In any relationship, withholding of self affects communication, which in turn impacts the degree of intimacy, forming an obstacle to real closeness and trust. So it also does in relationship with the Father/Son/Holy Spirit. 

The Father desires true intimacy with His sons and daughters. Unwillingness to give over, let go of, and/or share a portion of self/one’s life, creates a barrier/obstacle to intimacy and thus will affect communication. 

Now, when we talk about communication, it is important to be aware that there are two critical components to communication: listening is just as important as talking. Although it is important to share our hearts with the Father/Son/Holy Spirit, assuming that we want to hear from Him, we must learn to listen for the Father’s voice.

Often we are so busy going on and on with our requests, complaints, etc. that we miss what the Father has for us due to inattentiveness. Many things can obstruct our ability to hear, but they all begin with self-focus.

Since reciprocation builds relationship and closeness, one of the first things we can do in learning to reciprocate, is to stop at a certain point during our prayer time/communing time, and listen for the Father’s voice (which usually comes via Holy Spirit’s presence, giving us an inner knowing about something we’ve addressed, or perhaps it is unrelated). Since the initial most likely obstruction is our own self-preoccupation which blocks attentiveness to HIM, that must be taken care of before anything else.

Having done that, we need to consider all those areas where there is difficulty giving up control. When hanging onto control, which is the human tendency, there will be an unwillingness to listen, or to receive any information, for it may be seen as a threat to that sense of self-sufficiency/control, whether or not it is a conscious thing (more than likely it is not). So how are we going to know what it is if we are unaware?

When the individual has concern about  not hearing from the Lord, this needs to be seen as an alert, sign, or signal that there is an obstruction. Know that there is something being withheld from the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit to CONVICT you – yes, conviction is a good thing – and reveal to you what that is, for the Lord says:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matt.7:7,8).

It is okay to ask, in the right way for the right things. The Lord wants us to know; but He needs for us to be motivated to ask so that there is desire to listen. 

Places in our hearts and minds, in our relationships, lives, and activities that we for some reason – perhaps shame, fear, guilt, embarrassment – want to withhold from the Lord are usually the very things most needing to be taken to Him for healing, deliverance, freedom from bondage. These are those areas of our lives that we fail to surrender; and these will be the very things which will get in the way of hearing from the Lord. They form barriers, obstructions, blocks to our very willingness to hear what may be unpleasant feedback if/when we do hear from the Lord. So the tendency is to just keep talking, and not listening.

The problem is that such practice will stunt one’s growth. It is not possible to grow spiritually without receiving God’s input. It is not possible to progress beyond a certain point, without being honest with self, and with our Maker in order to make things right with Him; and in order to clear up matters for our own self, only full open disclosure, full open communication which includes hearing what He has to say about the matter will suffice. Identifying the obstructions, of course, is the first step towards attaining an attitude of honesty and paving the way to clearing out the rubble that gets in the way of a truly meaningful and rewarding relationship with our Lord, including that reciprocal, two-way communication.

Take in the reality that no matter how many things any of us may try to blame it on, we ourselves are the creators of whatever obstructs our ability to hear the voice of the Lord in our lives. It is not the case that He is not communicating with us; it is always the case that we are the ones not paying attention to what He is trying to show us. Whether out of brazen rebellion, and stubborn determination to do things our own way, fear, or guilt, we must take responsibility; the positive in this is that it is all within our power to choose to change.

Many factors may play a part in creating the perceived need to form obstructions; however, upon the awareness of what is being withheld, it is within one’s ability to choose to bring those very things before the Lord; to surrender each item individually, one by one, and allow our heavenly Father to provide guidance through the leading of His Holy Spirit. 

Pride, disobedience and rebellion, a lifestyle of sin, whether criminal/immoral behaviour, or otherwise, will form barriers/obstacles. Guilt will form a barrier between the individual and the Father. Following a sinful pathway is the opposite of obedience, and surrender. Anything that counters submission and obedience blocks trust and dependence on God and thus creates a barrier between the individual and the Lord. All desires, as well as behaviours that are counter to God’s wishes/will, will form a block to surrender, thus the inability of hearing the voice of the Lord through His Holy Spirit. 

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God” (Gen.3:8). When Adam and Eve ran away from God in the Garden of Eden, they felt guilty; “the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid” (Gen.3:9,10). When He called to them, they ran away; they didn’t want to hear Him, because they knew they had broken covenant with Him, and didn’t want to face Him. Shame and guilt lead to deception. Deception will form a barrier, and any message from the Lord will go unheard, a parallel to that which occurs in relationships between spouses/humans.

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil”(James 4:13-16). Fear of the unknown: people want a plan, a blueprint. They are impatient, so they want to be in control. People, in general, do not take well to be told they must be patient, trust, wait on the Lord. 

Getting the obstructions of fear, need for control, etc., out of the way requires ongoing daily surrender, the putting of flesh to death. Listening/attending to, and waiting on the Lord for whatever the next step should be is the most beneficial way to go; when that pathway becomes desirable, all personal desires, plans and goals can be put to death, and submission made to the Lord’s plan, and  freedom achieved. Just as James suggests, we become free from the ties that bind us to our own thoughts, plans, desires, and goals, which of course are not taking into account the fact that not only does God know the end from the beginning, but He also has our best interests at heart. By embracing that truth, we become free to hear truth from God, and once submitting to what is revealed, obstructions will be obliterated. 




James 4:13-16



© 2020 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.