walk in the word
Category: Spiritual Life
Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. Psalm 95:7—8
We’re continuing on the radio this week with the series, “Going Down for the Third Time”—a study from the life of Saul. There’s something about this study of Saul’s life that needs to get said. It’s a tough message to hear, but truthfully, it is something that can radically change your life and your relationship with God. Really. And though there’s no warm fuzzies attached, it could be the most loving thing you’ve heard all year. Thanks for reading on with an open, receptive spirit.
I’m sure that if we could’ve asked Saul how he got into such a mess with God, he would have told us a sad story. Poor Saul. He tried so hard but life was against him. When his life tragically ended, he was far from God—by his own choice. Nobody wants to believe that—you are where you are because of choices you made—but it’s the truth.
Have you ever felt far from God? You think, I try so hard and yet nothing seems to work. He always seems distant. God works in other people’s lives; they must be more spiritual. Or it must be easier for them. Or, or, whatever.
All our excuses don’t add up to the reality that sin separates us from God, specifically sin that we’ve refused to deal with. Isaiah 59:2 makes this very clear: “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”
God’s like, Fine. Next time we talk, we’ll talk about that. If you come to God and try to talk about anything else, He says, I’m not listening to you. If we’re not going to talk about your sin then we’re not going to talk about anything.
Whoa. No wonder when there’s unresolved stuff in our lives we feel distant from God.
But isn’t it true that when you came to the Cross by faith all your sins were forgiven? Yes—you are eternally forgiven in that the just, eternal penalty for your sin was placed on Christ. You’re going to heaven now, not hell. Yes, you were forgiven in that sense. But practically speaking, your present sin breaks your fellowship with God.
It’s like this—suppose one of your kids got really upset with you and they spit in your face. Would that hinder your fellowship? You bet. Not a lot of hugs and kisses would be coming their way until you got that worked out. You say, ‘But I love them. I’d go after them and work it out.” That’s exactly what God does.
How does He come after us? By bringing conviction. The Spirit of God convicts us of our sin for the purpose of drawing us back into fellowship. Psalm 95:7–8 says, “Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” That’s God saying, when you see your sin for what it is—then do something about it!
Here are the five steps you need to take:
You’ve got to be right with God. If the Lord’s people are sinful and don’t know how to repent, they could live their entire life in broken fellowship with God. All the things that frustrate them and cause God to seem so distant are tied to this specific issue of repentance.
Bottom line: If we’re not willing to take these steps, we’ve got a massive problem on our hands.
So, how are these things for you? What patterns of disobedience have you smoothed over, dealt with lightly, or blamed on others? That explains a lot about the distance you feel from God. I’m not criticizing or condemning you. I examine myself in this, too. Repentance is the centerpiece of an on-going dynamic relationship with God.
Isaiah 1:18, “’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow.’”
May God grant us changed hearts and lives and a genuine willingness to draw near to Him. Thank Him today for His promise that when we draw near to Him, He draws near to us (James 4:8). And then take the necessary steps to make it right—you’ll be so glad you did.
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