You hear it all the time.
It’s the thing Christians says when they want to not-so-uncomfortably admit that they haven’t been living up to God’s standards lately.
“Yeah, dude, I’ve been backsliding lately.”
“Well, life’s been kinda rough and I’ve been backsliding a lot.”
“You’re backsliding? Whoa! Me, too!”
Generally speaking, to “backslide” means to retrogress, which is like going down the metaphorical hill in the wrong direction. Perhaps you’ve been making progress in not drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, but last night you got drunk. Or maybe you’ve been working on controlling your temper but this morning you lashed out at a family member. And then these things creep back in as habits (often worse than before), and before you know it, you’re “backsliding”.
I think it’s safe to say that we usually think of such retrogressions in terms of “major” sins: sexual activity outside of marriage, pornography, drunkenness, stealing, etc.
(Rather, if we can get into legal trouble for it, we seem to think it’s also a bigger offense to God…)
So what, then, is “buttsliding”?
I think buttsliding is that sneaky little Christianese mentality which says we can sit on our little hind ends and coast through life without paying real attention to God’s word. We can read the Bible a few times a week, but it doesn’t change us. We can go to church and sing songs, but we don’t actually worship God. We can participate in popular trends and traditions that are not honoring to God…and we can be okay with it. If we’re buttsliding, we can even acknowledge that we’re backsliding…and it doesn’t really bother us. After all, it connects us with the other backsliders who are really buttsliders…
No, buttsliding is a serious issue.
I liken it to a sickening combination of slothfulness/laziness and being lukewarm–a characteristic of the Laodicean church which God specifically despises in Revelation.
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
I know your deeds, [says the Lord] that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of My mouth.
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
If you’ve been buttsliding, don’t be proud of it. Don’t start a buttslider’s club and have little meetings about all the things you’re not doing well in life. Instead, spend some time praying for God to challenge your heart and strengthen your obedience.
That’s what I’m doing today.