(Pro 10:17 KJV) He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
As a teenager I sat under some of the finest preaching you could ask for. The theology was sound. The Bible was explained. The pastor was a genius at communication. That was in the day when churches still had evening services. At it’s height this church was so enthused that you had to get to the evening service early if you wanted a seat. It was a time of glory and gospel.
As I look back at the kids I sat in the pew with I am discouraged at how many of them have walked away from the faith. I am not talking about leaving the church. There is more than one church around, or at least there used to be. I am talking about turning your back on everything that at one time you claimed and testified to. What happened?
I think the key is in this verse. They did not “keepeth” (heed NASB) (8104) the truth that was being presented. Did they listen? Yes. He was a good preacher. To get the point you need to put together the “keep” of the KJV with the “heed” of the NASB. Another good translation is to “guard”. This is the word that you see in the Shema,
(Deu 6:4 KJV) Hear (8104), O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:It has the idea of listening and making central to your thinking.
So? Backsliding is not a matter of making a decision to not believe. It is a repeated choice to keep pushing God and His teachings to a secondary place in your life. It is like those cool bell bottoms you use to wear on a regular basis. When fashion changed they got pushed to the back of the closet. One day you came in and realized your mother had thrown them out.