Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When Sin Stands in the Way of Your Closeness to God

In her book, When You Don't Know What to Pray: How to Talk to God About Anything, Linda Evans Shepherd includes a chapter on praying to experience God's presence in our lives. Included there is a list of those things that may prevent us from enjoying closeness with God. Number one on her list is unrepented sin. Shepherd writes:
...it's not like God quits loving us, it's more like we can't hear his music because we're tuned to another station. We need to tune our antenna to God! We need to stop watching the shows we know we shouldn't see. Quit listening to music we know we shouldn't hear. Quit saying those things about our pastor, our family, our spouse, our co-workers, and our neighbors we know we shouldn't say. Stop sleeping with those people to whom we're not married. Block the porn sites. Stop with the drugs and the alcohol.

God hasn't moved. He hasn't left us. However, if we have sin in our lives, we need to clean up our act so we can enjoy his sweet spirit.

If we don't start taking our Christian walk more seriously, we're going to reap disaster in our personal lives, our families, our churches, and our community. Why? Because when we go our own way we'll zoom headlong into trouble. So, if you're doing something you shouldn't, stop it, right now. Put it down or turn it off and walk away.
Good advice! Except that, from my reading of the Bible and my own personal experience, I would put it slightly differently: Run away!

Shepherd lists several other reasons we may not be enjoying God's presence:
  • Lack of invitation
  • Unanswered prayer
  • Grief
  • No understanding of the depths of God's love
Just before He ascended to heaven, the resurrected Jesus promised believers, "I am with you always." The great thing about the promises of Jesus, God enfleshed, is that they're valid and real even when we don't feel them. Neither God nor our faith are captive to our feelings. So, even when we don't feel God's presence with us, He's still there!

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