3 things that can hinder God’s work

I heard from a friend in leadership today. Always great talking with him.

A leadership situation involving someone else came up in our conversation. In this other situation, things have fallen apart in spite of someone standing strong to their principles, in spite of their being no moral failure, in spite of many trying to do the right thing. The problem was, they tried to do it alone. Not once did they reach out for help or seek assistance from someone who could maybe make a difference. I can’t judge whether it was pride, fear, or a misguided sense of expectation that caused the leader to go the course alone. I just know the end result is leaving a string of casualties and much hurt and frustration. And, the real tragedy is, it probably could have been avoided.

3 of the things that hinder God’s work besides obvious sin…

1. Pride

This is probably the most obvious. We all know the Bible speaks boldly against pride (Proverbs 8:13; 16:18).

Too often we hide behind the mask of looking like we have it all together. When someone asks us how we are doing, we say, “Great!” or, “Fine!” when, in reality, we are neither. We do this because as Christians and, especially, as leaders we have this misguided idea that we are supposed to be above the fray somehow. When something is wrong, we need to find the ones we can trust and be honest and open. We need those we can go to and let it all out and then receive wise counsel and support in return. Too many don’t have this because they never take the time to build and maintain good, solid, safe relationships with others.

Much of the time, God will use others to bring the answer, the miracle, the resolution. If we are too proud to let others in, then we are blocking out the very channel God has set up to use.

2. Fear

Sometimes fear and pride intertwine and sometimes they mask each other, but the motivation is often different. Pride wants to look good. Fear says we must look good or it will all be taken away. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s there. Too many live in fear of what they perceive others do or will think. Too many live in fear of what might happen. Yet, so often, the fear is what causes the worst to happen. Fear of taking risks because we might lose causes us to miss out and even lose anyway. Fear keeps us from reaching out for help because we are sure we will be rejected and even ostracized. Fear says we must handle it or else we are a failure. Allowing fear to control our actions will not bring the needed resolution in times of trouble and crisis. It is only when we rise above the fear that we are in the position for God to work.

3. Misguided sense of expectation

We have this idea that if we are not involved in a moral failure, that if we are holding to our principles, that if we work harder, and we just hold on that it will all end up good. That is definitely not the case. Foreclosures still happen. People still abandon. Things still break. Bills still go unpaid. Situations still explode. Emotions still take over. On and on it goes.

This idea that if we just can hold on long enough, God will bring the miraculous provision and it will all be good and we will dance in the fields of flowers. (Ok, that last part might be a bit far.)

Anyway, God does and will provide. God is with us and He brings the increase. God is our source. But if our expectation is such that we have no role to play or that our lone ranger mentality (me and God) will carry us through, our expectations are wrong.

Mark Batterson often says, “Work like it depends on you. Pray like it depends on God.” We are in partnership with God because He chose it to be that way. He uses others. He uses our relationships. He uses our courage. He uses what we have in our hands to bring the miracle.

We absolutely must fully trust God to do the work. We must also make sure we are doing everything we can to be in the position where He can work.

This means we seek counsel. We are always building relationships. We exhaust all human options. We involve others. We overcome fear. And, yes, we trust God.

What are your thoughts? What else would you add?

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