Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

Have you ever felt far from God? You think, I try so hard and yet nothing seems to work. He seems distant. God works in other people's lives; they must be more spiritual. Or it must be easier for them. Or...or...whatever.

All our excuses don't add up to the reality that sin separates us from God, specifically sin that we've refused to deal with. Isaiah 59:2 makes this very clear: "But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear."

If you come to God with sin in your life and try to talk about anything else, He says, I'm not listening to you. If we're not going to talk about your sin, then we're not going to talk about anything.

Whoa. No wonder when there's unresolved stuff in our lives we feel distant from God.

But isn't it true that when we came to the Cross by faith all our sins were forgiven? Yes — we are eternally forgiven in that the just, eternal penalty for our sins was placed on Christ. We're going to heaven now, not hell. Yes, we are forgiven in that sense. But practically speaking, our present sin breaks our fellowship with God.

It's like this — suppose one of your kids got really upset with you and they spit in your face. Would that hinder your fellowship? Not a lot of hugs and kisses are coming their way until you get that worked out. But you love them and will go after them and work it out. That's exactly what God does.

How does He come after us? The Spirit of God convicts us of sin. Conviction's purpose is to draw us back into fellowship. Psalm 95:7-8 says, "Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts" (NASB). That's God saying, When you see your sin for what it is then do something about it!

You've got to be right with God. If the Lord's people are sinful and don't know how to repent, we will live our entire days in broken fellowship with God. When you are frustrated in your relationship with God, consider the sin in your life and repent.

—James MacDonald