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Posted 03/30/2023 in Christian Mental Health Tips

Backsliding in Christianity: What Causes it and How to Get Back on Track

Backsliding in Christianity: What Causes it and How to Get Back on Track

In the journey of faith, we often find ourselves on a winding path, sometimes slipping away from the convictions and values that once held us steadfast. This phenomenon, known as "backsliding," is a shared experience among Christians, a journey that can lead us away from the spiritual course we've set for ourselves. But what exactly causes this spiritual drift, and, more importantly, how can one find their way back to the unshakable foundations of their Christian walk?

In this article post, we will delve deep into the concept of backsliding in Christianity, exploring the various causes that may trigger it, and providing a roadmap for those seeking a way back to a vibrant, unwavering faith. Whether you've personally felt the weight of backsliding or you are looking to gain insight into this spiritual challenge to better support others, this post aims to shed light on a topic that is both relatable and, ultimately, redeemable.

Through the pages that follow, we'll navigate the turbulent waters of doubt and distance, and in doing so, we hope to illuminate the path that leads back to a revitalized Christian journey. So, let's embark on this exploration together, seeking understanding and guidance to rekindle the flames of our faith.

What Causes Someone to Backslide In Christianity

Backsliding in Christianity refers to a gradual or intentional decline in a person's commitment to their faith and spiritual practices. It is a process in which a believer, who was once actively engaged in their faith, starts to drift away from their religious convictions and spiritual walk. Backsliding can manifest in various ways, such as neglecting prayer, avoiding church attendance, weakening moral standards, or adopting behaviors contrary to their religious beliefs.

Backsliding can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Some common signs of backsliding include:

  • A decrease in prayer and Bible reading

  • A lack of interest in church or other Christian activities

  • A tendency to sin more often

  • A feeling of distance from God

The Top Causes of Backsliding Within the Christian Faith 

Several factors can contribute to backsliding in Christianity:

An Out-of-Control Schedule

Ephesians 5:16 (NIV): "making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil."

An out-of-control schedule can cause spiritual drifting by consuming all of a person's time and energy, leaving little room for spiritual practices and reflection. In the hustle and bustle of a hectic life, individuals may neglect their spiritual needs, such as prayer, meditation, and attending religious services. This lack of spiritualchristian backslides is sometime caused by busyness quote by Christian counselor Corine Williams nourishment can lead to a weakening of their faith and a growing distance from their relationship with God. Ephesians 5:16 emphasizes the importance of redeeming the time, making the most of every opportunity, as a reminder to prioritize one's spiritual life amidst life's busyness. When this balance is not maintained, spiritual drift can occur.

Misplaced Affections

1 John 2:15 (NIV): "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them."

Misplaced affections can cause spiritual drifting when individuals become too attached to worldly desires and pleasures, prioritizing them over their spiritual connection with God. When the love for material possessions, success, or worldly pursuits takes precedence, there is less room in their hearts for love and devotion to God. This attachment to the world, as cautioned in 1 John 2:15, can lead to a spiritual disconnect, as love for God can be overshadowed by love for worldly things. It's a reminder to maintain a proper balance and focus on the spiritual aspects of life to prevent drifting from one's faith.


Proverbs 24:10 (NIV) - "If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!"

Discouragement can cause spiritual drifting by weakening one's faith in the face of challenges and adversity. When individuals face hardships or obstacles, they may become disheartened and lose their sense of hope and purpose in their spiritual journey. This discouragement can lead to a lack of motivation to engage in prayer, attend religious services, or remain steadfast in their faith. The verse from Proverbs highlights the idea that if we falter or lose faith during times of trouble, it reflects a spiritual weakness. Overcoming discouragement and maintaining faith in difficult times is essential to prevent spiritual drifting.

Seduction of the World

James 4:4 (NIV) - "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."

The seduction of the world can cause spiritual drifting by luring individuals into worldly pleasures, values, and behaviors that are contrary to their faith. When people prioritize the world's temptations and desires over their spiritual relationship with God, it creates a division between their faith and worldly pursuits. The more they become entangled in the values and practices of the world, the farther they drift from God. James 4:4 warns that being a friend of the world can lead to enmity with God, highlighting the need to guard against worldly seductions to maintain a strong spiritual connection.


1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV) - "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

Abundance, particularly the love of money and material wealth, can cause spiritual drifting when individuals become consumed by their pursuit of wealth. The desire for material possessions and financial success can lead to a neglect of one's spiritual life and faith. This pursuit of abundance can distract individuals from their spiritual priorities, causing them to compromise their values or engage in unethical practices. As a result, they may drift away from their faith and experience spiritual emptiness. The verse from 1 Timothy 6:10 emphasizes that the love of money can lead to a wandering from faith, highlighting the importance of maintaining a balanced perspective on wealth and spirituality to prevent spiritual drifting.


James 1:6-7 (NIV) - "But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord."

Doubt can cause spiritual drifting when individuals question or lose faith in their beliefs and God's promises. When doubt takes root, it can lead to a lack of confidence in one's spiritual journey and the effectiveness of prayer and faith. This wavering faith can result in a sense of being "blown and tossed by the wind," as mentioned in James 1:6-7, indicating a lack of spiritual stability. Doubt can create distance from God and hinder the experience of His blessings, making it important to address and overcome doubt in order to maintain a strong and unwavering spiritual connection.

Life Challenges

1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV) - "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."

Life challenges can cause someone to backslide when they face difficult circumstances, trials, or suffering, leading to doubts and a sense of being abandoned by God. In these moments, individuals may question their faith and the purpose of their struggles. The verse from 1 Peter 4:12-13 encourages believers not to be surprised by such challenges and to find joy in participating in the sufferings of Jesus Christ, as these trials can refine and strengthen one's faith. However, if individuals do not find this perspective and instead become discouraged or lose hope during challenging times, it can contribute to backsliding in their spiritual journey.

Overcoming backsliding in Christianity Pinterest image

Doubt and Questioning

Matthew 14:31 (NIV) - "Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?'"

Doubt and questioning can cause someone to backslide when they allow their doubts to overshadow their faith and trust in God. In the verse from Matthew 14:31, Peter momentarily doubted while attempting to walk on water toward Jesus Christ. This doubt caused him to sink. When individuals continuously doubt God's presence, power, or love and question their faith, they may gradually distance themselves from their spiritual path. Instead of seeking answers and strengthening their faith through questioning, they may allow doubt to erode their belief. Addressing and resolving doubts through seeking understanding and trust is essential to prevent backsliding in one's spiritual journey.

Social and Cultural Influences

Romans 12:2 (NIV) - "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Social and cultural influences can cause someone to backslide when individuals conform to the values, behaviors, and norms of the world rather than aligning themselves with God's will. The verse from Romans 12:2 emphasizes the need to resist conformity to worldly patterns and instead focus on renewing one's mind to discern and follow God's will. When individuals succumb to societal pressures and cultural influences that contradict their faith, they may compromise their beliefs, leading to spiritual backsliding. To prevent this, it's essential to continually seek alignment with God's values and principles, even in the face of societal pressures and cultural trends.

Moral and Ethical Dilemmas

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV) - "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."

Moral and ethical dilemmas can cause someone to backslide when they face situations that challenge their principles and values, leading them to compromise their faith. This verse from 1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds believers that temptations and dilemmas are common but that God provides a way out. 

Backsliding can occur when individuals yield to these dilemmas rather than seeking the provided way out, ultimately compromising their moral and ethical beliefs. To avoid backsliding, it is important to rely on God's guidance and strength to navigate moral and ethical challenges while staying true to one's faith.

What to Do If you Backslide

It's important to note that backsliding is not the end of the world. God loves us even when we fall away from Him. If we repent of our sins and turn back to Him, He will forgive us and help us to get back on track.

If you're struggling with backsliding, here are a few things you can do to get back on track:

  • Pray for forgiveness: The first step is to pray for forgiveness for your sins. Confess your sins to God and ask Him to forgive you.

  • Read the Bible: The Bible is God's Word, and it's full of wisdom and guidance. Reading the Bible can help you to strengthen your faith and learn more about God.

  • Spend time in prayer: Prayer is a great way to connect with God and grow in your relationship with Him. Make time each day to talk to God about your life and your faith.

  • Get involved in a church or Christian community: Having a supportive community of other Christians is essential for staying on track in your faith. Find a church or small group where you can connect with other Christians and grow in your faith.

Final Thoughts on Backsliding within The Christian Community

If you're struggling with backsliding, please know that you're not alone. Many Christians have experienced this at some point in their lives. The important thing is not to give up on your faith. Turn back to God, repent of your sins, and get involved in a supportive Christian community. With God's help, you can overcome backsliding and get back on track in your faith.

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About the Author:Christian Counselor in Maryland, New York and New Jersey Corine Williams, Ph.D.

Corine Williams, Ph.D. is Clinical Psychologist that is currently seeing clients in the States of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. You can find out more about her practice by visiting www.therapyforchristians.com/corinewilliams. In addition to providing individual therapy, Dr. Williams is also passionate about writing books and designing merchandise that educate, uplift, and normalize mental health subject in the Christian community. You can find out more about her at  www.booksbycorine.com or by visiting her amazon profile here:  https://www.amazon.com/Corine-Hyman/e/B00AWZ5FL2

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Disclaimer: the information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this article are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are looking for a Christian counselor near you, please check out our directory located here: Christians Therapist Near Me

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