20 Obvious Hindrances To Spiritual Growth

There are many hindrances to spiritual growth.

It is well said that identifying a problem is half the battle. That’s correct. Spiritual growth is never easy. Before any Christian can make progress in his spiritual life, he must first identify his obstacles. In the medical field, a patient cannot be properly treated for his illness unless an accurate diagnosis is first made.

Have you ever wondered as a Christian why you’re having trouble progressing spiritually? Or do you want to grow spiritually and want to know what things can stifle your spiritual growth?

In this post, I’m going to share 20 hindrances to spiritual growth that can stifle one’s spiritual life, so that we can make an effort to overcome them in our own lives.

“Oftentimes, we can’t find out who we truly are in Christ unless we remove things that are hindering our growth spiritually.”  

Hindrances to spiritual growth can be broadly categorized into two sections. Firstly, hindrances from within, which are the ones we cause by ourselves. Secondly, hindrances from outside, which we don’t directly cause ourselves, and they include factors from other people (Christians and non-Christians), our environment, churches, etc.

Without taking much time, let’s take a look at these obvious things that cause hindrances to spiritual growth. [Related article: Top 5 Dangerous Enemies of Spiritual Growth You Need to Know About]

Hindrances To Spiritual Growth

1. Lack of personal Bible Study: 

Some Christians rely only on sermons from the pulpit. They don’t make the time to study the scriptures themselves. When asked about their beliefs, they might answer, “My pastor said…” They use their bibles to decorate their bookshelves and usually dust them only on Sunday morning.

It’s disheartening that some Christians don’t read their Bibles. When asked, they might defend themselves by saying that they have it on their tablets, laptops, or mobile phones (though they don’t read it).

But we have to understand that we are children of God, and we were born again first by His word. (John 1:13) If we must make any progress, we must continue in His word. (John 8:31)

Imagine a young boy who doesn’t like eating. As a result, he eats once a week (is this possible?). He will suffer from malnutrition. Most aspects of his physical growth will be hampered, or he might even die. That boy cannot grow physically. The same thing applies to spirituality. Not daily feeding the soul with the word of God is an obstacle to spiritual growth.

2. Not meditating on the word of God (Forgetfulness).

Not meditating on the word is one of the hindrances to spiritual growth

This is quite different from reading or studying the scriptures. This is to keep the mind fixed upon the word of God. It is very possible to read the scriptures without thinking about them. How can this happen?

Some Christians read their Bibles in the morning and then close them, never thinking about what they read for the rest of the day.  They, therefore, become forgetful readers. (James 1:23-24)

Have you ever noticed that after each Sunday service, most Christians forget what the preacher has preached immediately when they leave the church premises? The following Sunday, when asked what the topic of the previous Sunday’s sermon was, they found it very difficult to remember. How can we put into practice what we don’t remember?

3. Lack of enthusiasm:

It is not just enough to desire spiritual growth, you must be passionate about it.

When one is not interested in spiritual matters, he will not see reasons to grow spiritually.

4. Love for a particular sin:

Love for sin is one of the hindrances to spiritual growth.

Love for a specific sin? Yes. Even the most heinous sinner does not commit all sins. There are those they are known for and those they despise. It is possible for a Christian to fall in love with a specific sin, which will impede his spiritual growth. Such Christians will fall into the same sin over and over again, becoming slaves to it.

Sin is a simple word with only three letters, but it has a complicated nature. It is possible to fall deeply in love with the very sin you wish to eradicate. 

Isaiah 59:2 (NLT) But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

How can a man love sin and still love God if sin is the only thing that separates him from God? That man’s relationship with God will never grow.

Read also: Does God Love Me Even Though I Keep Sinning

5. Lack of prayer life:

Many Christians believe in prayer and pray, but they lack a prayer life. It is even possible to find Christians who do not pray at all. I remember telling someone to make time for private prayers, and he said he couldn’t pray unless he was in a prayer meeting. How can such a person grow spiritually?

 Christians that see prayer only as an open check to request bread and butter from God don’t grow spiritually. Prayer is more than that. 

Are you finding yourself immersed in a sea of prayerlessness? Click on this link to understand the root causes of your prayerlessness.

6. Our human nature:

It will be very helpful for every Christian to know that the very process of spiritual growth is against what he would have wanted naturally. Though we desire to grow spiritually, we may not like the process.

“You are your own worst enemy when it comes to spiritual growth.”

For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. These two are enemies, and this means that you cannot do what you want to do.
Galatians 5:17 (GNT)

7. Laziness and lack of commitment.

It is difficult for a Christian to grow if he is sluggish in performing spiritual duties. When he is tired, he skips night prayer or fellowship with the brethren. When the Holy Spirit puts demands on him, such a person cannot leave his comfort zone.

Are you the kind of Christian that When it comes to business, you become agile, but when it comes to spiritual matters, you tire.

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses – only results.”

Ken Blanchard

A Christian who serves or obeys God only when it is convenient will make little spiritual progress.

Consider reading this article on “10 Success and Spiritual Lessons from Ants in the Bible.” You will truly learn a lot about hard work from ants, lessons that you can apply even to your spiritual life.

8. One depending on his ability

It is never by might, power or one’s will but by the spirit of God. Unless the Spirit enables you, you can not make any progress in your spiritual journey. 

9. Lack of Knowledge.

Unlike physical growth in height, one can only grow spiritually when he understands the reason for it. Spiritual growth must be intentional. A Christian can not grow unless he understands the how and why he should grow. 

“When purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable”

Myles Munroe

God as a father wants everyone of his children to grow up in faith so they can access everything he has stored up for them.. 

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee... (KJV)

10. Busyness:

Busyness is one of the hindrances to spiritual growth

As humans, we may be occupied with the business of hustling for daily food, cloth and shelter which are necessary for our survival. We may be busy acquiring wealth, studying as students, or doing this or that which can make us not have time for our spiritual lives. Although sometimes we become busy even with irrelevant things as well. 

Luke 8:14 And as for what fell among the thorns, these are [the people] who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked and suffocated with the anxieties and cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not ripen (come to maturity and perfection). 

11. Distractions or ungodly desires:

In this 21st century, it is necessary to keep distractions at bay. It may sometimes come from the constant buzz of your phone to the disturbance of your pet wanting to play with you. Now we have Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and many other social media and they can be distractions. Distractions can be a real challenge for spiritual growth. 

12. Fear of the responsibility;

Physiologically, any muscle we don’t use atrophies. That’s why the limbs of lame men become thinner as the day goes by. 

Have you ever been told to lead a prayer or bible discussion maybe in a small bible group? The first time you were told to do so, I suppose you were afraid. It’s easy to succumb to the idea that before you take up responsibility, you must attain a particular height in the spirit. As for me, I would say that as far as you desire to grow, don’t fear to take any responsibility you are required to take and avoid the fear of making mistakes and not being willing to learn from them.

13. False Doctrine

This is a great hindrance to spiritual growth. When a growing child who is meant to be fed well is being given only carbohydrates he will suffer from kwashiorkor and his growth will be impeded.

Some denominations don’t believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. How can their followers grow? Some Christians feed mainly on prosperity sermons. Some only on hell based sermons while some mainly on sermons based on God’s grace and mercy. For these Christians, they will be limited in their spiritual growth because they are not properly fed.

 14. Inconsistency and Complacency

Being serious with God today and unserious tomorrow is a hindrance to spiritual growth. Sometimes good situations like prosperity and success in one’s endeavour, and peace in one’s marriage can make one think he has arrived and there is no need to grow or advance spiritually. Thinking that God’s earthly blessings are a sign of his favour can hinder one from growing spiritually.

15. Talking too much

From experience, I have noticed that the more I talk, the less prayerful I become. Talkativeness is a great hindrance to spiritual growth.

 James 1:26 If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. (NLT)

16. Lack of perseverance or patience

The process of Spiritual growth is no bed of roses. The fruit does not show overnight. It is never a sweet process and one can quit before seeing any result from the process.

17. Lack of Fellowship With Other Believers 

This can be a hindrance to spiritual growth. As iron sharpens iron so one sharpens another. We need one another to properly grow. When we avoid the gathering of the brethren, our spiritual growth can be affected. Walking alone is never a good idea. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

18. Certain Relationships

Serious relationships or friendships with unserious Christians and unbelievers can hinder one from growing. The bible said that we are not to be equally yoked with unbelievers.

Hindrance to spiritual growth can come from the poor examples or lifestyle of other Christians. Christian leaders who are not growing can become stumbling blocks to those who want to grow.

19. Lack of self-evaluation

Christians who don’t create time to regularly cross-check their lives and think about their ways may not find out on time when they go astray. Lack of regular self-reflection keeps us from regulating our ways.

1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we searchingly examined ourselves [detecting our shortcomings and recognizing our own condition], we should not be judged and penalty decreed [by the divine judgment]. (AMP)

20. Categorization and unreasonable contentment

When a Christian is satisfied with his spiritual state he cannot desire to advance. Maybe he is satisfied with speaking in tongues or teaching the scripture well and as a result, he doesn’t care to raise the dead because he thinks that raising the dead is for a special kind of people.

Are you satisfied with your spiritual state now? If yes, I fear may not grow again. Hunger for higher ground is a requisite for spiritual advancement.


What has been hindering you from growing spiritually?

Take a look at your spiritual life. Are you making the progress that is expected of you? If not, what has been keeping you from advancing? What has been preventing you from being who God has called you to be? Which of these hindrances are you most susceptible to? Examine yourself! Take those hindrances to God in prayer. Strategize a means to overcome them and you will see positive change in your spiritual life. 

One can’t be hindered by all of these listed above at the same time. The challenges am facing might be different from yours. 

The list is inexhaustible. If you know other obstacles maybe from personal experience you can leave them below in the comment section. 

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