There are nine barriers that can hinder the flow of the Spirit and make our worship powerless because God will not be with us.
Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (Mt. 13:58)
Many times we convince ourselves that we believe but our actions and our works are evidence that deep down we still do not fully trust and believe the God we serve.
Faith without works is dead. (James 2: 18, 20, & 26)
By their fruits you shall know them. (Mt. 7: 16, 20)
Unbelief goes hand in hand with fear. A specific fear that troubles platform ministers is the fear of men’s faces. It causes us to compromise and to do things to please men rather than God. It is a form of idolatry. Fear of any kind is not of God. Fear is the opposite of power.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7)
Let’s look at The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18. I will take it from verse 32:
Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you? And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Mt. 18:32-35)
Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Mt. 5:23-24)
So, what is ‘the gift’ referred to in the above scripture? Usually what was brought to the altar was the sacrifice. Therefore, in our context the Lord is willing to do without our sacrifice of praise to Him (Heb. 13:15) to allow us to go and deal with any unresolved conflict in our lives. This shows us God’s priority. Obedience is better than sacrifice
Submitting to or opening our lives to worldly philosophies/occult practices
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, (Eph. 2:2)
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom 12:2)
In essence, idolatry is thinking we know better or more than God. Making things and people more important than God. I noted this earlier when I mentioned the fear of men’s faces. So, idolatry is not just this image we have of someone bowing down to a statue instead of worshiping the living God. Anything that we put before God in our lives has become an idol. Many times it is ourselves that become more important than God. We serve God when it’s convenient to us. I can’t go to practice or to prayer meeting because I’ll miss the episode of the latest series that has caught my attention on cable or Netflix.
Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ “ (Mt. 4:10; see also Lk. 4:8)
Another symptom of idolatry is things having to be done our way or else we are not being a part of it. It’s all about me. Self-centredness rather than God-centredness. Proverbs 3:5-7 says,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. (Prov. 3:5-7)
Pride and Arrogance
Pride can be very subtle and we can miss it unless we are alert. Many times others have to point it out to us and that’s when the real trouble begins. Christians involved in platform ministry are particularly prone to this sin. It was pride that led God to have to cast Lucifer out of heaven (Isa. 14:12-14). You will recall he was the chief minister of worship in heaven. We are at particular risk when we have excellent natural abilities. We sometimes trust more in our natural abilities than in the Holy Spirit. We must always remember that our anointing, gifts, skills and abilities come from God. Many powerful ministers forgot this to their detriment.
Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov. 16:18)
So he answered and said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts. (Zec. 4:6)
A very important indicator of pride is not wanting to submit to authority. Anyone who wants to be an effective leader must first be an effective follower. Leaders are human and they will make mistakes. The effective leader will be open to respectful correction. But God will not honour your ministry if you do not have a submissive spirit to those He has placed in authority over you. This is part of the test of your character. David passed this test with flying colours when he had the opportunity to kill Saul and chose not to. We can find this account in 1 Samuel 24. This was a leader who for 3 years hunted down David to kill him and when he could have killed him his first thought was that Saul was still God’s anointed leader over Israel therefore respect was due.
Next time we will complete the three remaining hindrances to the flow of the Spirit.