“In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” –Ephesians 1:7
Have you ever felt that God does not hear your cries for help?
Have you ever asked, “Why has God abandoned me in my hour of emptiness and loneliness?”
This dilemma describes a reader who left a recent comment on my Dec. 15, 2014 blog, “Why Would God Ever Want to Love a Sinner Like Me?”
This is a shortened and edited version of the reader’s note:
I can’t even feel guilty anymore for my sins … it’s starting to scare me because before I would cry and fear, now I don’t even feel the Spirit agonizing. I feel like I have laughed at God with my sorrys and sins every 5 minutes that He knows I’m not for real, I’m not loyal.
I feel like I’m not loved by anyone, everyone judges me … I feel so much pain and sorry for myself. I feel like I sin (especially in pornography) because it’s the only thing I have left that will make me feel good, even though it doesn’t fulfill me. Since I can’t feel God, I think “I might as well.”
I feel so lonely … I have prayed to the depths of my core and I never see change. I’m probably a burden to God … I truly believe I’m going to hell. If God knows this, why do I ask for help and end up sinning because I don’t have patience? Why can’t I feel His hand in my situation?
My heart goes out to this brother, and I doubt he is alone in his circumstances.
But the signs of why the Holy Spirit is not guiding his life are fairly obvious.
Christians have a choice: be free in Jesus or remain in bondage to the enemy.
Are You an Unhappy Christian?
I recall Calvary Chapel South Bay’s late Senior Pastor Steve Mays saying, “The unhappiest Christians are those with one foot in the world and the other in Jesus.”
Sometimes, as chronic sinners saved by grace, we consciously choose not to follow the Spirit’s will for our lives.
We are creatures of free will. God made us that way.
You can follow Jesus, who made you alive after you were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). Or you can follow your own desires.
God’s Word addresses this dilemma in James 1:13-15:
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
There are times when believing in Jesus and calling Him Lord is nothing more than a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.
We sin, we beg for forgiveness, we sin again, implore the Lord to forgive us once more, go on to another sin, fall on our knees and pray “Give me just one more chance,” and on it goes.
But there comes a time, as this reader laments, when God’s presence is no longer felt.
The noise of your own sin drowns out the whisper of Holy Spirit in your life
When you’re hungry for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, it’s not like calling up Domino’s to order a pizza to be delivered.
Boom! Thirty minutes later the Holy Spirit is at your door. Not likely.
If the desire to sin in your life is stronger than your walk with Jesus, how can you expect the Holy Spirit to guide your life?
God will not impose His will on you.
If you do not feel God’s presence in your life, it’s because YOU are shutting Him out by insulating yourself in sin.
The only voice you hear is that of your own desires.
Habitual sinning is like a roaring freight train that builds up speed.
The faster it goes the louder it gets.
It gets so loud that you can’t hear God speaking to you anymore, short of a catastrophe in your life to get your attention.
(For more on this related topic, see fellow scribe Peter Guirguis’ blog “3 Reasons Why a Good God Allows Bad Things to Happen in Your Life.”
Psalms 46:10 reminds us to, “Be still and know that I am God.”
How will you know God if you are moving around in sin? How can you hear Him if your sin is like a roaring freight train?
I believe God the Father doesn’t abandon His children, but He often turns a deaf ear to those wallowing in sin.
For example, we read over and over in the Old Testament how the Hebrew people, witnesses to the startling and magnificent power of God in their lives, would eventually return to their sinful ways of worshiping other gods.
They would ignore the rules for their peace and prosperity that God placed before them through Moses and other prophets.
God’s response in some of these situations was to ignore their pleas for divine intervention.
He would give them over to invading enemies, allowing them to once again be scattered and become subservient to other nations.
For those readers facing a similar dilemma as our friend, it is worthwhile to note that God hates sin and can’t be in the presence of sin.
Not even for His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross taking humanity’s sins upon Himself. God had to turn away, causing Jesus to cry out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)
Wouldn’t you rather be like David, and have the ear of God?
He says in Psalms 120:1, “In my distress I cried out to the Lord and He answered me.”
God looks at the heart of man (1 Samuel 16:7).
Are you sincere in wanting Jesus to be the Lord of your life always, or only when it suits you?
Jeremiah 17:10 says, “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
When God searches your heart and your mind, what will He find?
Are You Putting God First or Your Desires?
It is human nature to want to sin, but then can you truly say you fear God?
Proverbs 16:6 says, “By the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.”
Are you one of those people who can resist anything but temptation?
God’s Word deals with that as well:
1 Corinthians 10:13 notes:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
If you remain in sin it is because that is the path you choose.
If you cannot hear or feel the presence of God, inventory your life.
Are you out of the Word? Do you acknowledge your Creator daily? Are you walking in sin? Do you pray to Him daily? Do you thank Him for all He has done in your life?
Stop sinning. Seek repentance with a sincere heart.
Put God first so that you are not “tempted, lured, and enticed by your own desires.”
1 John 1:9 says:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Make Jesus the Lord of your life, not sin.
Only then will you be able to hear His still and quiet voice.
Only then will you feel safe, surrounded by God’s love.
And only then will you feel His hand holding yours as you walk through this life.