Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

Healing Our Backsliding?!!

    What God told Israel through His prophet, Hosea (14:1), is as true now as then. “Your sins have been your downfall.” So what’s to be done about it? First, we have to admit that God is right about our sin diagnosis. Our love affair with sin led us on a long journey to a country far away from Him. Hosea tells God’s guilty people that they need to return to God. How does a city, a country or a church, return to God? Answer: one soul at a time. And if one person’s decision ignites another’s faithful response? Well, so much the better! I must admit that living life according to my selfish agenda doesn’t work. It doesn’t raise me up. It leaves my soul in the dust. The end result is all darkness and devastation. But God graciously invites me back.

   Secondly, as you return to your God, Hosea says, “Take with you words.” What else do we have to offer? Did God want the animal sacrifices of unsurrendered souls? No! First He wanted their hearts. He longed to hear words from convicted, broken hearts …from hearts that were penitent…and which longed to return home to Him. The fact is, dear and fellow-sinner, that our sins have so impoverished us that we have absolutely nothing to offer God. All we have left is a hope (which is itself the gracious gift of the kind of Father God we have) that He won’t turn from us in utter disgust…a wish (that we are fearful of verbalizing in case it were not possible) that there might yet be some slight chance for us…a heart-deep sorrow over what our sins have done (God help us) which makes us so sick and tired of sinning that we want to be done with it all…and a determination (such as we are able to muster) to give up, once and for all, going our own way that we might go it His way.

   So, as we return to God we should take with us words…but not too many words…no excuse-making, no rationalizations, no explanations…just sincere words of repentance and the simple plea, “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously…”(14:2). The words we take with us should be thought out by us beforehand. We must think about what we will say to our God. Israel had been guilty of seeking and trusting in foreign alliances. In order to bolster up military assistance through those alliances they gave themselves over to the worship of the gods of those countries with whom they had entered into agreement. So as they return to the one true God they say, “We’re done, Lord, done with trusting in military alliance…done with looking to the power of horses…done with crafting gods with our own hands then falling down to worship the pathetic things.” God was pleased to hear such things from these people and promises to love them freely (as He always had) and to heal their backsliding (v. 4a). What’s that? Did He say He would heal their backsliding?  Yes! Praise His Name! Remember this was a nation prone to backsliding. Backsliding was nearly their national pastime. Was the healing of their backsliding really possible? God said it was. God said He would do it! And that generation who were the recipients of the severe mercy of God washed their hands, finally, of all idolatry (v.8). 

   Do we really wish to be healed of our backsliding? What has come between us and our Father God that is blocking us from His healing of our backsliding? What is it God needs to hear from us? What words from your broken heart shall you bring to God? He can forgive us. He can heal us. And our Lord’s Cross is the guarantee of that!

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9 thoughts on “Healing Our Backsliding?!!

  1. I think in order for me to come back to God, I had to get to that point where I realized I had nothing. I had nothing to recommend myself. I was pathetic and empty and hopeless. I was humbled by the way my marriage had turned out. I had made horrible choices and had to finally admit that fact. I felt like I had nothing that God could use, or that He would want to use. Because I finally had my pride out of the way, I could see that He was my only hope….my only chance at having anything good. I know I didn’t earn it…don’t deserve it…but God gave me good things in my life and a peace I didn’t ever expect to feel again. I have hope that He can and will use me…even the cracked pot that I am…to show His power and love to other people.

    I think God saw me and said “Oh sweetie, finally you emptied all that other stuff out so you can fill up with ME. I’m sorry you had to get hurt to get that accomplished…I sure didn’t want it to go that way. But come here and let Me love you and fill you with the perfect gift of My Spirit.”

    I pray that I never let anything get in the way of God’s love again. Please Lord, heal my backsliding so that You are my goal and You are my hope. Remind me that only when I seek Your will can I find the things I need to feel whole.

    Sherry, why do you think we are such slow learners of the lessons of how much we need God and how much better His way is than ours? I know that I require and tax the patience of Father God. I’m glad Israel’s history is written for us, for many reasons, one of which is to see the amazing graceful patience God showed those folks far, far beyond anything that might have been expected by anyone. His patient wooing of us, allowed us to come to it…to come to ourselves…to come home to Him. I like your prayer in your last paragraph. And your words “only when I seek Your will can I find the things I need to feel whole” are so true and remind me of what Jim Eliot wrote, “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.” May God keep answering your prayer until the day you awaken in His arms to ever be with the Lord.

    • Email Girl on said:

      Sherry, I read your comment with tears in my eyes and a heaviness in my heart tonight. I hope I end up there…I hope I get to that point that you got to. Right now my heart aches to run to the Father but my head stops and says…you can’t do that…you’ve screwed up this…and that….and you made huge mistakes and continue to make them. Its like I can’t run to him until I’ve changed everything…my brain won’t let me. I don’t think He wants the still broken me…I feel like he want the me that can give Him the credit, the me that can surrender fully to Him. And as much as I want to be in that full surrender…I run from it. I’m fighting for so much right now. Thank you for writing what you did….you have a special place in my heart dear friend. Love you….C

      • Email Girl…..Just so you know, I felt that I had messed up way too many things for Him to want me…felt like I was still messing things up (still feel like I am messing up all the time!!) I didn’t think He wanted me, loved me, cared about me in anyway. All I knew is I was dying where I was and I had nowhere else to go but to Him. So I turned my heart to Him…humbly telling Him everything I had done and begging Him to help me. I had done everything I knew to do and it had failed…and I was so so tired of trying. The broken me was all I had and I had no energy to pretend that I was ok anymore.

        You are so special to me and I pray constantly for your rescue. Love you too.

  2. It was helpful for me to read this Doug. It brought some things to light for me that I either never really grasped or had forgotten to pay attention to. The first was that God says sin is the problem and if I’m going to move forward then I have to agree with Him. I usually don’t come right out and start blaming other people, places, and things for my problems, but that idea is constantly under the surface. I think to myself I could just fix this or that … if I just wasn’t so busy … if I weren’t so tired all the time then I would feel better and I would treat God better and make His priorities my priorities. It boils down to sin and I have to admit that … and mean it … if I’m going to move forward instead of sliding backward.

    After admitting it to myself then I need to admit it to Him … He wants me to admit my sin and ask for help from the only One Who can help. We tell children all the time to “use their words” … well now it’s my turn.

    I have to have faith that He will rescue me from this place of darkness. I have to realize that His rescue methods may not meet my expectations and they may not be on my timeline … BUT I will be rescued … He promises … and until then He says … “My grace is sufficient.”

    • oakesclan on said:

      Isn’t it astounding…I mean…it can only be consummate grace upon grace…that Father God leans in to listen to our words of penitence and of re-dedication…and that He welcomes these and accepts them as representative of our hearts???!!!! And yet, He knows we will muck it all up again. But He also knows that in our core, we want what He wants for us. He knows that we have welcomed that desire He’s put in us for Him…for His truth…for His holiness…for His work on this earth. And so, because of the wondrous Cross, He is able to accept our poor words…our feeble living sacrifice of ourselves to Him…our intention to be and do better…our small efforts to help…to serve…whenever, whoever, however. He heals our backsliding by His gracious overtures of love toward us…the greatest being the gift of our Lord Christ. There’s a day coming…a day of brightness (the darkness will have passed away)…a day of realized hope (to be with Him and to be like Him)…an eternal day of wonder and inspiration…a day when sin is extinct (not even fossil remains of it)…a day of pure love (no mixed messages or motives). Until then…as you reminded us…His “grace is sufficient” to take us through whatever remains to be dealt with here…and then RESCUE! Blessed be His Name!

  3. I have lived for many years and I have had my times when I have been in and out (backslide) with God. I love the people who seem to never let that happen. They are steadfast with God and persevere. I just would let down and allow the to world crowd out my relationship w/my God. Sometimes you just don’t feel good enough anyway, so you figure “What’s the use?” Sometimes I have let other interests just keep me away.
    I have gone thru just feeling bad at church people for not doing more to help out. Like Cemotosnack said we blame a lot of things and people for our own backsliding. I have gotten discouraged (still can) with circumstances in my life (though my life is not really that bad). I fight the feelings we all wonder about death and the ‘Why’ of It) But I know Death is what Jesus was fought against for us. Sometimes the question still would come in my life “what is the use” since I will probably never make it to Heaven.

    At times I’ve questioned how my God could truly care about me…one little person in this whole wide world.
    But He does. I see it more clearly today than ever. At times, if I dwell on it, I still don’t feel worthy enough for God to love me. But I have seen the examples in God’s Word where people were not worthy and God thought they were.

    I do get tired somedays while other days are very sweet and good to me. Does that mean God is not with me on those days that are hard? No. I know he is there and I hope with all hope that the Best is Yet to Come. So in my later years I do keep on keeping on because I have more understanding and know my God does love me and it keeps me from turning my back on him again in my life.

    I know people Doug has told me about that have been very, very sick in this world. I think most people draw closer to God then because the body is suffering and they need a relief in their weary bodies. I don’t hear of many people backsliding then because they need to know there is someone who can help, if not here in this life, then in the hereafter.

    But God still never leaves us in all our ways. Bless the God of Heaven and Earth. He knows our frail ways and it’s something to think about…how he hangs on to us…and how He knows we need him even when we don’t act as though we know it.

    • oakesclan on said:

      Sis, Through all of our lives from birth to childhood through adulthood and into older age, the one constant for us is Father God. He has always been there for us guiding us with an unseen hand, keeping our love for Him alive within us, protecting us from evil, giving us opportunities to be involved in His work in this world, allowing us to meet, get to know and learn from people of faith and feeding our living hope which will never put us to shame. Our hope lives because of Him. One of these days, it will all be better. I love you, D

  4. Email Girl on said:

    Doug…I want to address your last paragraph because it hits something in me that needs to be woken up.

    I want to be healed of my chronic inability to submit myself to the Father. I don’t know if what I have is called backsliding…I think mine is more like running backwards. I say running because sometimes it seems I do it so urgently and I say backwards because I, so far, have refused to turn my back to Him and run. I have to keep my face toward Him…I don’t know any other way to keep surviving if I don’t.

    What stops me from running to Him…what keeps me from healing my “running backwards”…is my own self…my will…my heart…my brain. Maybe I can’t commit fully to Him because I learned from early on not to trust. Maybe I have just survived for so long that I can’t depend on anyone else. I could come up with a million excuses and not one of them sounds credible to me. Because I know better…I just don’t chose to do better.

    God needs to hear me say…I’m sorry..and I want to come home…and that I’ve missed Him. I need to confess to Him what a mess I have made of my own life and the lives of others. I need Him to know that I’ve never stopped loving Him…not ever. I’ve questioned Him…I’ve been angry with Him…I’ve ignored Him…but I haven’t stopped loving Him. He knows this…but I need to tell Him.

    I’ve done some stupid things lately in my running backwards…some things I am not proud of. I pray He knows my heart because then He must know that it is breaking. I keep finding things He has left for me on the journey away from Him…things I know in my heart He is trying to get me to hear…things I know He wants me to see. One thing after another, after another. I hear it, I see it, I might even a respond a little…slow down my run…but I don’t stop. And I certainly don’t run back to Him. I wonder if I am even capable…or if He’d even want me to come home. Will He take me like I am? Will He be offended by the things that are in my heart? Will He tell me I’m too little too late? I know the answers to those questions as they apply to other people…I’m just not so sure I deserve the same consideration from our God.

    • oakesclan on said:

      The trust issues you have are not at all surprising given what you have been through in your life. Anyone who couldn’t understand that couldn’t understand anything. I just want you to know that it is entirely reasonable that you have this hesitancy…some anxiousness, or even fear at the thought of releasing yourself fully into His arms and His care.
      Yes, He does know about your love for Him. And that’s a gift He’s given you that you have been able to accept. You could not love Him, if you did not have some acceptance of His love for you. Remember 1 John 4:19? “We love because He first loved us.” So, you see, you’ve already made a beginning in your returning to Him. The fact that you see His beauty and truth and admire them…the fact that you cannot turn and run from Him…the fact that upon some level you really want to finally come home reveals that the desire for holiness is alive in your heart.
      I’ve been wondering how I could help. I’ve puzzled over what to say. I’ve been praying for you. But I know it has to come from you. Like the son who lived away from home in the far country, you have to have a breakthrough in your own thinking. In the case of the wayward son (Luke 15:17) it was “…when he came to himself” that he made the needed break with his present lifestyle and took the journey home that made all the difference in his life. So, I say again, that I believe you’ve already taken the first step because it’s in your heart to love your Father God. I pray that you will take the next step. Pour out your heart to Him. Tell Him the whole story. Weep out your blinding tears. Let Him love you out of the sin and darkness. It may not feel very magical, but it will be right! It may not be easy, but it is simple. Take the next step…just one…your children are needing you to do this too. May God help you be strong for your own heart, for your children and for all who love you and want the best for you. Prayers rise! God bless you, sister.

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