a tender plant depicting growth which calls for the need for one to be aware of enemies of spiritual growth.

Top 5 Dangerous Enemies of Spiritual Growth You Need to Know About

Did you know that if spiritual growth or intimacy were a smooth ride, all Christians would experience uninterrupted spiritual advancement once they accept Jesus as both Lord and Savior?

The truth is, there are real lethal enemies of spiritual growth, some within and some outside. They oppose our progression in drawing closer to the Father through Jesus, and can also be called enemies of spiritual intimacy.

In this post, we are going to consider 5 stubborn enemies of spiritual growth.

Read also: 20 Obvious Hindrances To Spiritual Growth.

5 Stubborn Enemies of Spiritual Growth

Here are the top 5 dangerous enemies of spiritual growth.

1. Your flesh.

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”

Winston Churchill

Normally, our desires are not faults in and of themselves. We humans yearn for comfort, food, water, shelter, satisfaction, pleasure, and sex. But we transgress God’s commandments mainly when our fleshly desires take control and precedence over God’s will.

Without a doubt, our flesh is a real enemy. This is because it is the target of the enemy outside.

You have to know that the flesh is prone to lusting. It is an internal adversary, being the physical aspect of humanity that is deeply connected to our sinful nature. It wages war against the spirit and doesn’t desire us to fulfill the will of God. The flesh craves pleasure, comfort, and satisfaction, but has no inheritance in the kingdom of heaven. So, the allure or effect on the flesh is real.

Have you been in a situation where you had a strong desire for pleasure and satisfaction that goes against the will of God? The flesh is the culprit.

Have you ever wanted to pray but found yourself too weak and fell asleep? (Matthew 26:41) The flesh is responsible.

Do you sometimes feel the urge to show off or struggle to control your anger? That’s the flesh!

These desires or appetites of the flesh can be one’s limitation in attempting to draw closer to God.

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

Galatians 5:17 (KJV)

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Galatians 5:19-21 (KJV)

The flesh is truly one of the enemies of spiritual growth that exists within us.

2. Ignorance:

Ignorance is an enemy, even to its owner. Knowledge is a friend, even to its haters. Ignorance hates knowledge because it is too pure. Knowledge fears ignorance because it is too sure.

Sri Chinmoy

This is also one of the enemies of spiritual growth. Yes, it’s another lethal enemy. It is the enemy we are unaware of. If it is said that the devil (enemy) you know is better than the angel (friend) you don’t know, then how much more the devil you don’t know? Ignorance is therefore very dangerous.

That’s why the Lord said that His people perish for lack of knowledge (ignorance) (Hosea 4:6), despite their advantages and positions as gods, kings, and priests.

Ignorance is also an enemy because it is the objective of the enemy from the outside. In the parable of the sower, the birds immediately came and took away the seed that fell on the wayside, leaving those people in ignorance. Note that the devil wants to keep you ignorant!

When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

St. Matthew 13:19 (NIV)

Ignorance leads us into error. Once you are in error, you cannot grow spiritually.

In St. Matthew 22:29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God..” (NIV)

Teachers of the word of God who are not sound can produce ignorant Christians. False doctrine leads to ignorance. Pride can also cause ignorance.

In Acts of the Apostles, chapter 19, Paul came to Ephesus when Apollos had just left Ephesus for Achaia. there Paul encountered about twelve believers who had not even heard of the Holy Spirit. This was what I would call “the Apollos effect.”

Apollos, an eloquent and knowledgeable man (Acts 18:24-25), but ignorant of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, had been teaching in Ephesus. The result of his ignorance was a group of disciples who were also unaware of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is how ignorance can hinder one’s spiritual growth.

But I thank God for Apollos, who humbled himself and was willing to be taught by Aquilla and Priscilla (Acts 18:26).

3. Busyness

Being busy has frequently come to be equated with leading a productive or fruitful life. Hence, people may feel like they are wasting their time when they spend time reading the Bible or praying.

Busyness is also one of the enemies of spiritual intimacy with the Father.

Hard work and focus in life are very good, but a busy life should be refrained from.

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”


Although there are times when we can’t easily avoid being busy, such as during a unique business endeavor or a school assignment, or when providing for our family, they can still hinder our spiritual development.

However, there are moments when we can easily control our busyness. These are times when we fill our schedules with unnecessary and irrelevant activities. While most of these activities aren’t necessarily bad in and of themselves, they become a problem when they prevent us from reading God’s Word, praying, or having devotion with the Father.

When we feel overburdened and overworked, we should honestly examine our to-do list to see if there is anything we can drop or at least temporarily postpone to give ourselves more breathing room.

If we say that spending time in prayer and studying God’s Word is the top priority in our lives, we must back it up with our actions. If we are too busy to pray and read the Bible, we are too busy to the extent that God is not needed in our lives.

“I wanted to figure out why I was so busy, but I couldn’t find the time to do it.”

Todd Stocker

Busyness also keeps us from regular self-reflection, which is a practice essential for healthy spiritual growth.

4. The Devil, Your Archenemy

The devil, also known as Satan or Lucifer, is regarded as our archenemy because he is an embodiment of evil and the greatest adversary of God. He is the chief of the enemies of spiritual growth.

He is responsible for tempting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, leading to the fall of man and the introduction of sin into the world. The devil is the instigator of evil in the world, tempting people to commit sin and leading them away from God’s path.

You and I know about this that we have an archenemy. One who never wants any good to happen to us. He is urgently on a mission to steal, kill, and destroy (Revelation 12:12; John 10:10). For those he has captivated, he is not ready to set them free (Isaiah 14:17).

This enemy is ready to give you anything within his reach if he can use that to pull you away from God (Matthew 4:8-9). On the other hand, he is also ready to take anything from you if it can make you forsake God (Job 1:1-22; 2:1-10).

I heard the testimony of a young man who told the story of how God delivered him from a terrible sickness. He said that the sickness left him while praying intensely with someone. He saw, in a vision, an old woman come out of his body. According to him, the sickness prevented him from serving the Lord his God as a youth. That’s the work of the devil.

5. Your Present Spiritual State

If you have prayed for the sick and they are healed, you can further improve by raising the dead. All things are possible to him that believes.

But one’s present spiritual attainment can also be an enemy to further growth and improvement in several ways:

Firstly, complacency. If someone feels they have achieved a certain level of spiritual growth, they may become complacent and stop seeking further improvement. They may feel satisfied with their current level of knowledge and understanding and stop pushing themselves to learn more about God and to pray.

Secondly, arrogance. This is also one of the enemies to spiritual growth. Sometimes, people who feel they have attained a high level of spiritual achievement may become arrogant and believe they are superior to others who have not reached the same level. But it is obvious in the scripture that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Such a person can never grow spiritually again.

Thirdly, closed-mindedness. When someone believes they have achieved a certain level of spiritual understanding, they may become closed-minded, which can prevent further learning.

The fourth way one’s present spiritual state becomes an obstacle to their spiritual advancement is by causing stagnation. If someone is excessively focused on their past spiritual accomplishments, they may fail to recognize that growth and change are ongoing processes.

Such a person no longer hungers or thirsts! Therefore, one’s present spiritual state can be one of the enemies of spiritual growth.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained, you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Sun Tzu

In a nutshell, it is by identifying and overcoming these enemies of spiritual growth that you can achieve the spiritual heights that you desire. So, let us not fear the battles ahead, but instead, face them head-on and emerge victorious on the other side. For since the days of John the Baptist until now”, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (St. Matthew 11:12).

God’s grace!

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