Two Obstacles to a Relationship with God

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.(Hebrews [10:19]–22)

The writer to the Hebrews commands us to draw near to God.

This letter exhorts us to persevere, and this profound call to draw near to God is right at the heart. In the midst of difficulty and temptation, we’re told to come closer. To move in. To draw near. This command to draw near might be summarized as a summons to live in a rich God-accomplished relationship with God.

Rich — And Accomplished by God

It’s a rich relationship, not a mechanical one. It requires a “true heart in full assurance of faith.” This is a full and rich and satisfying relationship — one that is more real to us than anything else.

It’s a God-accomplished relationship, not one that we contrive. This relationship we’re called to is not our building a tower, or our climbing stairs, or our somehow trying to maneuver our way to get close to him. Notice the language: We’re to draw near “with our hearts sprinkled clean from a evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” This echoes the God-centeredness of the New Covenant, when God promised that he’d write his law on our hearts, that he’d give us his Spirit, that he’d make us clean (Jeremiah [31:33]). The point is that God is behind this. God did it. Draw near to him.

Two Obstacles in the Way

But it’s not that simple. There are obstacles in our way. There are many things, in fact, that might deter you from a rich relationship with God, but two in particular are worth mentioning: 1) the fear of judgment and 2) the fear of disappointment.

The fear of judgment keeps you from a rich relationship with God because you just can’t believe that God can forgive your sin. You know your sin and guilt, and although you like the idea of a closer relationship with God, you wouldn’t dare pursue it. You think a person as messed up as you just isn’t supposed to be close to God. The fear of judgment imagines God frowning, crossing his arms, annoyed, angry, fed up with your mess-ups. He is not a Father running to meet you, but one waiting to punish you. How could you draw near to him?

Written by Jonathan Parnell- Desiring God
Full story at Desiring God

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