If you are anything like me, you have heard people say how they heard from God. Have you ever wondered why some people hear from God while others seemingly never do? Why can some hear, feel, see God yet some not at all? In the book of Isiah chapter 59 the prophet Isiah points out to Israel that our sin is what is separating us from God. They seek Him but cannot find Him. Why? Our SIN!!
Yes, we ALL have sinned and will sin again, and sin separates us from Him: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2; see also Isaiah 13:11; Jeremiah 5:25). It was sin that caused Adam and Eve to run away from God and hide “among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8). Sin always brings separation.
Sadly, many Christians believe the name of Jesus gives them a free pass when it comes to sin. So with that logic their sin just keeps entwining itself around their heart like a serpent, until it has full control of their life. And they end up carrying an agonizing burden of guilt and condemnation. Paul asks, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2). Paul wonders, “We have received such incredible blessings in Christ. We have been baptized in him, buried and resurrected with him, conformed to the likeness of his death. So, how can we continue to sin?”
Sin because of its subtle deceitfulness entices us to focus on worldly pleasure to the exclusion of God’s blessings. Those who have their sins forgiven can say, “You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11). To pursue sin is to turn one’s back on the gifts of God, who has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
The fact is, the longer we indulge our besetting sin, the stronger its hold on us becomes. It’s a cancer that spreads throughout our entire being, defiling all our thoughts and actions. Its decaying power wreaks destruction in every area of our lives – from our walk with Christ, to our relationships, to everything we touch. Sin never dies of itself. If it isn’t uprooted and destroyed, it takes over the very throne of your life. First it affects your conscience, causing you to lose all discernment, this is why the bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:5″…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”. If we are unable to take every thought captive, then the difference between right and wrong becomes clouded and fuzzy. Then, sin’s voice gains your ear. Slowly, it begins to justify your lust to you – even giving you scriptural arguments to support it. Finally, you no longer respond to Holy Ghost conviction.
Sin blinds us to the truth. Jesus likened false teachers to “blind leaders of the blind” (Matthew 15:14, NKJV). John said that the one who hates his brother “does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him” (1 John 2:11). Sin has consequences which the sinner often disregards. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7; see also Numbers 32:23). Sin enslaves us and will eventually destroy us. Just as Samson’s sin led to his physical blindness and captivity (Judges 16:21), Sin is a barrier to our reception of life.
How can anyone who calls himself a lover of Jesus knowingly continue in sin? As followers of Christ, we claim to be delivered from sin’s power. We testify that the cross has fully redeemed us from the bondage of iniquity. Yet millions of believers today continue to cling to lusts, habits, grudges, bitterness. You may know Christians in this horrible condition. They get defensive whenever they’re confronted about their sin. They claim, “What I’m doing isn’t wrong. I’ve prayed about it, and the Holy Spirit has told me I’m not sinning.” Yet it is obvious the person’s behavior contradicts God’s word.
Sin lessens our love for Him. The Bible says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:15-16). James warns us of the danger of embracing the world: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4). No one can serve two masters (Luke 16:13), and we must choose between sin and righteousness.
God is pointing out that each of us must choose between one of two paths. One is the road you independently build based on what satisfies you, the other is to acknowledge your self-indulgent behavior and REPENT, that is to say agree with God that the sin is wrong and CHANGE your life accordingly.
John Coltrane, the legendary jazz saxophonist, who made his mark on the jazz world by improvising at breakneck speed. No one had ever seen a musician who could play and move his fingers so feverishly. Unfortunately, much of the frenzy that marked Coltrane’s style was the result of the varied substances he put in his body. When his body had become overtaken by all the illegal drugs and alcohol he found himself at the edge of collapse and had to make a choice. He had hit rock bottom with no place to go, so he went home to his mother and earnestly sought God and according to him God met him in a most unusual way. God came to him as a sound, a droning resonance, a reverberation, unlike anything he had ever heard. Not only did this divine groove change his life, it changed the way he played. The once frenzy style with which he made his mark in the world was replaced by a slow, soulful style, as John now would listen for God hoping he could replicate the sound on his sax. John believed if he could play that sound for others, then they, too, could experience what he had experienced during those times at his mother’s house.
For the rest of his life John Coltrane sought to find that music that had saved him, and while he may never have been able to rediscover it, he recorded one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time, on his endless journey seeking God:
We should hate sin because it separates us from God. We should hate it because it lessens our love for one another and God, it dulls our conscience, because it binds us and blinds us. We should hate it because it grieves the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30) We should hate it, because our God hates it. Our prayer to the Holy One is “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
If you somehow think the Holy Spirit is going to free you from sin’s grip without your full cooperation, you’re sadly mistaken.