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Barriers to Freedom

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It is a sad fact that so many Christians today have become stuck and seem unable to move forward with God. Barriers they are not aware of are holding them back from reaching their true potential and experiencing the wonderful promises God has made to us.handsbutterfly

1. Ignorance.

Many Christians do not know the true teachings of the Word of God and little knowledge of what was achieved when Jesus died on the cross.  "Therefore My people have gone into captivity, Because they have no knowledge" (Isaiah 5:13 NKJV). Some people sin without realising that what they are doing/have done is a sin. They've done wrong but in their ignorance they've believed they have done right. God made the distinction between sinning in ignorance and sinning in defiance..."And if a person sins unintentionally, then he shall bring a female goat in its first year as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for the person who sins unintentionally, when he sins unintentionally before the LORD, to make atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him. You shall have one law for him who sins unintentionally, for him who is native-born among the children of Israel and for the stranger who dwells among them. But the person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the LORD, and he shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the LORD, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him." (Numbers 15:27-31 NKJV). This wasn't a distinction between innocence and guilt, but between different kinds of guilt. Ignorance is certainly not a desirable state and neither is it an excuse. Fortunately for us, God is patient and kind. He wants the ignorant to know their guilt and repent of it. He commands all people everywhere to repent. “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:17-19, NKJV). In many cases, God looks upon ignorance as blameworthy in itself: This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness  (Ephesians 4:17-19, NKJV).

2. Unconfessed Sin.

He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy (Proverbs 28:13 NKJV).

We have all sinned. God needs us to confess our sins so He can help us. It is for our own good. It's not for God's information - He already knows. No matter how terrible the sin might be, God has promised He will forgive us, in His faithfulness and His justice and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9 NKJV). Once you have repented to God for your sin(s), He will erase them and will not hold them against you ever again. If you cannot remember your sins, you can ask God through His Holy Spirit to reveal any sins to you that you have forgotten about, or maybe even repressed due to shame, guilt, trauma or otherwise.  Remember, our God is gentle and can reveal things only when you are ready to handle it. This may take days, months or even years, but He sees your heart and knows your intentions.

3. Unbelief.

The New Testament shows unbelief to be a very big problem in the lives of many Christians. "Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief" (Matthew 13:58 NKJV). However, it seems most teachings on this issue do not really get to the heart of the problem. Many think unbelief is merely not having enough faith to see the power of God at work. The Bible makes it clear that God honours faith, but it is our lack of understanding of how doubt and unbelief create a barrier to faith in our lives. Strong's definition of unbelief is: "1. Lacking confidence in the performer, unfaithfulness, faithless. 2. Want of faith, unbelief. 3. Weakness of faith." So then, we need to understand firstly, what faith is. Faith is not the means by how we get God to work in our lives; faith is how we enter God's will for our lives!. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV). So how do we increase our faith? Jesus appears to say we either have faith or no faith to start with. If one does have faith, it will grow as we put it into practice (as we serve God our faith will increase as He comes closer to us through living a life of service to him). For those of us who are weak (or have little faith) we can take comfort from the fact that even Jesus' own disciples had 'no' or 'little' faith but their faith did grow over time. Their biggest problem was the doubt and unbelief that hindered the potential of their faith. Every believer has been given a measure of faith, but unbelief negates it. It's like tying a rope to a load and pulling it along the ground. If someone else of equal strength were to tie a rope to it and pull in the opposite direction, no matter how hard they both tried the load would remain stationary. Likewise, unbelief counterbalances our faith. If we can just overcome the unbelief, a mustard-seed amount of faith will be sufficient for our problems. "So Jesus said to them, 'Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you'" (Matthew 17:20 NKJV). The Word of God tells us to fast and pray for deliverance from unbelief.  And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting" (Mark 9:28-29, NKJV).

4. Unforgiveness.

Unforgiveness is a sin and it is probably the biggest barrier of all to freedom. It even prevents God from forgiving us of other sins... "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6 14-15, NKJV). Simply put, if you cannot forgive others, including yourself and God, then you cannot expect freedom. Unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment is a poison. If you have unforgiveness or hateful thoughts toward somebody, you will know the torture it causes while it 'eats you up' inside. So how do we forgive? You need to decide you want to forgive. Don't wait until you feel like it - unforgiveness is one of satan's biggest weapons; the longer you hold on to it the more he will poison your mind with bitter thoughts. Make the decision to forgive and God will heal your wounded emotions in good time. The first step is to make the confession that you forgive.  Even if at that point you don't truly mean it, the power of confession can either bring life or death. Choosing to forgive releases life. It will begin the healing process. Without the Holy Spirit it's probably too hard to forgive someone on your own. If you are truly willing then God will help you, if you humble yourself and ask Him for His help. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained (John 20:21-23, KJV). Ask God to breathe the Holy Spirit on you to help you forgive. Pray for those who abuse or misuse you, your enemies, those who have hurt you. Pray for their happiness and welfare. Bless them, do not curse them. “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you" (Luke 6:27-28, NKJV). Once you have prayed for them God can reveal to them any deception. They may not even be aware of what has happened, or of any hurt they have caused, or they may not even care.

5. Involvement in the Occult

What is the Occult? - The word "occult" comes from a Latin word meaning "concealed or covered over, secret". It is knowledge of the supernatural type. In general, occult activities involve seeking knowledge or power that is not from God. The Bible clearly forbids any such involvement in occultic activities...There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,  or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.  For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you (Deuteronomy 18:10-12, NKJV).
Some common forms of occult practices being: Tarot card reading, Palm reading, Crystal healing, Ouija boards, Seances, Channeling, Voodoo, Witchcraft, Astrology, Horoscopes, Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Fortune-telling, Mediums, Spirit-guides, Astral travel/projection. The Bible takes a clear position on this subject, strongly denouncing these practices. If you have dabbled in anything occultic then you need to seek forgiveness through repentance, as this is another major barrier to receiving true freedom.

6. Freemasonry

Freemasonry is a secret society and is incompatible with Christian beliefs. It draws on all kinds of pagan religious ideas and involves honouring false deities. Freemasonry has much power and influence in world affairs (as many of our politicians, judges, lawyers and businessmen are members of this secretive group). If you have been involved with Freemasonry then you are under a curse. Not only you, but probably also your family and any descendants. To break free of this curse you need to renounce freemasonry completely in the name of Jesus Christ.

7. Curses

Curses are very real and impact many of us to some degree each day. This can be through the power of the tongue.  We curse ourselves and each other with this dangerous weapon. Another form is the generational curse-line.  Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. And they shall be upon you for a sign and a wonder, and on your descendants forever"   (Deuteronomy 28:45-46, NKJV). Many people’s lives are hindered by curses on their health, their families, their finances, and their personal and spiritual well-being. There is no one immune to the effects of curses except for those who have been delivered through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Some common signs a curse maybe in operation in your life or your families:
 - Repeated or chronic sickness (especially if hereditary)
 - Continual financial poverty (especially when you make enough money)
 - Family history of divorce or relationship problems
 - Mental and emotional breakdowns
 - Family members dying young or from unnatural causes including suicide
 - Being accident prone
 - Repeated miscarriages or female problems

By Mark Francis