We run the risk of being alienated and distant from God without truly being conscious of our condition.
I fear that the pews of our churches are filled with people who attend church on a regular basis, but who are not in good fellowship with the God they profess to praise and worship. We must recognize that salvation is not weekly event we attend, but its a daily lifestyle we live. If we are not daily living for Jesus, and consciously experiencing His presence through prayer and meditation in His Word, it is because we have left Him. And when we leave Him, we have no genuine concern or interest in that which concerns Him.
I used to think that the term "backslider" applied only to those who had joined the church, and at some point thereafter became inactive. But the truth is we can be at church every time the doors are opened, and yet be a backslider due to our neglect to cultivate a lifestyle which is Christ-centered and Christ-directed.
If we do not closely monitor ourselves, we can spiritually descend to the point where we settle for ritual above relationship; church membership above Christian discipleship, and spiritual entertainment rather than spiritual enlightenment. That is when church becomes just another activity, and worship becomes just another event.
If you have fallen from the heights of your former devotion to the Lord, and descended to sinful plains of mediocrity, I want to suggest some steps that you can take to find your way back to God.
In 2 Chronicles 30:8 we read these words: "Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you."
In this challenging Old Testament word, we discover three steps one can take to get back to God, and to rekindle their love for God.
First, SUBMIT TO THE LORD. The text says, "Yield yourselves to the Lord."
We move away from God whenver we fail to yield ourselves to Him. We are not saved from eternal damnation to do whatsover we please. We are saved from sin to serve the Savior. We cannot truly serve the Savior until we submit to the Savior. We must become obsessed with fulfilling His will over own will.
It is inconsistent to call Him "Lord" but not yield to Him. We truly honor Him as Lord when we do what He says to do; go where He says to go; say what He says to say, and abstain from what He says to abstain from.
If we call Him "Lord" but refuse to obey what He says, that's false honor. False honor does not impress the Lord because He knows those who truly trust Him.
If you would come back to God, you must first stop your rebelling against God, and just yield to Him. Give Him the right of way in your life. Cease from debating and arguing with God, trying to impose your will and way upon Him, and resign just todo whatever He says. This means that you have to put away your pride, and humble yourself. True humility shows up in your obedience.
Second, GO TO CHURCH. The text says, "And enter His sanctaury, which He has sanctified forever."
The devil has many religious people deceived on this point. They feel that can have a relationship with the Lord without having a relationship with a local church. But that is not the truth at all. I beleive St Augustine put it best: "He who would have God for his Father, must have the Church for his mother." I would like to put it this way: If you would have Christ for your Savior, you must have the Church for your strength and support.
The church is the "Bride of Christ." How can you love Jesus, the Head of the church, and not be in love with the church, the Body of Christ? Those who claim to love Jesus without loving His church have a love that is suspect and very questionable. That's that funny kind of love.
Going to church regularly helps to keep us on track spiritually. It helps to keep us in good spiritual shape. And of course, that is if the church we attend is doing what it is designed to do: Preaching and teaching the true Word of God, winning the lost, and developing disciples.
I might caution you here, that all places advertising to be a church are not churches of Jesus Christ. Some places are just Sunday morning clubs. A true church is distinguished by the content of the message preached. The message of the church is the message grounded in Christ, and in the cross.
To get back to God, you must get back to church! Scriptures validates this truth repeatedly.
Jonah had to get back to church (Jonah 2:4). Asaph had to get back to church (Psalm 73:17). The people to whom the message of the text was addressed had to get back to church. And you, my brother and sister, if you would find your way back to God, must get back to church. And I do not mean just being AT church; you've got to get IN the church.
When you are in the church, it will be evidenced by your involvement and participation in the life and work of the church. That leads to the third step.
Thirdly, SERVE THE LORD. The text says, "And serve the Lord your God."
Love is best evidenced by its service. Love is not a feeling. Love is not a poem. Love is not "rap." Love is not talk. It's action. Its service.
God "so loved" us that He served us by giving His Son. The Son, Jesus Christ, so loved us that He gave His life. If you so love God, what are you giving Him?
When you love God genuinely, you will be moved to serve Him.
Give Him your LIFE.
Give Him your BODY.
Give Him your MIND.
Give Him your TIME.
Give Him your TALENT.
Give Him your TITHE.
Serve Him with all that you are, and with all that you have. Give Him your ALL.
You can't be God giving. The more you give to Him, the more He'll give to you. If you serve Him, He'll take real good care of you. If you take care of His business, He'll take care of your business!
COME BACK TO GOD! Don't delay. Don't wait. Don't tarry. Just get up, and come on back. He's waiting at the door with outstretched arms to take you back as His own.
COME BACK TO GOD!