Have you ever heard your conscience telling you that God is not pleased with something in your life? Have you felt the tangible presence of God moving away from you, because you are holding on to something which is not good for you? Well, then you are not alone. We all experience this feeling at times, but we need to understand that what we are hearing at those times is nothing else than the tender, loving (not the condemning) voice of the Holy Spirit, telling us to get rid of, throw away, and repent from our sins.
God asks us to utterly get rid of certain things
Unwillingness to repent, or blaming of others grieves the Holy Spirit, and quenches His presence. In 1 Sam 15:1-30 we read about Saul and the Amalekites. The Amalekites were Israels biggest threat. They lived by plundering other nations, and they were the first ones to attack Israel when they had reached the promised land. On top of that they also threatened Israel’s intimate relationship with God because of their Idol-worship. So God was literally fed up with the way they constantly caused harm for the children of Israel, so He couldn’t let them live and continue like that anymore. The next thing God does it that He gives Saul a command to utterly destroy all that belongs to the Amalekites. It was a very specific command which could by no means be misunderstood. God gave clear details to destroy both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. But still, Saul thought he could edit Gods command and change it to be something that was comfortable for him, and continue to have Gods blessing on it!
Many times we are like that. God asks you and I to utterly destroy or get rid of certain things in our lives: Attitudes, wrong priorities, wrong friends, sins or other things which are causing us or other children of God harm. But we usually don’t want to let go of it. Saul didn’t want obey the commandment, only a part of it. He threw away those things which were of no use, but spared the good out of everything, “so that I can sacrifice it to the Lord” he said. Pretty good excuse, but we know that partial obedience is disobedience, and moreover I don’t think he wanted to sacrifice it to the Lord. I think he wanted to use it for his own personal gain. The word says that he spared what was good. He saw some value in it, that could profit him if he laid his hands upon it.
The difficulty of letting go of our sins
I know out of personal experience that it is very difficult to have to let go of something you are used to do, and something you like. We always have a tendency to want to hold on to the things which are wrong, and the reason is that we think we are gaining something out of it. It feels good to sin, for a moment. We find ourselves comfortable with our sin, but the consequences in the long run are devastating. How come we are so blinded to believe that we gain anything out of disobeying God? Are we smarter than God? Can we choose which commandments to obey and skip the rest which doesn’t fit into our lives and our situations?
Just because there is grace and forgiveness in the new covenant, it doesn’t mean that we have a license to sin. There are always consequences, sooner or later, because God is a righteous god. I may not see the consequences in my life now, I may think like Eve: “Nothing happened when I ate the fruit, so lets continue because it is so good“, but if I continue to ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, His presence will slowly move away, and there will be horrendous consequences in the future.
Sometimes we have all kinds of religious excuses for holding on to our sins, and we think that we are an exception of Gods wrath if we have a reason good enough for it! But there are no exceptions in Gods kingdom. God is a just judge, no respecter of persons and one day we will all stand before a big white throne and be held accountable for every single small thing we have done. Then no excuses will help you, no blaming others will help you. There it’s just you, and God.
True repentance and obedience maintains Gods presence
We all fail, but there is forgiveness and restoration in the blood of Jesus. I have decided to be even more sensitive to the Spirit, and careful about what I say and do. The last thing I want to do is to grieve the Holy Spirit. We need to truly repent and change our lifestyle like David did, not like Saul did. Even while “repenting” Saul kept on blaming others. He said “it was the people, I only listened to the people’s voice”, while he was actually appointed as a responsible leader for the people. When I see Saul’s reply I can clearly hear the same tone as of Adam when he told God; “it was the women who gave me the fruit, and I ate“. Saul kept on making excuses and craved for position. He never repented out of a sincere heart and love for God. Therefore God finally told him that he was not useful anymore, and rejected him as king.
God can only use people who truly repent and take responsibility for their sins without blaming others. God is also looking for people who repent not because they need position or recognition, but because they love God, and don’t want to grieve the Holy Spirit. I have the privilege of learning from someone who is such an example in this, and that is my own husband. He is a man who really loves God, and when I see the fear of God in his life I really get challenged to drastically change my lifestyle. He is a person who sometimes asks God and people for forgiveness for things so minute that it would never even cross my mind to ask for forgiveness for such a small thing. While I think he has done nothing wrong he still loves God so much that he refuses to grieve the Holy Spirit even with the smallest little thing. When such people repent from their sins, no matter what they have done, the presence of God will be over them in a strong way
If you feel led by God to make a personal commitment to enter into a deeper lever of obedience and love for God, then please take some time personally before His throne and ask Him to reveal things in your life that He want you to get rid of, and be willing to get on your knees to repent from things He reveals to you. Then you will also experience a deeper lever of His presence in your daily life.
Blessings and love.