Dealing with hindrances in your life
Understanding God’s will for our lives is not always a straightforward process. As we have seen, we need to have a God-centred perspective, with a close intimate relationship with God and we need to have the right motives.
Here are some other hindrances that may prevent us from hearing God:
Psalm 66:18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
John 9:31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will.
Throughout the bible, we find that sin separates us from God. Even though Christ has taken away God’s wrath, he still needs to discipline us if we stray from his standards. Hebrews Chapter 12 teaches that this only proves that we are the true children of God. No sensible parent would simply stand back and let their children do as they please. Since God is holy, he also wants us to be holy. If we want to know the will of God, we need to live a holy and sanctified life.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified…
The above reference is really about sexual purity, but every act of disobedience can have a diminishing affect on spiritual lives: bad tempers, telling lies, being unkind, being argumentative and angry are just but a few vices that lead us away from God’s purpose.
1 Samuel 15:22 But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Some people chose to only do the things that suit them, things that they enjoy. God requires that we obey whenever he speaks. He will only reveal his will to those who having an obedient heart.
An Unteachable Spirit
There are some people who decide that their way is the only way and there is no telling them. They are simply unable to talk or receive any kind of constructive criticism. If they are unable to take instruction from their fellow Christians, it’s unlikely that they will not take any advice from God.
Proverbs 1:30 Since they would not accept my advice, and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways, and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.
Proverbs 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.
Proverbs 20:18 Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance.
Knowing that God wants to speak to and use us should be a very humbling experience. To serve God requires that we take on the attitude of a servant. John talks about the pride of life. This “pride of life” motivation is what drives many people to devote their lives obsessively to their career or to the pursuit of money. While we have our focus on personal ambitions, it will be extremely difficult to make God’s purpose the main thing. People who expect God to ‘fit in’ to their plans will be disappointed.
Zephaniah 2:3 Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands.
1 Pet. 5:5 Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
There are many people who are happy to do will of God - until something better comes along. Their focus is on the excitement and buzz of the event, but as soon as the event is over the ‘day-to day’ journey soon looks much less attractive. An important part of fulfilling God’s purpose is faithfulness. Many people can only hold onto a ministry for a few months before they lose interest. God can only use people who are in it for the long haul.
Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
Hebrews 12:1 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.
God always works through community. He himself lives in complete harmony within the framework of the Trinity. We will not be able to fulfil the purposes of God unless we are prepared to work in cooperation with other Christians. We can do the ‘right thing’ but have the ‘wrong attitude.’ If we are not prepared to take advice or instruction from others, we are not going to get very far. If our way is the only way, then it’s unlikely that God will be able to entrust with ‘his way.’ If we are going to have God’s blessing, we need to submit to our leaders so that the work of the church can run smoothly.
Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
No Spiritual Covering
There are many Christians who just want to ‘go it alone’ and believe that they do not need the covering of leadership. God always works within the confines of leadership and government. People who reject the authority of the church are in danger of excluding themselves from the plans of God.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
In Part 4 we consider whether God's will for your life is something found in an event or is it found in your lifestyle?