I have been thinking today a lot about regression (or reversion) in people. I see it in myself at times. If you have even done nursing home ministry you see it everywhere. Elderly people acting like children. You could say they have gotten more childlike but if you speak to them it is not that at all. They have returned to their childhood state of mind.
It is natural in a crisis to look for shelter and safety. If where we are is intolerable and we can't go forward we go back. Time travel is not possible so we flee in a different way.
A couple of verses come to mind.
"Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." - Luke 18:17 ESV
"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways." - 1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV
I know believers that act like atheists. They aren't but they have reverted into the mindset of one. Some might say that they were never regenerated at all... that is the case for some but not others. They have just reverted because of pain or hurt or something irreconcilable that happened.
"For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt." - Hebrews 6:4-6 ESV
This is a very contested passage but I really think it is speaking of reversion. The reborn Hebrew suddenly couldn't work. They were thrown out of the synagogue and faced tremendous pressure and persecution in Israel. Some of them responded to the pressure by reverting. They acted like they were who they were before Jesus came on the scene. They denied Christ and returned to an old way.
It is sad to see someone saved in their twenties revert back to the things they did before but it is even sadder to see someone who was brought up in a Christian home and converted at an early age revert because they just don't have anywhere to go. They almost invent a fictional past to return to.
Salvation can't be lost but the believers experience of salvation can be. People can't turn back to God if they deny the very existence or reality of the thing that they would be turned back to. Jesus isn't Messiah to a backsliding person... He is a problem to be avoided and not the solution to be embraced.
But, The old music isn't the answer. Finding your high school flame won't solve anything. It might just raise more questions. Skepticism is from before... why would we return there? We can sulk like a thirteen year old and skip through the grass like we are seven but we will still be who we are now. The thing that stopped us and caused us to retreat is still there. Hiding won't fix anything.
We all need to be childlike but in a right now kind of way. God can return our thinking to childlike purity when redemption enters our frame of reference once again. Jesus is the door that opens into childlike faith. There is no other way in. In truth there is no other way forward but through Him that will not lead to vanity.
Fear can only hinder the ignorant. Faith mixed with truth gives all of us the ability to move forward because God is doing it in us.
"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation ... Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life." - Psalm 42:5, 7-8 ESV
Yes. Let's be men and women that stand tall. We might flinch but we don't have to fall back. Our faith can be fresh, pure and new like a child as we move in the maturity of years.
The past has a nice fragrance to us at times but those roses are gone. There are new fields to be planted and harvested. Let's go forward and cry out, 'Today I will put away childish things. Today I am believing in You. I am going forward with You God. Take me where You will.'