Obstacles to Intimacy with God
Our Sinful State
Consider what happens between you and your spouse, or someone close if you are not married, when you are knowingly in a state of sin or rebellion. The sin might not necessarily be between you and that person, but because your spirits are joined your relationship with them will be affected. No sin is truly secret sin. The Holy Spirit in you knows all about it, and this is the same Spirit that is in them!
All unconfessed sin is destructive to intimacy.
Now, consider the effect of this sin on your intimacy with God through that self-same Spirit! Are you beginning to get the picture?
When we are hurt in any way, whether physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually, several things can happen. Here are some possiblities:
- We can react against the pain or the one that caused it.
- We might consider revenge, stand up for our ‘rights’, or demand recompense or favourable treatment.
- We might get angry and rage against the unfairness of it.
- We can feel sorry for ourselves, withdraw, and complain about not being cared for.
These are all sinful responses and so will break intimacy with God and others.
What should our response be? We should realise that this pain is something that Jesus died for. If it was caused by another person then we should realise that Jesus also died for their sin and pain, and forgive them. Then we need to go to our Father for healing and comfort. If he has provided us with a community of people to care for us, then we should avail ourselves of that care. If the pain was just one of those things that life throws at everyone due to The Fall, then allow Father to comfort you, get up, and continue living.
Whatever we choose to do, remember that broken intimacy is far too great a price to pay for a moment’s self-indulgence.
Vows We Have Made
In response to the wounds of life we sometimes make vows that affect us in ways we never imagined. “I won’t let anyone close to me again” as a response to being hurt by somebody trusted becomes an invisible barrier against intimacy, not only between ourselves and other humans but particularly between ourselves and God. Repentance, and asking God to release us from any such vow can dramatically change our ability to draw close to God. (Numbers 30 gives some interesting background to vows in Israel.)
Something that is often overlooked when we are trying to find a reason why intimacy is hard to achieve is the effect within us of unhealed trauma. Since studying the healing of dissociation with Peter and Heather Toth of Anazao Counselling (www.anazao.com.au), we have learned how common it is for people to dissociate, either mildly or with far more serious effects such as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), depending on the severity of the trauma and the age at which it occurred.
Whatever the degree of trauma, it is likely that almost everybody has some dissociative parts. These parts, the demons that sometimes accompany them, and especially the sin issues involved in the trauma, can cause difficulties in a person’s adult life. In particular, if the trauma has in any way been associated subconsciously by the person with God, perhaps because of abuse by their own father, or a father figure such as an uncle, church minister, Sunday school teacher, etcetera, then forming a relationship in later life with Father God is likely to prove difficult.
It is possible that the sin issues are not even those of the person, but are attributable to the abuser, carers such as parents and others, and even ancestors through generational iniquity.
In any typical prayer ministry session taken at Beth Tephillah Ministry Centre (www.bethtephillah.com) or with us in Roaring-Mouse Counselling (counselling.roaring-mouse.com) such issues are quickly identified and can usually be resolved without too much difficulty.
These are by no means the only blockages to attaining intimacy with God. Intimacy is so important, as it encompasses the very purpose for which the human race was created. Therefore, it will always be the major battleground upon which the fight to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth in our lives will be fought.
Whatever the difficulty in achieving intimacy with God, you can rest assured that if this is your heart’s desire then the full resources of heaven are at your disposal to attain your goal. It is that important to God!