If we wish to be closer to God, we must get further from sin; if we wish to possess His wisdom, power and love, we must give up what He hates. Our “Christian” culture has forgotten this basic principle and to see the proof we need not look any further than the destruction that sin has wreaked upon “Christian” families and churches. Indeed—I’ve been part of the great delusion that I could harbor my own sinful desires and still have some patty-cake, casual kind of relationship with God. God doesn’t play games with sin—in fact, He HATES it because it separates us from Him! “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa. 59:2) God does not desire anything but His BEST for us—it is WE who choose to become deluded by our own sinful desires and take ourselves from His goodness. We justify our own desire and gerrymander God’s Word around that desire so that we actually believe that our desire is “God’s will!” Then–we pursue it to the destruction of our own happiness. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a sinful desire which separates us from God—it can be just simply pursuing OUR will instead of HIS! An educational or career goal, a life-long dream, a relationship—anything which we place above God’s will—will keep us from being close to Him. When we pursue either sin or our own will above God—it reveals the depth of our ignorance about His immense and perfect love! Do we really believe that God sacrificed His only Son to make us miserable? No! His will and His ways give us our greatest joy! Jesus said that our submission to His will and His commandments lead to our “full” joy: “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11) When we strip away our sin and our own will and begin to experience the magnificence of REAL love—we never want to go back to where we were. His way is the way of immense joy!!