I had set my cup of coffee down on the end table, to reach up, and get a book off of the shelf to clarify a reference. I turned back, picked up my cup, and went back to the dining room table to finish what I was studying. I did not realize the bottom of my cup was wet leaving a ring on the table. When I went to wipe up the coffee a cloudy ring was left on the table. Try as I might I could not get the spot off the table. I tried to put vase on top of the spot but it did not look particularly smart to have a vase sitting on the edge of the table. Every time the sun shone on the table it revealed my inadvertent mistake.
To remove the table ring, I had to take decisive action and take the table into the garage, strip, sand, and refinish the table. We have the same things happen in our spiritual lives when we sin against God in unintentional ways. The sin weighs on our hearts. We try to rationalize it away saying it is no big deal. We might even think that God isn’t watching. This only causes our hearts to drift father and farther away from God. When God’s light shines in it reveals our sin and our need to get honest to God.
In what areas of your life have you drifted away from God? Has your life slipped into spiritual mediocrity? How do we return to God in the places in our hearts where we have strayed? God loves to give us wisdom and insight into our true spiritual condition. He wants us to be able to renew our passion for Him.
We need to loosen the grip of distraction and sin in our lives. God describes some specific practices to lead us in a new direction. “Yet even now, declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster,” (Joel 2:12,13).
These disciplines are good for us because we live in denial, and find it hard to invite God to search us and know us. Disciplines of fasting and other kinds of abstinence, help us face the hold sin has on us, and lead us to repentance, forgiveness, and freedom.
Do you feel distant from God? What has distracted you from being intentionally focused on cultivating a deeper relationship to God? As you wrestle with the grip worldly attachments have on your heart, may you enter into a godly grief that leads to repentance, and then forgiveness, and freedom.