Barriers to Intimacy with God
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See: Intimacy with God1; Perception/Performance 6: Emotions D Bitterness2; Bitterness Thots; Intimacy and Emotion email; Emotional Atheism3
No Barriers1: Commitment-phobic; Fear; Hiding (guilt); Self-Esteem; Selfishness/Pride; Rejection; Bitterness/Resentment; Immaturity; Irresponsibility; Dishonesty; Devaluation; Addiction; Reactivity; Busyness; Poor Priorities; Talkativeness; Control issues; Sin; Unfaithful
I. We get mad or distant with God when we don’t like our lives or think He’s mad at us (self-inflicted by sin)
“The bitter root grows from a seed…some such thing that has been perceived as a wrong done to me that I never forgave. Until this issue is identified, it cannot be completely pulled out…The root of bitterness is protected by a faulty defense logic that asserts my right…These faulty arguments must be exposed in order to get at the root. By exposing and destroying this line of thinking, God can start speaking again to my conscience through guilt. That in turn begins to work on me. As it is, pride…keep(s) guilt far away. Bitter people are difficult to counsel because they are continually going through a cycle of thoughts, that both justify oneself and accuse the other. God’s Word must penetrate my mind so that I can see that Jesus really condemns what I am doing. I must recognize that there are dire consequences if I don’t change. In fact, I am already troubled. Troubles are often the tools God uses to cause a person to be open to the truth and then be delivered from the deception. Usually God will use a crisis to sufficiently humble me to the point at which I am willing to deal with bitterness the way God desires.” http://foundationsforfreedom.net/Topics/Marriage/Great_Marriage/GM07_Bitterness.html#Anchor-47857
II. We need to be honest to God and ourselves (honesty with those around us couldn’t hurt either)
3Anger toward God: Divine actions: death, serious illness or injury, natural disaster, accidents; Human action: abuse, wartime atrocities, assault, murder, divorce, abandonment, betrayal; Disappointing (~traumatic) events: personal failures, “unanswered” prayers
3Anger links: low current religiosity; insecure attachment; narcissistic entitlement; trait anger; depression; low self-esteem; Parents
III. We need to resolve our anger
Admit You're Angry and Analyze Why2 Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, & evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice
Clash of values and expectations; focus of affection; lack of self-denial/crucifixion; source of worth misplaced
Nostril Flaring Legitimate? Nose around your self-talk for the source Jonah 4 "Do you do well to be ANGRY?"
3Feelings Resolved by: Insight into “why” 27%; +Benign reappraisal of God’s intentions 25%; +God not at fault 11%; +Saw as God’s will 12%; +Acceptance 18%; -Passage of time 27%; -Some good outcome 14%; -Problem went away 11%; -Stopped believing 9%
Grow as the irritation contributes to your beautification/beatification 2Cor 9:8 God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you…
Go to God for power to manifest the Fruit of the Spirit; Relinquish Your Rights; Ownership turned over to God; Withhold Wrath
3Reframing: God uses suffering as +a loving correction for sin; +to build or refine character; +/-fits events into a mysterious “big picture” that humans can’t grasp (Holy Mystery concept); -God suffers along with people (and the rest of creation); -God has limitations and thus cannot prevent suffering; -Suffering stems from Satan, evil, or consequences of human sin or fallenness—not from God.
Express/Verbalize your Forgiveness and Feelings Wisely Job 1:22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God foolishly/with wrong.
3Options that may require less theological tinkering: treat the psychological disorder (e.g., depression; problem in attachment) and God image may improve; foster approach behaviors toward God, including honest expression of negative feelings (empty chair technique; journaling; imagery; prayer); look for signs of God’s presence, care, love; meditate on hope-giving insights or texts;
turn to spiritual direction or pastoral consultation
Reconcile and Relinquish Rm 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil 19 do not avenge yourselves, give place to wrath; "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay 20
Questions for Reflections/Discussion/Response:
1. Is it possible to be angry with God or His sovereignty over your life and not know it? What would be some clues?
2. If the problem/irritation just goes away or we get used to it, have God’s purposes been achieved in our life, or have we lost out?
3. How does bitterness toward God effect us physically, emotionally, spiritually (esp exercising faith), and relationally?
4. What are some typical ways that you’re tempted to get angry or bitter with God and how have you resolved them?
5. What can you do to search your heart and make it more welcoming to God? Do you believe He loves and wants to help you?