What shall separate us from the Love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Romans 8:35
This was my morning verse. Each day, I write different verses from the bible to study and pray over. This was a rather short verse I thought. However, the longer I sat with this verse, the more I realized how much truth and impact it held. As I sat journaling, I wrote the following questions: What can separate me from God? Why have I felt close to the Lord at times and then suddenly I notice a distance that wasn’t there before? How many times have I had to fight my way back to the Lord in my life? Yes, this short verse weighed heavy on my heart.
Growing up, I was always taught that sin will separate us from God. And, as a parent, that is what I have taught my own children. Today, God prompted me with a new question. If I know that sin can separate me from God, why do I keep sinning? That question hung in the air as I sat and pondered. A memory flooded the silence.
Our daughter was always a bit sassy and determined to do things her own way as a two-year old toddler. I remember constantly telling her she could not climb up on the table and removed her over and over. One day, after about the 5thtime in a matter of an hour, she did it again. I looked at her and asked “what should mommy do now that you are on the table?” She looked at me, grinned and swatted her own bottom. Then, she proceeded to sit on the table smiling like she had won.
To this day, I remember feeling sad and a bit defeated as a mom. Gentle reminders, tough redirection, and even all of my love didn’t change her will. She chose to disobey.
We all, like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6
Throughout my life, I have chosen to sin, just like my two-year old daughter chose to constantly climb on that table. I have indeed gone astray by turning my own way and seeking my own will.
I don’t believe that most of us set out to willfully sin and disobey God. We don’t intentionally set out to be separate from God. However, we may find ourselves choosing sin over our relationship with God. Whether we sin out of fear, pride, laziness, stubbornness, etc., the outcome is the same – separation from God.
Beyond the separation from God, what happens when we sin? In my experience, choosing to sin opens the door to continue to sin. It also opens the door for different sin to enter our lives. Sin has a snowball effect that can leave us with an overwhelming sense of guilt and hopelessness.
How do we stop the snowball effect of sin? How do we battle the sin in our lives? There are 4 things we need to do daily to battle our own sin. Sometimes, we may need to do these things hourly or minute by minute.
First, we need to confess our sins. It doesn’t matter how many times you confess the same one. If your heart truly desires to no longer sin in this way, you should confess it.
Secondly, we need to pray for the strength to not sin again. When I am praying, I ask for the strength to overcome the obstacles that pull me away from God. I pray to feel God’s presence so that I walk towards Him, not away from Him.
When we are sinning, we are far from God. What better way to draw closer than to read the Word of God. There is something powerful in this simple act that makes me feel ready to battle my own tendency to sin.
In some ways, taking time to worship the Lord through music and prayer can be like a battle cry. By praising God and his power and authority, we are acknowledging our own weakness and our need for the Lord.
As we do these 4 things, I am reminded of the promise in Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” You see, when we actively seek to be obedient and walk away from sin, we will be filled with strength, grace and the love of the Lord.
As I wrapped up my time in prayer and study this morning, I realized how much I want to draw closer to God. I don’t want a divide or a separation between myself and the Lord. I know the separation can sneak up on us or we knowingly allow it to seep into our lives as we sin. And, so, today I want to leave you with an image and a prayer as you seek to draw closer to God.
Dear Heavenly Father, how you must be grieved by your children when we sin. We are disobedient for so many reasons and in so many ways. Yet, you never stop wanting a relationship with us. Please help your children to know that it is never too late and no separation is ever too wide for your love to bridge. Encourage us to confess our sins and seek strength from you. Remind us of your blessings and invite us into worship with you. Lead us and guide us in drawing closer to you. In your name, we pray. Amen.
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