If the answer is yes to any of these questions, there's hope for you … because there are three things that keep you from feeling God. These three things:
- are the work of the enemy himself;
- will keep you from hearing God clearly (although you will still hear the convicting, guiding voice of the Holy Spirit);
- can take your spiritual life, your relationships, and your joy down faster than anything else.
But the good news is: If you're willing to deal with these three things that keep you from feeling God, you can be instantly restored and set to rights. Right now, TODAY!
It's true. You don't have to keep feeling miserable. Jesus died so you could be CLOSE to God! He died so you can be forgiven, free, saved on the inside and out, and completely healed! He came that you may have LIFE, and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
Also, you should know that Daddy God wants you to be free even more than you want to be free. You know why that's good news? Because it means that HE WILL HELP YOU and walk you through these things, so you CAN be free! If you will sit down with Him and ask, the Holy Spirit will guide you through everything in your heart that you need to get right.
That's why Jesus said:
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:13).
So pray this and ask the Holy Spirit to help you:
Heavenly Father, I come before You in Jesus' name. Thank You for promising to help me. Father, I ask right now that the Holy Spirit would lead me and guide me. Show me everything that I need to get right with You. Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me, and if there is, get it out! And lead me in Your way everlasting. Thank You, Father. In Jesus' name, amen!”
If you just asked the Lord to help you, He will! Are you ready?
Here are the three things that keep you from feeling God:
- Bitterness and unforgiveness;
- Taking up an offense; and
- Unconfessed sin.
What does each one mean?
1. Bitterness and unforgiveness:
Bitterness and unforgiveness are really two aspects of the same thing. Bitterness is how you feel when you haven't forgiven somebody. And unforgiveness will take you down faster than probably anything else.
If you won't forgive other people for what they do to you, God will not forgive your sins either. Jesus Himself told us that in Matthew 6:14-15:
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Also, Matthew 18:23-35 tells us:
Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’
So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’
And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. ‘So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.'”
Wow! Yowza! Youch! That's pretty hard, huh? But it's fair, and remember that God is a good, good Father who teaches us and shapes us. He is too good to just let us think that our sin is all right. He is constantly convicting us and showing us the way to forgiveness and freedom, if we will just listen.
Also, sometimes His good, good Fathering requires Him to let us experience the hard way, if we desire to learn the hard way. When we will not yield to His guidance and instruction, we get to experience the consequences of our actions. (Or, we could just obey Him the first time, and learn the easy way, if we want to …) 🙂
Unfortunately, I have learned a lot of things the hard way. And the hard way isn't very fun.
But the good news is that the consequences change when our actions change. If we will yield to Him in obedience, we will get different results!
As soon as we choose to forgive others, God can also forgive our sins. The very moment! We know this from 1 John 1:9, which says:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
And after we have confessed our sins to Him, and He has forgiven us, we know that He removes our sins from us. Completely. He washes away our sin with the precious blood of Jesus. Sins = gone. Psalm 103:12 tells us this:
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
I don't know about you, but I don't want my Heavenly Father to deliver me to the torturers (a.k.a. disciplining me and allowing me to suffer the consequences of my own choice to remain in sin, which usually means the dark forces you've allowed into your life wreak havoc in your soul until you get right with God). Jesus has forgiven me so much, and He keeps on forgiving me every day.
He forgives you, too. So we must forgive others.
And … we must GO ON forgiving every day. Forgiveness is a daily choice.
Unfortunately, even people who love you will keep doing things that require forgiveness. The things they do might be totally by accident (or not). Either way, we have to forgive every single time someone hurts us.
It doesn't matter if you've already forgiven somebody 1,001 times for the same thing. It doesn't matter if you've already forgiven somebody 2,002 times for a different thing. Jesus said that we must keep on forgiving:
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22).
And as soon as you forgive, you open the door to the Holy Spirit again. You will FEEL the difference. Every time. Guaranteed.
So are you ready to forgive?
Go ahead. Forgive from your heart. Forgive everybody who hurt you. Forgiving them will set you free. It doesn't mean what they did was right. It simply releases you from bondage to them and what they did … and it opens the door for Father to forgive YOUR sins.
If you'd like a sample prayer to help you pray through and forgive somebody, read my model forgiveness prayer here.
Recommended resources: If you desire to experience the complete freedom Jesus died for you to have, I highly recommend that you read Neil Anderson's books Victory Over the Darkness: Realize the Power of Your Identity in Christ and The Bondage Breaker: Overcoming Negative Thoughts, Irrational Feelings, and Habitual Sins (affiliate links). They contain the Steps to Freedom in Christ that revolutionized my life personally, and I have seen these same Steps help so many other people enter into freedom. You don't even have to have help with the Steps; you can walk yourself through them. It will be one of the best things you will ever do for yourself. Are you convinced yet? Get these books on Amazon today by clicking the links above. 🙂
2. Taking up an offense.
An offense could simply be when you're holding something against somebody else that they did or said to you personally. But I really addressed that above, in the section about bitterness and unforgiveness. What I want to talk about here is when you get mad about what somebody else did or said to another person.
Let's say your pastor corrects your friend who is behaving badly. Maybe your friend has been gossiping, walking in rebellion, or sowing seeds of discord. Maybe they're embracing a pitiful spirit and trying to get everybody to feel sorry for them, without ever having to actually grow. Who knows.
But for whatever reason, your pastor brings godly correction. Your friend isn't open to correction and doesn't receive it well. Sooooo, your friend gets mad and tells you all about it. And you refuse to entertain the idea that maybe your friend was wrong and needed correction. Instead, you decide that your friend was right and your pastor was wrong, and you get mad ON YOUR FRIEND'S BEHALF.
THAT is offense. And getting an offense blocks you from feeling God and hearing Him accurately.
Offenses could happen in any arena. You could take up an offense at your job, at home, at church, or anywhere else. And getting an offense lines you up with the enemy. It is absolutely a trick from the pit of hell.
If you have taken up an offense against somebody, it's unforgiveness and you need to confess it to God as sin. You need to verbally renounce agreement with the lies the enemy has been feeding you, and forgive the person against whom you have become offended.
I already linked to a model forgiveness prayer, above. Here's a sample prayer/declaration to renounce offenses:
“Heavenly Father, I confess that I have been angry at _____ for _____. Father, I have been holding it against them. I confess my offense and unforgiveness as sin, and Lord, I repent of it right now. Please forgive me. Wash me clean and cover me with the blood of Jesus. Fill me with the Holy Spirit where that was.
And now, in the name of Jesus, I renounce agreement with every offense that I have taken up. I renounce agreement with the spirit of offense, and I command it to leave me right now in Jesus' name. I choose to embrace the truth of God's Word, which says that _____ (insert God's Word about any particular situation). In Jesus' name, I decree that I trust God with this situation. I will look to Him and trust that He will work it out perfectly through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I wash my hands of it and give it to Jesus.
Father, please give me rest. By Your grace, help me to let it go and not take it up any more. Perfect all things that concern me, Father, and resolve the situation completely. Thank You, Father. In Jesus' name, amen.”
3. Unconfessed sin.
If you are hiding sin in your heart, that sin will keep you from feeling God. It will make you feel cut off from the divine flow of the Holy Spirit.
But you know what? As soon as you confess it and ask forgiveness (assuming you have also forgiven others, like Jesus said, so the Father can forgive you), God will forgive you. Immediately. Pronto. Instantaneously. (See the Scriptures I already listed above.)
And you will feel the difference.
So want to turn the flow of God back on in your life? Confess your sin to God. Ask Him to forgive you, and He will.
Also, it helps to confess your sin to an accountability partner–a faithful brother or sister in Christ who will pray with you. That's why James 5:16 tells us:
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
There is HUGE healing in transparency. If you've confessed your sin to God but you don't feel healed from it, find a righteous man or woman to talk with. Tell them everything, and let them pray with you and for you. CHOOSE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE.
God Himself tells us that there is healing in confessing our sins to another. Forgiveness comes from confessing to Him, and healing comes when we confess to another.
There you go. Three things that keep you from feeling God. But you know what? If you're struggling with feeling distant from God today, you can be healed. Right now. This very moment. Forgive all those who have hurt you. Renounce and completely let go of all offenses. And confess your sin–to God and to a godly person.
When you do these things, you will turn the flow of the Holy Spirit back on in your life.
Does this word speak to you personally today? If so, please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!
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