Our actions can either draw us closer to God or take us farther away from God. This does not mean, however, that we need to earn our salvation or earn God’s favor. Thankfully we are not saved by our works; everything has already been DONE for us by Jesus’ work on the cross. God does not love us any more, or any less, based on our day to day actions. However, we can do things in our lives which help us walk more closely with the Lord. We can also do things which take us off the Lord’s path and hinder our ability to follow Him.
One way this happens is the choices we make when we feel God leading us a certain way or telling us something He wants us to do. We can choose to listen and obey Him or we can choose to ignore and sin against Him. The more we obey and follow His leading the easier it will be for us to discern His voice in the future.
Conversely, the more we ignore and sin against Him the harder it will become to hear His voice. If we continue to ignore God it will soon seem as though He has stopped talking to us completely. He really hasn’t but we have let the sin in our lives, and the noise of the world, drown Him out. Luke 8:14 explains what happens to the seed that grows among the thorns in the parable of the soils. In this parable the thorns which represent life’s worries, riches and pleasures drown out the voice of God and the believer falls away.
I like to think of our decisions as either building up our personal “mountain” or digging our personal “pit”; both places in which we will find ourselves dwelling. Let me explain further. Good decisions, such as when we listen to God’s voice, or follow the direction we receive from the Word of God, or even follow Godly counsel from a trusted friend, all result in our mountain growing a bit higher, or closer to God. The converse is also true, following bad council, or the lust of our flesh, and not trying to hear God’s leading will result in our pit getting a little bit deeper, or farther from God.
With this illustration I like to think of God’s love and guidance as the sun shining down on us. When we have built a mountain with our actions and responses the light of God’s love and wisdom can reach us easily and surround us from all directions. When we have dug a pit for ourselves, God’s light has a hard time reaching us; only a small amount touches us. Thankfully, with God, nothing is impossible. Some of His light can always get through no matter how deep a pit we have dug for ourselves.
The best way to live is obvious. We want to daily make more choices that draw us closer to God. This in turn will allow us day by day to grow a bit better at understanding the will of God, a bit better at hearing His voice and more and more able to feel the magnitude of the love He has for us. Paul states it best in his prayer for the Ephesians (Ephesians 3:17-18); "and I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ."