Summer is always a challenging time for me spiritually when all routines seem to go out the window, our church attendance is sporadic due to traveling, and my women's bible study group takes a break until the fall semester. I really have to commit a chunk of time in the morning before anyone else gets up to have some time reading the Bible and praying, because otherwise the busyness of the day kicks in and there really isn't another chance to do it until 10:30 at night when I can barely keep my eyes open. The other morning I was reading through the Bible and this verse caught me off guard:
Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
I've read this verse before, but reading it now at this present time in my life it has more meaning. It was a reminder to me that even though I am now 'saved' and the debt of my sins paid for, it doesn't mean that I no longer sin. And, just because I am saved, it is not a reason to stop confessing my sins to God. I feel like over the summer I've gotten into a pattern of rationalizing my sins, justifying my sins and not looking to improve or change. What I've realized recently, is that although I have already been forgiven my past, present and future sins, there is still a price to be paid in my life when I don't confess them, and when I don't repent of them. That price is not feeling closeness with God. There is a space in our relationship because I am trying to hide and cover up and excuse myself from showing God my ugliness. King David puts it best when he says this of his own unconfessed sins:
When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord" and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Another consequence that I learned in the Isaiah verse at the beginning of this post is that when there are unconfessed sins between me and God, He will not hear me. My prayers will not be answered. Could it be that in this adoption journey we are not waiting on God at all - but instead He is waiting on me to get right before him? Acts 3:19 boldly says: Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
I am certainly not saying that all unanswered prayers are due to unconfessed sins, but I think it is always worth a deeper look. I know in many circles the word sin implies that you've done something horrible like murder or stealing or cheating, etc. But, God's definition of sin is as simple as: James 4:17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. And, not doing what we know we should can pile up into a pattern of disobedience to even God's most simple commands. There are specific areas in my life patterns and actions where I feel God probing me to change - and yet I've made excuses for why not to. Thank goodness getting to heaven doesn't depend on me and what I can bring to the table. Today I am more thankful for my salvation, and knowing that it is free and God is merciful, even when I mess things up.
But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.