How can you come back to God after backsliding? Is it even possible?
Of course! Rest assured. You’re never ‘too far gone’ from your Father in heaven who loves you like no other.
In this blog post, we will talk about 4 things you can do that’ll help you personally reconnect with God. We’ve also included Bible verses for a little extra encouragement.
But first, let’s cover what it means to backslide as a Christian.
What does it mean to backslide as a Christian?
Backsliding as a Christian refers to a situation where you may have once committed to actively following Jesus Christ. However, you have since started to drift away from your faith.
Reasons for backsliding will vary from person to person.
For example, you may have been hurt by church members, which caused you to also pull away from Christianity in general. Or, perhaps a series of hard events made you question or be angry at God.
Whatever the precise reason, the symptoms of backsliding will usually start to show itself in our lives.
For example, you may find yourself increasingly engaged in behaviors or attitudes that are contrary to God’s teachings in the Bible.
This could mean willfully engaging in sin, neglecting prayer and worship, or just being apathetic towards the things of God.
Other signs of backsliding can be more subtle.
For example, you may feel more and more complacent or bored about your faith. Or maybe you’ve become easily influenced by people who, intentionally or not, promote morals and thinking that do not honor God.
This helpful video gives more details.
In short, if any of the above warning signs apply to you, chances are you may be backsliding from God.
However, please don’t feel defeated or hopelessly lost, ever!
Remember, God is abundant in love, grace, and mercy. He forgives. And if our hearts our willing with even a mustard seed of faith, He is always ready to welcome us back to Him with open arms.
But don’t just take our word for it; God’s Word reminds us of this.
The parable of the prodigal son is a beautiful illustration of God’s unfailing love towards His children who have backslidden
In the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), Jesus tells us of a son who turned away from his father and went to a far-off place to indulge in careless living.
But, soon enough, the son found himself in dire need when a famine hit. He quickly saw how even the servants of his father’s house had it better than he did.
Thus, the son decided to return to his father and ask for forgiveness.
Instead of condemning him, the father saw his son from a distance and ran straight to him. He embraced and kissed him. The father then asked for a grand feast to be prepared to celebrate the return of his prodigal son.
Why? Because the son whom he truly loved was once lost – but now was found.
Like the son in the parable, you too may have wandered far from God the Father.
But by His unfailing (and undeserved) love, He is willing to forgive you and welcome you home in celebration.
In short, if you’ve backslidden as a Christian but long to return to Him, do not fear or hesitate. God is faithful, and nothing can ever separate you from His love for you.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 8:38-39
With all this being said, let us now look at 4 tips to help you come back to God after backsliding.
4 Tips to help you come back to God after backsliding
Here are 4 tips to guide you back into a renewed relationship with God.
A quick note: remember, don’t rely on your own strength alone. God is always with you in relationship. So, with an open heart and willing mind, welcome Him to spiritually journey with you throughout every step.
1. First, be honest with God
A key tip to reigniting your relationship with God is to first confess that you have indeed backslidden.
Be honest with God – and yourself – about the reasons that caused you to stray away, whatever they may be.
If you consciously know the reasons for your backsliding, don’t be afraid to express your heart fully in prayer, warts and all. God knows all about your life (Psalm 139:1-24) and He hears your every word in love and compassion (1 John 5:14–15).
If you don’t consciously know what made you turn away, simply ask God to reveal the hidden causes to you. Be patient in listening, allowing the Holy Spirit to illuminate your heart (Psalm 139:23-24).
This whole process may not look pretty. It may involve confessing things that make you uncomfortable to admit at first.
However, don’t sidestep. Honesty really is the best policy here. This is especially so when it comes to rekindling your close relationship with God.
2. Seek forgiveness
God is perfect by definition (Psalm 18:30). His infinite wisdom and understanding of all things will always transcend our own finite knowledge (Proverbs 3:5-6).
In short, He is God, and we are not. Moreover, as flesh-bound humans, we are all prone to sin and straying in our ways (Romans 3:23).
With this in mind, the next tip you can do to draw closer to God after backsliding is to sincerely repent and humbly seek His forgiveness for turning away (Isaiah 55:7).
Like the prodigal son, we make mistakes when we backslide and choose to follow the world over God.
But just as the son humbly sought his father’s forgiveness, so too should we seek God’s abundant mercy – which He gives when we have the genuine heart to ask (Ephesians 2:4-5).
Put simply, true repentance is the start of having a joyous and restored relationship with God. As the Bible says:
When we repent and turn back to Him, He forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.Luke 15:7
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.Acts 3:19
God doesn’t ask you to be ‘perfect’ before you approach Him. On the contrary, He simply cherishes “a broken and contrite heart” (Psalm 51:17) that is freely given to Him.
Be assured. Your heavenly Father will never turn you away, for “the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” (Psalm 145:8-9).
All it takes is saying a heartfelt prayer of repentance for backsliding. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, without fail (James 4:8). That is His timeless promise to you.
3. Keep renewing yourself with God’s Word and regular prayer
The world is filled with many temptations that will coerce us to once again backslide from God. Power, chasing money, the need for human approval, you name it.
However, as a revitalized believer, God asks you (and all of us) to try to resist conforming to the world’s lures. Instead, seek to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
This transformation process involves spending more time reading and understanding the Bible – HIs Logos Word.
Why? Because, contrary to the ever-shifting sands of this world, it is filled with His timeless Truth. This Truth teaches us how to truly glorify Him and, in so doing, also flourishes our spiritual lives for the better (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
In addition, God also desires for us to pray often (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17).
Prayer isn’t a boring monologue. It is an active conversation that nurtures our close relationship with Him. He hears our humble requests (Philippians 4:6-7) as we, too, learn to listen.
As with most relationships, the more time we choose to spent with God, the more we desire to stay near to Him and hear His rhema words.
In short, take the time to read your Bible and pray. These things will surely transform your life over time. They are a big part of helping you come back from backsliding.
4. Join a community of believers
As you draw closer to God, you’ll also want to join a healthy Christian community for regular spiritual support and encouragement.
This is key because fellowship with other believers stops you from feeling isolated. You’ll learn to actually live out your faith as you “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) in love.
It’s also a great chance to have regular Bible study, prayer sessions, and other group activities that mutually keep all your desires for God fresh, together.
One thing to note: Perhaps your reason for backsliding in the past was due to being hurt by a Christian community. People may have let you down.
However, this time, remember that Jesus must be the main reason behind any faith community you join. We worship God, not people – though we are indeed called to love others fully in humility (John 15:12-13).
In other words, yes, your bonds with other believers are deeply precious, and we must do all we can to sustain them with care.
But whatever happens within your community (e.g. members drifting apart, etc.), set your heart on loving God, above all else (Matthew 22:36-40).
By keeping Christ front and center, you minimize the risk of backsliding again, no matter which group of believers you eventually join.