Are you feeling like you just can’t seem to get any further with your relationship with Jesus? Does it feel hopeless and that you might as well give up? Well, before you do, let me share 3 common blockages many Christians face throughout their journey with Jesus.
Following Jesus can be a challenge. Especially in the beginning as a newbie, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Sure, some people just get it and it seems like they automatically are anointed by God and the floodgates of blessings and wisdom and knowledge seem to cover them like an avalanche. But what about the rest who don’t experience this?
Well, we sure can’t know why God does what He chooses, but we can at least do what we can to reduce the blockages we might be facing caused by our own doing.
Living for God requires faith, obedience, and a humble attitude. If you’re missing any of these, you’re going to hit walls that stop you in your tracks along the way. But if you put in an effort to do your best each day in these areas, even if it isn’t pretty, God will carry you along. Thankfully, He’s a God of Grace. You don’t have to be perfect to live for Him. You just have to be willing.
But there’s other things that can slow down your walk with God; there’s other obstacles that will block your progress. In this next section, we’ll examine them more closely. As you read through these, consider if there are issues you must deal with in your own life.
Remember; this is YOUR personal relationship with Jesus. This means that not everything every preacher or Christian blogger or author says is going to line up with your personal experience. Chances are good that you will have your own unique issues that keep you from experiencing the fullness of Christ. It’s up to you to work them out before God.
Here are 3 things that can block your growth in Christ
I’m certainly guilty of all three of these, as well as, not practicing the three I mentioned above; faith, obedience, and a humble attitude. I’ve had my share of struggles in my walk with Christ and I’ve hit many blockages that nearly caused me to give up altogether. But thankfully God’s grace is sufficient. Thankfully, when I cried out to Him in utter exhaustion and finally ready to surrender, He responded and helped me.
If you’re not experiencing the peace that Jesus promised in John 14:27, or the joy and fullness and abundant life that He also spoke of in John 10:10, then it’s time to do some investigating in your life to find out why not.
Again, these 3 areas might not apply directly to you, but be sure to search yourself completely for anything that might. Think of things like pride and complaining and a selfish heart to name a few.
Here’s my list:
- You’re not letting go of the past
- You’re not letting go of sinful living
- You’re not spending enough time with Jesus
1. You’re not letting go of the past
To forgive or not to forgive…
Well, according to the bible, it’s “To forgive” every time. There is nowhere in the bible and no instance based on severity where God is okay with us not forgiving someone. This someone might be ourselves or someone else. Regardless, God expects forgiveness from you.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
In God’s eyes, this is serious stuff. He even goes to say in Matthew 6:15 that if you don’t forgive others, He won’t forgive you.
It’s not always easy to forgive others; I get it. But for your own sake, forgive them. You might be doing them a favor, but you’re doing yourself a bigger favor. Many times, the grudges that we hold are only known by us as the people we’re mad at don’t even know we’re mad or that they did something. But even if you have a small grudge towards someone, God sees it all the same.
And, the same goes for your past. If you’ve done wrong and you’ve confessed it to God, asked forgiveness and repented from it, then He’s forgiven you for it. Case closed. In Isaiah 43:25, God says that He blots out your sins and remembers them no more. It’s time to let them go and remember them no more.
Satan will try to bring them up in your thoughts just to stir up trouble and agitate you. Don’t give him a stronghold in your life and don’t let him bully you. Understand that if God has forgiven you, then that’s that. You don’t have to repeatedly ask God to forgive you for something you’ve done in your past – once is enough. God hears you and He remembers His promises.
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2. You’re not letting go of sinful living
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Becoming a Christian is a big step and an unfamiliar one for most. It’s a time of change; a change of mindset and habit. Both of these are tremendously difficult to change. Well, not for the Holy Spirit who comes to live in you when you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But you have to surrender to Him and seek His help while willingly resisting the devil and his sinful enticements.
I tried to live for God and the devil at the same time for many years. I wanted God to bless me and I wanted to party and have fun. I wanted to live for God on Sunday and live like Hell on every other day. I bet you can imagine that I had many bad days where I felt like God wasn’t helping me. Well, you’re right.
I was choosing to live for me and then I was getting upset with God for not blessing me and helping me when I’d cry out to Him. Pathetic, right? Sadly, this too is very common among “Christians” today.
We all have a sinful nature. No one is exempt from that. But God tells us in the bible that we can live for Him and resist the devil and his attacks. We are told in Ephesians 6 to put on the full armor of God and to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. We are told in Luke 9:23 to take up our cross and deny ourselves and follow Jesus daily.
God didn’t say it would be easy, and He also didn’t say it would be impossible. But He did tell us that it’s what must be done if we want to follow Jesus; that is, have a meaningful relationship with Him.
Living in sin is a huge blockage to growing in Christ. If you have any known sin in your life, now’s the time to confess it to God and repent from it. If you’re unsure, repent simply means to turn away from or change your mind about something.
Get rid of the sin by seeking help from the Holy Spirit. Pray for power to stay out of the sin and to be delivered from it. God will help you if you sincerely want to ditch the sinful living.
Just be sure to know that God won’t tolerate divided loyalty. Revelation 3:16 says that He will spit out the divided Christian like lukewarm water. Are you divided? If so, this is a major blockage and you’ll need to work this out before God.
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3. You’re not spending enough time with Jesus
This one won’t come to most people as a surprise, but surprisingly, most people aren’t putting in the time with Jesus to get to know Him personally.
There is only one way to really get to know someone intimately; spend time with them as much as possible. Sure, you can read their bio and talk to others about them, but that’s not going to get you any closer to the individual.
Jesus wants you to spend time with Him every day. He doesn’t want you to get a fill of Him and then take a few weeks off. He loves you and He wants you to love Him, too. This means that you’ll need to read the bible and study the character of Jesus and understand the fullness of the message of the cross. That was the biggest act of love one could do, and He did it for all.
It’s through Jesus’ obedience that you can have Salvation; it’s through His love that God will forgive you. All Jesus wants is for you to love Him and love others the same; unconditionally. I know, it’s hard. But with His help, nothing is impossible, right?
I strive to wake up and read the bible each and every day. I’ve determined that there are no excuses strong enough for me not to. And through this I’ve found that my relationship has improved tremendously with Jesus. But I don’t just read. I also pray and I worship God. I talk to Him as often as possible and I’ve been working on gratitude and appreciation and telling Him of it.
It’s that simple. A bit of reading, praying, praising, and worshiping each day while telling the devil to beat it. It comes down to seeing Jesus as a real person who you’d like to be friends with and seeing Satan as yours and Jesus’ common enemy that you don’t want to be friends with.
The more you spend time with Jesus, the closer you’ll get to Him. Alternately, the more you spend time doing what Satan wants, the closer you’ll get to him. It’s your choice. But you can’t have both if you want your relationship with Jesus to prosper.
Growing a relationship with Jesus can seem like a daunting task that will likely end in failure. But understand that this is exactly what the devil wants you to think. If you do, you’ll probably give up, and that’s his plan. Instead of doing what Satan wants, do what God wants. Seek Him wholeheartedly and with undivided loyalty, and He’ll help you and protect you.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Get rid of any sin in your life, forgive those who have wronged you, including yourself, and make a choice to surrender to Jesus each day. Spend time reading your bible and praying and talking to God. Make God the most important part of your day and treat Him with respect like the Most High God He is, and your relationship with Him will improve tremendously, as will your spiritual maturity.
Don’t put it off another day. If you’re not experiencing a rich and satisfying life with Jesus, ask yourself why and start investigating the blockages. Jesus is right where He’s always been; it’s up to you to draw close to Him!
If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, you can follow this link (Prayer for Salvation) to find out how. Also, if you need prayer for your life or your family, feel free to fill out a private prayer request in the provided prayer box in this article. My wife and I would love to pray for you.