Understanding the Barriers that Keep Us Spiritually Stuck

Understanding the Barriers that Keep Us Spiritually Stuck.

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. -Romans 7:15-20.

Many Christ-followers tragically remain stuck in their relationship with Jesus and never truly experience intimacy with Him. Let today serve as a breakthrough as we briefly examine 3 typical, yet deep seeded barriers that often prevent Christian’s from experiencing true victory.

Here’s the main point: Jesus loves you with the highest form of love (agape) and wants you to experience intimacy with Him.


1 John 2:17 says this, … the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

I don’t know about you, but I find myself grasping for control of things in this world that I have ZERO control over. For example, trying to prevent unforeseen things from going wrong, worrying about what others think of me, stressing over how others will respond to me, just to name a few.

The desire to control things I simply have no control over is of the flesh, not the Spirit. As sinful beings, we just don’t like the discomfort of feeling something is out of our control. So, we grasp.

We’d rather have a predictable, wand-waving God that prevents or stops all our struggles in life. As a result, we never uncover what’s actually underneath all that desire for control in the first place (perhaps it’s fear, insecurity, etc.).

However, there’s another way to go about life. One theologian suggests this: “Give our Lord the benefit of believing that His hand is leading you and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense.”

The Lord who loves us assures in Hebrews 6:12 that … “faith and patience inherit His promises.”


The #1 struggle I hear from most Christians takes place in the battle of the mind. It’s exhausting and leaves you feeling defeated.

When I was a new believer, I was taught (incorrectly) that as a new creation in Christ, I shouldn’t be having sinful thoughts any longer. At the time, I wasn’t a good Berean just yet and I ended up believing this lie for a long time. It resulted in depression, condemnation, and even made me doubt my salvation because I just couldn’t kick ‘unwanted thoughts.’ I thought, “I must be doing something wrong.”

Perhaps I needed to memorize more Scripture, have more people pray for me, lock myself in a closet? Etc. Nothing worked. I’m not blaming anyone from my past by any means and this wasn’t taught to me with any bad intent per se. Nevertheless, I have a feeling I’m not the only Christian that’s ever been confused over what to make of the human mind!

Do you remember what I said when I introduced this barrier? Let me repeat it- the #1 struggle I hear from most Christians takes place in the BATTLE of the mind.

Did you catch it? THE BATTLE. There’s the problem. If we’re battling with our mind we’re going to LOSE every time. How can you possibly win a battle with yourself? You can’t.

I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent polarized and caught up in my thoughts during my Christian walk. The key is accepting the mind for what it is, this side of heaven.

Because of the fall, your mind has a bent towards sin, like it or not. Yes, as a Christ-follower the Holy Spirit indwells you and is much more powerful than sin, but sometimes your mind gets really loud, and you end up buying into your unwanted thoughts. Getting hooked is part of the human experience. This is what a mind does.

So, let your mind do its thing without struggling with it. When you stop fighting this unnecessary battle inside you, it will free you up to just let your mind be, re-center yourself, and focus on more important things, like resting in Jesus.

In our first barrier, we talked about control. Here’s some good news- You CAN control how you respond to your thoughts. This is the Biblical meaning of what Paul describes as ‘taking your thoughts captive’ in 2 Cor 10:5. It’s not about struggling by trying to prevent unwanted thoughts (because you CAN’T). Rather, it’s about how you respond to them.


Let’s take a little quiz, true or false, are you ready?

  • Question 1- I always pick the longest line at the grocery store- true or false?
  • Question 2- I LOVE being stuck in traffic for hours on end- true or false?
  • Question 3- I prefer an extra-long wait for my food at restaurants- true or false?
  • Question 4- I enjoy sitting and waiting in the dentist chair while getting a root canal- true or false?

How’d you do?! If you answered TRUE to all these questions, PLEASE contact me because I want to congratulate you and know how you did it!

Our addiction to having immediacy in life often translates right over to our faith walk. However, Hebrews 10:36 says, You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.

A BIG part of your walk with Jesus is ENDURANCE. This is your best spiritual muscle. Time to get buffed! VERY LITTLE in the Christian life is accomplished rapidly. Therefore, we must look at our spiritual journey with a BIG picture in mind and renounce our craving for immediacy.

If we don’t, impatience QUICKLY sets in. One Theologian said this, “Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important.” Here’s another quote: “When we fail to wait prayerfully for God’s guidance and strength, we are saying with our actions, if not with our words, that we do not need the LORD.”


Rev. Jon Barrett | Executive Director of CVCCS