Wed | Nov 22, 2017

Barriers to experiencing the presence of the Lord

Published:Saturday | October 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM

 

Past sins

"I wonder if God has really forgiven me, I cannot forgive myself," the woman cried desperately as she related her story. "It is very painful for me. If I'm forgiven, why does it play in my head every day? If I didn't do the abortion, my child would be three years old. What if I can't have any more children? Whenever I see a baby's smile, I'm reminded of how evil I am. If I knew it would be so painful, I wouldn't have done it. Why couldn't God stop me? He knew I would be in pain all my life."

The pain of our past sins often serves as our biggest barrier to experiencing the presence of the Lord. Jesus Christ has come to set us free from sin and all its penalties, including guilt and all other repercussions and consequences. God's grace cannot be undermined.

We often become preoccupied with our past and embrace our unworthiness, thus finding it difficult to stay on track with prayer, reading the word of God, testifying, fellowshipping, and witnessing. The blood of Jesus Christ washes away even those sins that we find difficult to forget. That is how great God is. Satan is an accuser and he will seek, at all times, to use our past sins as deceptive barriers of unworthiness to stop us from seeking to live in the presence of the Lord. Our course of action is to take God at His word and accept His forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus, bind Satan, and command him, his demons and strongholds in our lives - through past sins - to depart in Jesus' name.

 

External distractions

 

Mary sat at Jesus' feet to hear His word. She chose to be uninterrupted and decided not to participate in hosting their guests. Martha was displeased by her sister's irresponsibility and lack of hospitality. She complained to Jesus about her sister's action. To her surprise, Jesus approved Mary's actions in ignoring everything to be close to Him (Luke 10 vs 38-42).

We are often preoccupied with service to the detriment of personal fellowship with Jesus. Our ministry, profession, relationships, and responsibilities are often the biggest distractions and serve as barriers to His presence. It is imperative that, like David, Moses, and Jesus, we ensure that carrying out God's will for our lives is characterised by frequent separation and isolation to seek Him.

 

Self-righteousness

 

All our righteousness are as filthy rags before Him. If we seek after God from a position of justification by our own right actions and our own accomplishments and achievements, we would have built for ourselves a barrier to experiencing the presence of the Lord. He hates pride, and persons who are self-righteous will not be beneficiaries of His divine presence but, instead, will be deceived by counterfeit justification. A self-righteous Pharisee stood in prayer highlighting all his acts of righteousness, telling God how thankful he was that he did not commit acts of unrighteousness as others. Jesus explained that God simply did not hear that man's prayer (Luke 18vs11-14).

 

The barrier of idols

 

Many Christians have fasted, prayed earnestly in isolation, waited on the Lord, but still fail to experience the presence of the Lord. In such circumstances, honest introspection is necessary. If you seek His presence and experience difficulties, it is time to apply the blood of Jesus, destroy all idols, renounce all evil public and secret acts and associations, cry out to Jesus with a repentant heart and He will forgive you and you will find Him. An idol is that thing set up in the centre of your life which acts as a barrier and a distraction from God. Light and darkness cannot mix; the light of God dispels darkness. They that do the abominable works of darkness and seek after God without first repenting and renouncing such works will never experience the presence of the Lord. However, there is no sinner that the blood of Jesus cannot cleanse. Even the most dedicated agent of Satan can be salvaged by the power of the blood of Jesus.

Indeed, there is power in the blood of Jesus to destroy all barriers to His presence.