How Sin Affects Hearing God
Do you know how sin affects hearing God? A part of me wants to tell you that it will keep you from hearing Him. But that comes from my desire to protect you from the impact transgressions have on your life. Not to mention the religious side of me yells down from my high place, “God would never speak to you, sinner!”
If you know me, you know that’s not my heart. The truth is, God has spoken to me on many occasions even though I was not being the least bit holy. Unrighteousness will not flat out keep God’s still small voice from you. But it does strain your side of the relationship with Him and hinders your response to Him. Your vices make every attempt to hold you captive and sway your allegiance. They whisper lies, that if accepted make the truth harder to apprehend.
The first time God spoke to me, I really was His enemy. My sin and even my hate towards God did not keep me from hearing Him. I’ll never forget He said, “I know you, more than you know yourself, and I love you—enough to give My Son to die for you.” A crack went through the wall I had built between me and God, but it remained. The deception I had submitted myself to for years kept me from responding. I didn’t receive Jesus in that moment, I chose to continue on my own way apart from Him.
But God pursues us with a relentless love.
“We love Him because He first loved us.”
– 1 John 4:19 (NKJV)
Despite my denial of Him, God didn’t change His behavior towards me. He continued to chase after me even though I didn’t turn towards Him. I perceived Him speaking to me again within the year and that catalyzed me to give my life to the Lord.
More recently, I was repenting of a sin that I had fallen into many times. In that moment, when I didn’t expect it, He suddenly spoke calling and purpose into my life. I thought my ungodliness disqualified me, but the Lover of my soul didn’t see it that way.
Whatever you are struggling with, know that God’s love is greater than any offense you’ve committed. God sees you differently than you see yourself. He looks at you through the lens of Jesus and calls out who you are in Christ. God is love. He always protects you, His affection always perseveres, and He always hopes the best for you (1 Cor. 13:4-8).
This is one way to tell if your thoughts are being led by God or not, does what you are thinking condemn you? Does it say you will never get better? Does the quiet whisper in your heart bring hope or despair? Even when God convicts us of sin, He does it to free us from that trap, there is His help to overcome and with that—hope.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
– Hebrews 4:15-16 (NASB)
How sin affects hearing God.
If our misdeeds kept us from hearing God, it would be impossible to perceive Him speaking until we got to heaven. Even though they don’t stop God’s still small voice, we should do our best to not walk in our old ways. The problem is sin steeps our old nature.
We continue to struggle with desires of our flesh and temptations we fall into. This has a definite effect on our lives but more importantly, it grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30). Our thinking about overcoming sin will majorly shift when the truth hits home that God is always with us. We carry the Holy Spirit into our sinful behavior and force Him to watch us suffer from it (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
You are called to love Him and deeply respect His holiness. I know you don’t want to do anything to hurt Him. And you don’t want your feelings towards God dampened by getting your needs met apart from Him. Know there is forgiveness (1 John 1:9) because of Jesus’s work on the cross (Romans 6:23). That is settled, along with His undying pursuit of you in love. Communion with Him is two way though, and you must guard your side against the effect of sin.
We have a choice, and He has given us the commandment and ability to choose life.
“… I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life…”
– Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV)
I am a big believer in victory and obtaining freedom from sin. I believe that you can and should overcome sin in your life. Not that you will be able to completely eradicate it, but at least try! Strive for excellence. And when you mess up, Jesus’s perfect sacrifice takes away the condemnation from you (Rom. 8:1) and you should not have a sin-consciousness (Heb. 10:2).
I don’t call myself a dirty, rotten, wretch of a sinner saved by grace, anymore. I was that but now…
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
– 2 Cor. 5:21 (NIV)
I don’t want to hinder you from vanquishing the works of evil in your life by saying this but… God will speak to you despite sin. Even so, strive for the life that represents the upward call of Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:7-14).
“Lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.”
– Ephesians 4:1b (NLT)
This post has been portions excerpted from my upcoming book about hearing God. For more on this subject get this free recording by me, God is Trying to Tell You Something.
Have you been surprised by God pursuing you and speaking to you despite your sin? I hope you’ll share your testimony, leave a comment below!