In our quest to hear God’s voice, I must address the elephant in the room who is blocking our ears – sin. Trust me, no one likes to talk about sin less than me! But when we know that God has forgiven us through our faith in Jesus, why are we still living in denial?
Lie #1: We have to be perfect to earn God’s love.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:1-2, NASB)
Deep down, many of us have a hard time believing that God’s love does not fluctuate according to our performance. I know that we say we believe that His love does not change, but our actions are drowning out our words. If we feel condemned and unloved, then our natural response is to distance ourselves from God and miss hearing His voice in our lives.
The more time we spend with God, the more sins will come to our awareness. As He is refining us as gold, the dross will inevitably surface. So, now that we are pursuing a closer relationship with Him, we must understand His extravagant grace or we might just find ourselves paralyzed in a pit of condemnation!
Lie #2: We cannot change.
Another reason we are reluctant to admit our sin is that we think we don’t know how to change. Have you seen that hilarious commercial by LifeLock? The “dentist” tells his patient that he has one of the worse cavities that he has ever seen and then starts to leave. The patient asks, “Aren’t you going to fix it?” The dentist replies that he is not a dentist but a dental monitor! Praise God that He is a sin cleanser and not a sin monitor! God sees the complexities of our personalities and desires and wants to cleanse us. All of us have something in our lives that we know we need to change. Thankfully, God did not give us the gift of heaven and then tell us to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps on the way there! Like most good lies, lie #2 is partly true. We cannot change on our own, but through the Holy Spirit, God can transform us.
“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe my ordinances.” (Ezekiel 36: 26-27, NASB)
“While Christ’s work on the cross, the shedding of His blood, was the only way to settle the problem of guilt, sin, and condemnation, the coming of the promised Holy Spirit was God’s way of changing human beings from the inside out.” Jim Cymbala, Fresh Power
Lie #3: We will miss out on all the fun.
By admitting our sin and fully surrendering to God, we may feel like we are giving up something. It’s like that picture floating around on social media where the child is clinging to a small teddy bear, refusing to hand it to Jesus while He is holding a giant teddy bear behind His back. We may not always be able to see what we are gaining before we admit our sin. That is where faith comes in. God’s plans for our lives are always better, more exciting and more fulfilling than our own.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses
Maybe after reading this you still feel a little uncomfortable facing your sin. Only the Holy Spirit can effectively change our hearts. It is a process and it takes courage! If you are ready, then pray this prayer with me:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Please reveal to me anything that is preventing me from having a closer relationship with You. Hearing Your voice is more important to me than anything that I am clinging to. I cannot do this in my own strength but I know that through Your Holy Spirit You can change my desires. I am expectant and look forward to a closer relationship with You.
In Jesus’ name,