Summary: Forty factors that lead to spiritual regression and how to counter-act them with steps toward Christlikeness
Let us Progress in Christlikeness Lest We Regress
Progressing - To move forward while proceeding steadily to the advancement of a goal, especially maturity in Christlikeness.
Regressing - To move backwards while falling back to an earlier spiritual level of growth. To return to an earlier state of development, maturity or understanding.
Illustration: When it comes to how tall we stand, inherited genetic factors establish a ceiling that limits our height. Regardless of diet and exercise, physical growth ceases at a certain point. No matter how hard we may try, when that limit is reached we can’t grow anymore (vertically that is, though many of us have a tendency to continue to expand horizontally).
Our potential for spiritual advancement, however, is unlimited. How "tall" we become depends on our own desire and how much we draw on the provisions of our heavenly Father. We’re not held back by the genes we inherited from our earthly parents. The sky’s the limit.
Christian maturity doesn’t just happen. Our "diet" has to be right and we must "exercise" our faith regularly. Unless we feast on God’s Word, there’ll be no progress. Unless we obey it, we’ll never realize our full potential.
How tall and strong are you in God’s sight? How much have you developed this year? Whatever your answer, you can stand even taller. Remember the secret of growth control, and then do something about it. The Bible commands, "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18).
(Our Daily Bread)
Why People Spiritually Regress -
Some people are not wholly devoted to the Lord. Lord. (Col. 3:23)
Others turn away from God as Solomon did. (I Kings 1 1:9)
Others allow temptations to conquer them. (Kings 1 1:1-13)
Some let pride bring them down. (Prov. 16:18)
Some let lusts conquer their mind, will and emotions.(l John2:15,16)
Some let the evil desires of their heart to defile them.(Matt. 15:18)
0thers let their love for God grow cold. (Rev. 2:4)
Some run ahead of God through their own fleshly efforts. (Gal. 5:4)
Some become discouraged, frustrated or resentfully bitter. (Heb 12:15)
Some allow the good seed of God’s word to be choked out by the worries, riches and pleasures of this life. (Mark 4: 1-21)
Some do not continue to consecrate themselves in all areas of life. (’ Pet. 3: 15)
Some get distracted and settled for mediocrity. (Rev. 3:15)
Others give in to carnal, selfish or egocentric (Gen 13:1)
Some fail to press for the higher goals that are in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3: 14)
Some fail to grow in their faith as Abraham did. (Rom. 4:20,21)
Others compromise to gain peoples’ favor, acceptance or a sense of belonging to some group (Gal. 4:8-10)
Some fall into the devil’s entrapment. (Gcn. 14)
Some fiddle with the insignificant and non-essential matters while forgetting to concentrate on the essentials of God’s priorities(Gal. 6:6-1)
Others surrender to a life of ease to please themselves, their families and their close personal friends. (1 Thes. 2:3-8)
Others simply fail to make the wisest choices regarding the will of God. (John 7: 17)
What Factors Contribute Toward Spiritual Regression?
1. Choosing friends and associates who are not wholly devoted to the Lord God (2 Tim. 2:24-26)
2. Fear of people as Peter denied Christ because he feared what others would say about him. (Matt. 26:70-72)
3. The love of money as the root of all sorts of evil. (I Tim. 6:10)
4. Disobedience to the Lord, the scriptures and the prompting of the Holy Spirit (I Sam. 15: 11)
5. Giving in to societal, tribalistic, nepotistic, cliqueish, or family pressures. (Gal. 1:10) Lack of knowledge, wisdom or connection to the whole will of God. (Col. 2:3)
6. Failure to remember and appropriate the promises of 2 (Cor 1:20)
7. Listening and following carnal or ungodly advisers (Eph. 4: 14,15)
8. Giving in to the pressures to care for the things of one’s earthly distractions and cares. (l Cor. 7:35)
9. Failure to see things from the mind of Christ. (Rom. 12: 1,2)
10. Inability to cooperate with the body of Christ. (Eph. 4:13)
11. Lack of endurance, patience, or perseverance in doing good (I Cor. 15:58)
12. Selfish ambition for power, prestige or popularity. (Acts 8:19) Love of the world as Demas who forsook Paul and the ministry after ten years of faithful service. (2 Tim. 4:1-10)
13. Various forms of idolatry (Ex. 32:X) Various manifestations of selfishness (Prov. 14:14
14. Resorting to deceitfulness, politicizing or intrigue (l Tim.6)
Root Causes For Spiritual Regression
1. Faulty or incomplete dedication to the Lord, His will, His word, His church or His great commissions of Matthew 28:19,20
2. Poor devotional habits (Mark 1:35)
3. Poor self-discipline. (I Tim. 4:7,8)
4. Failure to give priority of our time, energy and attention to prayer and the ministry of the word. (Prov. 16: 18, Acts 6.2-4)