<<hold back>>

Our faith should not be hindered by the trials, obstacles and sufferings of life; in fact they are the means whereby we grow and prove our Christianity is real, provided we respond to them positively -- use such difficulties to your advantage to get closer to Jesus. Satan will try to use various tactics to retard our progress and tempt us to give up on our faith as in

Get rid of what hinders in order to advance

part he knows our potential; we are to resist such attacks using the armour of God and the resources available to us through Christ (Dan 10:13; 2 Cor 10:4; Eph 6:11-18; Jud 1:20; Rev 12:11).  “Satan hindered us from coming to you” and although it may have seemed a victory for Satan, Paul was creative and still communicated with the believers – instead of a personal visit, he wrote them a letter which we can also read and learn from (1 Thes 2:18). Don’t allow Satan to get the victory. Make him pay for meddling in your affairs by using the experience as an incentive for greater spiritual advancement. “You [and Satan] meant it for evil, but God [and I] used it for blessing” (Gen 50:20). Use the obstacles that life throws at you, trying to trip you up, as stepping stones to reach your goal.

Some ways we hinder our own progress are by relying on our own self, resisting the Word of God, not obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit, tolerating sin, and carrying the baggage of wrong beliefs and thought patterns in our minds. We are exhorted to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us, slowing our progress, and run with perseverance the race marked out for us by continually looking at Jesus (Heb 12:1,2). Am I taking seriously this advice to make my life count for the Kingdom of God?

Satan knows our weakest spots and endeavours to trip us up in these areas.  Paul asked his readers, “Who prevented you or side-tracked you from God’s best?” (Gal 5:7). In the parable of the sower only one of the four types of soil eventually produced a harvest (Mt 13:18-23).  What is hindering me from being effective
in my Christian life – is it a sinful habit or unhelpful relationships that need to be put off and replaced with godly ones (Eph 4:22-24)?  Reconciliation, forgiveness and resistance to self-pity or retaliating when offended are important keys to making steady progress in our Christian walk. Be determined to reach your potential in Christ, dealing with issues that need to be addressed.  There is the need for long-term perseverance, not giving up after a few setbacks and delays. Sin prevents God from responding to our prayers as does selfish desires, failing to live by Scripture and the inconsiderate treatment of others (Ps 66:18,19; Jas 4:3,17; 1 Pet 3:7).

Jesus accused the religious leaders of His day of preventing people entering the Kingdom because their lifestyle did not match their beliefs (Mt 23:13-15; Lk 11:52). Do our lives present a similar inconsistency of what it means to be a God follower? As believers, we are not to put obstacles or stumbling blocks in the way of others coming closer to Christ who wants to impart blessing to all humanity (Lk 18:16). Christians are to be ambassadors for God. Am I a good advertisement or does my life hinder people from accepting Him by putting an obstacle or cause for offense in their spiritual pathway? 

It’s only by staying close to Jesus, submitting to His Lordship, living by the Bible’s principles, walking in obedience, with consistent, determined effort and a disciplined lifestyle, minimising the distractions, coupled with a focused vision on the goal and dealing decisively with sin and its associated bondages that we will reach our potential in Christ (1 Cor 9:24; Eph 4:13; Phil 3:10-14).

See also: armour (spiritual), baggage, bondage, delay, determined, opposition, persevere, prayers (unanswered), progress, put off/put on, self-pity, spiritual warfare, unforgiveness, weakness.