What keeps us from the fullness of God’s grace? I’ve encountered several hindrances to walking in grace. I’m sure there are more, but here are the ones that plague me:
Unbelief. Not truly believing in my heart that He loves me, that He is for me, and that what He says is for me or that I can do what He has said. I find it easier to believe Him for other people than for myself sometimes. Unfortunately, unbelief is a sin and it will 100% of the time keep us from walking in the fullness of His plan and from embracing grace.
Procrastination. Putting things off rather than being disciplined to get it done now is a terrible habit. I relate to Scarlett O’Hara too many days, and it always brings regret.
A busy schedule. Allowing busy-ness to keep us from pressing into the Lord, allowing activity to substitute for relationship is a thief of joy and intimacy. Taking care of family, earning a living, church, etc. are all good things, but if the schedule keeps us away from God’s presence, we will experience burn-out, bitterness, resentment, and emptiness.
Stress is another robber. Feeling pressure and dealing with chronic crisis can cause mental, emotional, and physical fatigue that makes it difficult to connect with the Lord, even when you try. Keep trying though – keep being faithful because He will give grace during those times if you keep seeking. Don’t withhold from Him because from where does my help come? It comes from the Lord! (Psalm 121)
Unwillingness to eliminate distractions is my nemesis right now. The phone, laundry, dishes, schedule, my spouse, children, and my job…the list goes on and on. We have to set boundaries and stick to them. For me, I am determining not to check email or social media until a particular time in the morning. Managing my impulses in that area is hard.
Lack of discipline goes hand-in-hand with some of these other hindrances. It is the consistency that comes through self-discipline that brings the ripe, mature fruit we desire.
Worry about things getting done. If time is devoted to seeking God, then what is left undone? I go through seasons when that thought is a reality. Prioritizing relationship over performance means I accomplish what God deems to be necessary. It is incredible to me how God honors time spent seeking Him. His grace (His supernatural empowerment) causes me to accomplish so much more when I stay focused on Him and trust my day and time into His care. The washing machine seems to go faster, pieces of the day seem to fall into place easier and quicker, and if they don’t then, I rest in the fact that God led me a different way. Consider what Jesus said to Martha when she complained about Mary’s prioritizing of relationship over work: She chose the better thing.
When grace knocks on the door of our heart and life, we have a choice to answer and say yes to God, or we can ignore the knock, put it off, or respond later. When we delay responding, we deny God’s more excellent work in our life. His tap is an invitation to trust more, go deeper, go further, or have a more meaningful experience with Him. If in the moment we say no, or if we delay our response, it doesn’t mean we don’t love Him or want to follow Him, or that He doesn’t love us or will not work in us any longer, it merely means we have resisted the best way in that moment. God is so gracious, but we need to learn to respond immediately to His nudging and not take His presence and leading for granted.
My prayer is that we will say yes to God more often, that we will embrace the discipline and even the discomfort that saying yes will bring. I pray that by answering yes, we would experience more and deeper of God and in so doing would embrace grace and all of the miraculous and beautiful frontiers of destiny He has for us. Let’s be deliberate and determined this year and let’s see where God takes us!