I was having a conversation with one of my girls the other day about incremental backsliding. I explained to her how everyone I know that has “fallen away” from following Jesus, did so with seemingly small steps. You may be familiar with the pattern, there comes first some cynicism about the church, then a gradual lack of attendance. Usually there is some kind of moral compromise going on behind the scenes. It’s laid out pretty clearly by David in Psalm 1, verse 1: How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! His take is that it is through associations with compromising individuals that aids in the slide. Paul reinforces David’s premise: “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” –1 Cor. 15:33
Whether it’s through actions or associations, the way down is usually gradual.
How different is the way back! The way back is simple, immediate, and requires only one action and one association. The action is repentance, a turning of the heart from sin, and back to God. The association is with Jesus, the one who stands ready to forgive those who would look to Him.
I think one of the greatest tricks of the Devil is not getting us to compromise, but getting us to believe his lie, that the way back is like the way down. That it requires time, progress, and a wholesale change of associations.