4 Barriers to Getting Through to God
by Pastor Dan Delzell
Have you been having a hard time lately getting through to God? If so, it’s not because He has gone anywhere. He is right where He has always been. But things can come between us and God, especially when those issues go unresolved.
Here are 4 barriers to getting through to God:
1) Harboring secret sin.
Oswald Chambers writes, “If a man cannot get through to God, it is because there is a secret thing he does not intend to give up.” This involves a stubborn refusal to turn away from a hidden sin. We relish our sin too much to renounce it. But until we do, there is no getting through to God with any meaningful prayer. We have to be real with God if we want to experience His mighty power in our soul on a daily basis.
If there is something in your life which God has been directing you to address, it’s because He wants to have a close and warm relationship with you. The Holy Spirit flows freely in our heart when we bring Christ those “secret sins” which keep us from enjoying God’s presence.
The secret sin might be something a person is entertaining with his eyes; or with his mind; or with his body; or with all three. Anyway you slice it, secret sin is a killer to prayer and to living a Spirit-filled life. If you doubt that fact, just try to find one example in Scripture where that isn’t the case.
And then think about your own life. When have you ever “flowed powerfully in prayer and fellowship” while you were harboring secret sin? It just doesn’t work that way. And it’s a good thing for us God loves us enough to invite us to bring our “secret things” to the cross for cleansing and freedom.
Today would be a good time to bring it to Christ, don’t you think?
2) Getting stuck in a painful past.
Perhaps you have been through a traumatic event in your life, and you are finding it difficult to get through to God. You want to experience happiness and fulfillment in life, but you feel like you are stuck in your past? What can you do in that situation?
Well, for starters, you can pour out your heart to God. And then do it over and over and over again. The Lord will never get tired of hearing from you. Ever.
“But I have brought it to Him hundreds of times already.” OK. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop talking to Him about it. He loves to have His children bring their burdens and their pain to Him. He wants us to rely upon Him in every situation, and that certainly includes those times when we cannot seem to move beyond a particular event in the past.
Wise counsel is another extremely helpful method of dealing with pain. By sharing our burdens with a loving Christian, we open our heart to receive the grace and love of God through their kind words of encouragement and hope. God often ministers to us through one of His children. That Christian becomes the hands, feet and voice of Jesus in our midst. And we all need loving counsel when we get stuck in a painful past.
God’s love and healing is available to you at this very moment. Will you rely upon His love to heal your wounded heart?
3) Holding grudges.
If you want to build a wall between yourself and God, then just hold a grudge. It’s an easy way to choose bitterness as your daily companion. It will stop any significant flow of the Holy Spirit’s power in your soul, and it will make it next to impossible for you to get through to God. There will be no holy desires prompting you to pray, but only the heaviness that comes with the choice to withhold forgiveness from someone who has wronged you.
The Christian faith is largely about forgiveness. Receiving it from God as a free gift, and then giving it to others just as freely. There is no room in the life of a believer for bitterness. It will absolutely destroy your communion with the Lord, and it will make you feel like God is a million miles away.
4) Persisting in unbelief.
Of all the barriers which prevent a person from getting through to God, this one is by far the biggest. In fact, a person cannot even begin a relationship with God until he first forsakes his unbelief and believes the good news about what Jesus did on the cross to save him. A person who persists in unbelief cannot understand what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
But it can get turned around through belief. It’s such a simple thing, and yet so many people miss it. They harden their heart and choose unbelief over belief. They choose to reject Jesus, or to ignore Him, which is just as bad. Unbelief is a barrier in the spiritual realm that is rock solid. That wall must come down in order for a person to connect with God. This happens by accepting Jesus as your Savior as you trust Him to forgive your sins.
So if you have been having a hard time getting through to God, it’s time for the wall to come down. Whether the wall has been built by harboring a secret sin, getting stuck in a painful past, holding a grudge, or persisting in unbelief, each of these barriers is an obstacle to a life of faith and a life of prayer.
The power of the Holy Spirit flows freely within Christians as we say “no” to sin, and “yes” to Scripture, prayer, and humble service to others. As we engage in those things from a place of spiritual power, we do so with our eyes on Christ our Savior. And without the Holy Spirit producing this river of living water in our life, we are left terribly dry and confused.
That has been man’s lot ever since Adam and Eve first sinned. And if it wasn’t for the cross where Jesus destroyed the ultimate wall between us and the Father, we would have no hope of ever getting through to God.
In the spiritual realm, it’s not only “what you know,” but most importantly, “who you know.” By knowing Jesus, you have direct access to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And there is no better access than being able to go to your Creator anytime, anywhere, and with any need.
What a faithful friend we have in Jesus. So go for it. The Lord loves to remove the harmful barriers we build in our heart. Otherwise, how could we ever get through to Him in any meaningful way?