One Step Forward…(Jeremiah 7:24)

Jake was my college classmate whom I met through our college Christian fellowship. I did not know much about him except that he was very knowledgeable about the Bible and was raised in a Christian home. I was a nascent Christian, less than one year since I had been saved. I attended the Friday evening college fellowships and saw him regularly. However, by the time I was a junior, I noticed that he stopped attending. He lived in a different part of the campus, in an area I rarely visited, and we had no classes together. One Saturday evening, I was visiting his dorm to see a classmate. A party was going on in the hall and the tell-tale red cups and familiar aromas were everywhere. Someone offered me a drink but I politely turned it down. “What’s the matter, you don’t want to party?”

“I’ll pass. I have to wake up early tomorrow morning.” I hoped my answer would placate him. 

“What, are you going to church?” he sneered. I was about to answer when a familiar voice behind me yelled, “Yeah, he’s a Christian, so of course he’s going to say that!” It was Jake. Obviously inebriated, it was not an appropriate time to renew our relationship. Jake was the first Christian I met who seemingly turned their back upon their faith. Backsliding is the usual term Christians use for this. I was a young Christian and I did not know or understand how to help him. I know others attempted to intervene and help him. Although he attempted to reconnect with his faith during the remaining years of college, he fell back. I later heard that he renounced his faith. We graduated and I never heard from him again. 

Yet they didn’t listen or pay attention but followed their own advice and their own stubborn, evil heart. They went backward and not forward.

Jeremiah 7:24 (CSB)

One step forward, two steps back. A wise person once told me, “Sin is ugly and messy.” Although I did not understand what was happening to Jake at that time, a few years later, I would also backslide. Like this declaration from the Prophet Jeremiah, I listened to my own advice and evil heart and made my life ugly and messy. It was many years before I was able to repent of my sinful lifestyle and re-establish my relationship with Jesus Christ. Like Jake, there were many times I took one step forward and two steps back. However, only by God’s grace and mercy did He rescue me from the treadmill of sin and place me on firm footing, surrounding me with Christian brothers and a church that held me accountable. 

God’s love and power can overcome any backsliding, but everyone must be willing to humble themselves and come to Him on His terms, not one’s own. 

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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