How to not backslide - The Christian's guide
Oh, how we would love to have a manual that definitively states all the things we need and concretely explains the things we should employ to avoid backsliding!
Guess what? We do! The Bible presents clear instructions and methods to ensure that our lives reflect that of an upstanding servant leader, but for many, that realisation has not yet hit, and the fact has not been entirely embraced.
"You have people who delay giving their lives to God because they say they want to get baptised only once. Now, while that is good, there is something faulty in that [reasoning] because we are depending on our preparedness to keep us," said Pastor Damian Chambers during a sermon at a church in the parish recently.
"The formula for not turning back is to don't turn back. That is it, don't do it. Our dependence must not be on ourselves, but on the Lord. I'm going to use Peter to show us what it means to be a victorious Christian because he has had the experiences we can take lessons from," he continued.
PETER'S BOLD STEP
In making reference to the bold step Peter made to follow Jesus at that particular moment when he was asked to walk on water with Him, Chambers said so it should be with us modern-day Christians - choosing to follow Christ even when we don't understand.
"The first lesson we need to learn from Peter is that Peter responded to the call of Jesus though he didn't understand how it worked. There are some of us who do the same thing, but we don't follow, we say, 'Lord, if the Sabbath is right, give us a sign', and the Lord gives us the best sign, but we don't want to follow it. When God speaks to us, we say it is to our inconvenience and we don't want to do it. He didn't understand everything. He wasn't perfect, but he followed Jesus. Jesus may lead him through fire and floods, but he is following Jesus."
He continued: "To walk the Christian journey is a miracle. For a man born in sin and shaped in iniquity to transform his life, that is a miracle. Only by the grace of God we can do that. But we are able to, through the grace of God, to do the impossible. If man tries to save themselves, they are going to be lost. The word of God is invested with divine power. When God says, 'Thy sins be forgiven thee', when you believe that, your sins are forgiven."
STAY FOCUSED ON JESUS
Chambers said that we also need to learn that walking the Christian journey is a miracle, but we can only do so when we keep our eyes focused on Jesus.
"Satan's number one strategy against you is to lead us to become afraid because he knows he has no power over Jesus and those who look to Jesus ... . That's what he tried to do to Job for Job to try to let go of God and he did the same with Peter ... . Our greatest temptation is distraction".
He proceeded to offer guidelines to help with the Christian journey.
"There are four things we need to do with the word of God: read it, study it, memorise it, and obey the scripture. We need to spend time in prayer. Prayer should be a conversation with God. As you walk along the journey, talk to Jesus about everything and build a relationship with Him. There is no situation that God's children face that God doesn't have a way of escape for them because the word of God says it."
He further mentioned: "Connect with other believers. Read good Christian literature. You need to share your faith. What this does for you is increase your capacity to learn more, and you need to guard the avenues to your soul. Whatsoever things are lovely, pure, think on these things, and grow in understanding."