never fit in. While attending church, if you are rebellious, disobedient, or not fully consecrated, you will find yourself not fitting in with the saints. However, because of what you’ve learned in the Church of God — no matter how long you’ve been there — you’ll find that you are a misfit in the world as well. It will always be the square peg trying to fit in a round hole. It will never work. The best way to gain acceptance is to conform yourself to the Word of God. Genesis 4:7, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?”
Proverbs 3:1-4, “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: for length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: so shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.”
Sometimes I think people expect that backsliding will solve all their problems. Don’t expect problems to decrease when you leave Father’s house; expect troubles and problems to increase.
Maybe it’s not too late – maybe you can still reverse course! The decision to backslide isn’t hopeless; you don’t have to give up on God! Beyond that, if you fail now, you can only expect it to be easier to give up in life the next time you are challenged. Do not give in to the temptation to succumb to the devil’s allurements. Press your will to live right and pray one more time; counsel one more time; it is worth your every effort to stay saved. Remember, it gets easier to give up once you do it the first time. That will not gain you any ground. The only way to get ahead is to never stop trying and never stop working. Even if it’s only a small amount, push yourself to gain spiritual ground. Proverbs 24:16, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”
No matter where you are in your spiritual career, you’ve come too far to fail God now. He is your best option – no matter how hard things seems now. They’re only going to get harder on you if you back away.
James 4:8, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” I LOVE this verse because there is a wonderful double action taking place here. Every step you take toward God, he is taking a step (or two) toward you. Do your part and God will NEVER fail you. I can tell you this from personal experience; and believe me, I’ve had my share of things to overcome. You know what? It’s possible! You can do it! You don’t have to be a statistic – get saved, stay saved, and make Heaven your home. Be all God would have you to be – don’t even think of about giving up! God is on the giving hand!
Jude 1:21, “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”