We all love slides. That downward descend is effortless on the part of the slider. As soon as he lets go, the silent force of momentum takes over and the slider finds himself at the bottom of the slide, his feet in the sand. The journey is exhilarating.
The Apostle Paul talks about a slide we should all beware of. It is the slide of our faith.
In the book of Hebrews, he clearly warns us of the stages of sliding. We do not lose our Christian faith overnight. It is a process that happens over time, it begins from slipping away.
We distance ourselves from the church. We come but are not connected. We drift (Heb 2:1). Soon, the distance creates doubt and unbelief (Heb 3:12). ‘I don’t need the church in my life. I am doing fine without them.’ ‘The distance is good. I get some freedom and no responsibility.’
At this point, momentum picks up speed and the next turn is unsuspecting. The drifting and doubt has taken us away from the presence of God and godly fellowship. Our hearts harden and give in to deception (Heb 3:13). Past the half way mark, the slider makes no effort to resist. His ears are dull of hearing (Heb 5:11-14). No warning or exhortation gets through. His ears will not hear.
Turning round the last bend on the ecstasy of speed and the illusion of freedom, there comes the abrupt and sudden stop. He denies (Heb 12:16-17) the God that saved him, loved him and died on the cross for him. He denies the existent of his Creator and the One that gives him every breath he draws. He denies God.
What do we need to do in order to be lost and slip away? Nothing, the momentum of life will do that for us. But to remain in Christ, we must fight the good fight of faith and stand strong.
Every child has made that brave attempt to climb up that steep slope. Sometimes the climb upward is difficult, especially with the wrong shoes. The easiest direction is obviously downwards – it is as convenient as letting go. Yet no child will be contented with just sliding down. It is more worthwhile to climb up the slide despite its challenges.
So how do we resist the slide of faith?
Begin by hearing (Heb 2:1). Listen to the word of God through reading the Word, coming to services and praying. But don’t stop there. Pay attention to what the word is saying to you and take heed. Do what it says.
Harden not your heart (Heb 3:8)! Don’t justify or rebel against the chastisement of God. A child must trust that the reason for the Father’s chastisement is love. Listen and respond to His love. Obey the Lord and keep yourself from the distraction of wealth and prosperity. Our hearts harden because we neglect to soften it. The world is a cold place. Out of the presence of the fire of God, our hearts will harden. Come into the presence of God and allow His love to soften you.
Neglect not the assembly of the saints. We need others to exhort us (Heb 3:13). We need to be reminded of our purpose. Let them pray for you, care for and comfort you. Admonish and exhort each other! Keep the fear of the Lord in your hearts and labour (Heb 4:11).
We labour not to earn salvation but we labour to discipline our flesh and be fruitful. Lastly, consider (Heb 12:3). Examine and observe closely. Position yourself, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
There is another slide we can embark on. It brings us from the height of ourselves to the reverent position of worship. This ride picks up the momentum of faith and trust. The exhilaration and thrill is genuine. It is the discovery of a God who loves us and the God who created us. Every turn is a surprise and delight! And the end is a sudden catching away and our feet lands on streets of gold.