SUNDAY STUDY: Recognize Hindrances To Spiritual Growth


The culture that ignores God or rebels against His ways pulls you to thoughts and actions that are not consistent with who you are in Christ. It opposes God’s people and God’s plan for you. It tempts you to live for the pleasure of the moment and the comfort of convenience and possessions. (1 John 2:16)


Your sinful nature lives side by side with your new spiritual nature. Before you trusted Jesus to save you, there was no inward struggle concerning sin. Be encouraged to know that you struggle. It is proof that your new nature is striving to overcome your old nature (Romans 7:15-24). It is also the process of your sanctification. This struggle is more than just overcoming the manifestation of a specific sin, but also destroying the root of it.

The most common root sins are pride and unbelief. The specific sins may be fear, doubt, complacency (becoming numb to GOd’s impulses by drowning them out with so many other voices), lying, complaining, idleness, envy, immorality, etc.

Blaming Others

Adam and Eve admitted they ate the fruit. However, they refused to take responsibility for their sin. Eve blamed the serpent; Adam pointed to Eve but ultimately blamed God (Gen. 3:12-13). You must take responsibility for your sinful nature and actions, not blame someone else.

Grieving or Quenching the Holy Spirit

Your desire should be to live to please God. When you please God, you are filled with joy as He is glorified in your life. But you can grieve or quench the Spirit of God by refusing to allow Him to control you in a specific situation. To love sin more than God is profoundly sad. It is sad that you would grieve the One who has loved you so much. When this occurs, it is obvious the Holy Spirit no longer fills or controls you. Therefore, you must confess the known sin and surrender again to Him. When you consciously pursue a sinful path, such as pornography or holding a grudge, you are not led by the Holy Spirit.

When the Spirit convicts you of a specific sin, then by His power confess it, put it off, renew your thinking and put on Christ’s righteousness, which He has given you the moment you first believed. This may take place many times a day as you learn to live by the Spirit, refusing any lower standard (Ephesians 4:22-24).


The evil one tempts you to doubt God’s Word and His goodness (Gen. 3:1,4). He makes disobedience look attractive or advantageous (“You can be like God” Gen. 3:5). His goal is to defeat you through condemnation, lies and half-truths. He appears as a ravenous, roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). He may attack through suggestions or circumstances (1 Thess. 2:18; Ephesians 6:16; James 4:7). He also masquerades as an angel of light who sounds reasonable but twists Scripture (Matt. 4:1-10; 2 Cor. 11:14-15).

Temptation is not sin; yielding to the temptation is sin. When you succumb to the temptation posed by the evil one, he becomes your accuser. (“You can’t really be a Christian and do that!”) Satan wants you to focus on your guilt and sin; he uses condemnation to discourage, defeat, paralyze and leave you hopeless. The good news is he is a defeated enemy because of CHrist’s death and resurrection. Never forget that you stand before God blameless because you are clothed in the righteousness of Christ (Phil. 3:9; Col. 1:22; Ephes. 1:4-6).


God’s conviction and discipline always have a benevolent purpose to enable you to repent and enjoy renewed fellowship with Him. God is for you in your spiritual growth. He goes after you to bring you back through confession, repentance and renewed intimacy with Him. Recall that in the garden, God sought guilty Adam: “The Lord God called to the man…” (Gen. 3:9). His questions led Adam and Eve to admit they had eaten the forbidden fruit. But God gave hope and compassionate protection in the midst of His loving discipline (Gen. 3:15-19, 21-24). God persevered with Adam and Eve, providing for their sin. He has done the same for you in Christ. While you may experience painful consequences from your sin, God’s promises of forgiveness and hope are waiting for you to claim them.