Barriers to being in God’s Presence

We would all say, in theory, that we love God’s voice. We love when God illuminates Scripture to us and we discover something new about who God is and what He has done. We love when we are encouraged and when we experience God’s love and presence. We love it when God gives clarity to a situation or points us in a direction. Yet, there are times when we struggle with the concept of being in God’s presence. I would like to list out a couple of barriers.

Theological: What do I believe to be true of God?

Experiential: What do I believe to be possible for God to do in, around and through me?

Scriptural: What do I believe Scripture says on this issue?

Relational: What do I believe in my relationship with God?

Desire: What do I really want?

How we answer these questions will ultimately determine how we engage the presence of God. It will reveal our values and how we live out those values and influence our spiritual formation. If one struggles with the concept of the goodness of God, one might be hesitant to enter into His presence because one wouldn’t be certain that God would not hurt or disappoint. If one has never experienced God at work in their lives, one might be hesitant to enter into His presence because one wouldn’t be certain that God’s presence changes anything in our lives. Sometimes fear of what God would say to us or what we think God would feel about us hampers our desire to enter into His presence. This might come from a wrong belief in the efficacy of Jesus’ atoning death and victorious resurrection. Does Jesus’ work actually change completely how God perceives me, accepts me, and feels about me? Or, it might come from an experience we had where someone we thought we knew or trusted ended up hurting or rejecting us.

How we view God will directly impact how we come to Him. Because of our continuing need to be changed into the image of Jesus, we all have barriers that need to be broken. One of the ways we discover what barriers we have to savoring the richness of the presence of God is by approaching Him. When one approaches the throne of God, one should take note of what one is feeling and thinking, and what is going on in one’s body. If one decides to approach God and begins to sense a hesitancy, then that person should stop at that moment to journal why they are experiencing hesitation. Or, if one is feeling anxious, timid, or whatever else, then one should journal that experience. Ask God to reveal why that feeling or though is present. Ask God to reveal the corresponding truth about God in Scripture that needs to be embraced, believed and accepted as foundational.

Practical Steps:

  • Read 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; John 10:14-15
  • What sticks out to you about these passages about God’s voice? What sticks out to you about what you believe, experience, desire for the Christian walk? Are there known areas in your life that you know you need to realign to the truth of who God is and what He has done?
  • Spend time today going to God in prayer. Take time to wait in silence to listen for God’s voice. Wait upon God as you ask Him to let you know His presence. Take notice of what you are feeling and thinking.
  • Journal what you feel and think as you wait for God to speak to you. Ask God to help you understand why you think and feel that way. Ask God to show you deeper truths about who He is.
  • As God speaks to you and reveals to you who He is through Scripture, journal your response of faith in God. Take those truths and tell God how you will align what you think and believe about Him to flow from His truth in Scripture.