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The Slippery Slope

Psalm 73:18 "Indeed, you place them on a slippery slope and make them fall to their ruin."

Ezekiel 18:24 "However, if righteous people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things and act like other sinners, should they be allowed to live? No, of course not! All their righteous acts will be forgotten, and they will die for their sins."

So what is the slippery slope?  I found this definition in the dictionary:

A course of action that seems to lead inevitably from one action or result to another with unintended consequences.”

In other words, we go from “being good to becoming bad.” The term is used most often when referring to the potential of a change that could go from bad to worse. I have been using this phrase recently while describing the nation’s heart and attitude toward God. I have been reading a book by revivalist Leonard Ravenhill called, “Why Revival Tarries.” It is an old book written in 1959 and here is an excerpt:

“The tragedy of this late hour is that we have too many dead men in the pulpits giving too many dead sermons to too many dead people.”

Of course Ravenhill was concerned that those dead sermons would eventually kill the spiritual life of the church. The saying is true, as the leader goes, so goes the church. Spiritually minded people today have a different perspective on what it means to live a spiritual life, and that is evidenced by what is taught from the pulpit. (Or at least one indicator.)

Ravenhill would say that a preacher’s prayer life is heard from the pulpit because his words reveal how well he knows God. Today many spiritual leaders live on the slippery slope. They toy with ideas and concepts that have more of the culture in them than the warnings of God’s word. When you read the biographical timeline of one of Ravenhill’s mentors, Samuel Chadwick, you begin to realize how he was trained:

“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.”

“A religion of mere emotion and sensationalism is the most terrible of all curses that come upon any people. The absence of reality is sad enough, but the aggravation of pretense is a deadly sin.”                                                                                                                 -Samuel Chadwick  

We begin to see the correlation of how we were mentored in spiritual things is how we developed our personal discipleship and ultimately what we pass on to others.

This is why the slippery slope is important to the Church. If our leaders are defining a spiritual life that is requiring less from us, granting a loose definition of holy living, and minimizing the need for prayer, we are on a very steep, slippery slope. Discipleship today consists of going to church, attending a small group, and finding an occasional work project to do for the local poor.

These have their benefits and purposes, but at the end of the day, have we been in His presence and have we been sitting at His feet? Is my character changing and am I growing as a disciple who God can use in this ever-darkening world around us? Discipleship is a process of learning to say no to self and yes to the spirit of God, and the slippery slope is diagnosed when we can’t distinguish between the two.

Keep it honest and truthful…K


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