What are the most serious obstacles on the way to spiritual maturity? What hinders and prevents us from moving forward? How to move from good intentions to deeds? How to overcome the obstacles on the way of getting perfected as believers?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrew 12:1)
Obstacles on the way to spiritual maturity
- Sin and idolatry. Sin is, in general, every action that is motivated and expressed in independence from God. Idolatry is the enslavement to something or someone different from God. The idol occupies a central place in the heart and mind, and motivates and determines our actions.
- Unbelief and doubt.
- Demonic influence – especially when living a life of addictions, constantly repeated wrong choices and idolatry.
- False, untruthful image of God, of yourself, of others, of the world. This may be the result of deception and ignorance of the truth expressed in the Word of God. But most often the distorted images are the result of traumatic experiences from which we have drawn certain conclusions. Especially conclusions about the character of God – for example cruel, unfair, remote, sadistic, who does not interfere, who does not care. This is illustrated very well in the book Job.
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More obstacles on the way
- Fears. The main fears are fear of death, fear of losing control, fear of the future, fear of life, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of responsibility, fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of man. Fears usually arise from single or recurrent traumatic experiences. They inhabit the so-called strongholds in the mind. These are firm beliefs and attitudes and ways of thinking.
- Insecurity and self-distrust in our ability to face challenges and changes.
- Inability, unwillingness or immaturity in taking responsibility for one’s own life and well-being.
- Defensive and defeat thinking and attitude, accompanied or sustained by frustration, bitterness, discouragement, depression, fatalism, negativism, perceiving yourself as a victim (of circumstances, of your past, of people).
- Reluctance to forgive and accept, revanchism.
- Inability or reluctance to relinquish the past and to live now and forward, taking responsibility for the choices and decisions made today.
- Reluctance or inability to humble oneself and not let the ego and pride guide us.
How to deal with the obstacles?
The question is what to do and how to move forward? Let’s not forget that the most important thing is not to give up, not to stop or to go back. Our God-defined direction is forward and upward. Below are some suggestions based on God’s Word and tested on our way with God:
- The first and most important step is to understand and acknowledge that we can NOT do this alone and that we need God’s help and grace. „Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4: 6-7)
- By praying and asking God to expose the darkness and the enemy to us – e.g. the specific obstacle(s).
- The next step is to choose to believe and agree with God’s Word that our enemy/enemies are doomed and already defeated in Christ and that He wants to share His victory with us.
- By following the specific guidance and direction provided by God and follow it to the end.
- By repenting if God through His Holy Spirit has brought conviction for a particular sin.
More steps to remove the obstacles
- Declaring war on the idols in our lives, if any.
- Allowing the Holy Spirit to show us what lies we have believed and accepted for ourselves, to deny these lies and to replace them with God’s truth (and to do that every day). Let us not remain with a passive mind but learn to exercise self-control in our mind and concentrate our mind on the truth, manifested in God’s Word. Also, let us capture every thought in obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)
- Sincerely desiring and praying that God changes us from self-centered to God-centered.
- Resolving to take responsibility for the choices we make each day; about what we think, about whether we choose to forgive, about our decisions, our relationships, our feelings, our words, and our deeds.
- Desiring and praying that God uproots our fears and inspires and perfect us in reverence and love for Him. “There is a strong confidence in the fear of the Lord, and his children will have refuge.” (Proverbs 14:26)
- Purposing every day to live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Some obstacles can be removed very quickly and easily, and some will take more time depending on our readiness and ability to follow God and accept His point of view of the things on our way.
Let’s not give up and surrender but declare a war to the lies, the ego and pride, the sin, the fear, and simply not to stop seeking God and His power. “Seek the Lord and His power; Seek His face always. “(Psalm 105: 4). Because the truth is that if we do not decide to stop there is nothing that can stop us in Christ.
Which are your biggest obstacles on the way to grow spiritually? Come and share your thoughts in the comments!