These 10 Bad Habits Are Distancing You from God

woman looking bored or thinking deeply on couch, bad habits distancing you from God

As believers, we all go through period of time where we feel closer to the Lord than in past seasons of our life. During the periods of distance, we tend to get discouraged. We think “why do I not feel as close to God as I did six months ago?” (or even just last week!) Sometimes in those moments, we err on the side of shame and guilt, and subconsciously end up pulling ourselves even further away, thinking we have no right to approach God. But the Bible says otherwise!

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:15-16)

It’s important to remember that feelings are not always a reflection of the truth, but they can be indicators of issues in our lives. Just because we don’t “feel” close to God doesn’t mean we’ve fallen away or that He isn’t near. But at the same time, those feelings could be a sign that something isn’t right in our hearts and is causing broken fellowship with the Lord.

The good news is, we don’t have to figure this out alone. The Holy Spirit instructs us and guides us. Spend time in prayer and in the Word, and ask the Lord to show you unconfessed sin, hardness of heart, or any other “fox” that has snuck into your life that you need to catch (Song of Solomon 2:15).

Here are 10 habits that are potentially distancing you from God.

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  • angry man yelling at computer

    1. Anger

    Bottled up anger is a frequent culprit of unconfessed sin in our life. Anger itself isn’t the sin, but the typical accompanying bitterness or desire for revenge can be. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27).

    If you’re struggling with anger today, release it to the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to calm your heart and replace those angry feelings with feelings of contentment and trust in Him as our sovereign Judge. We don’t have to get vengeance—it’s the Lord’s. When we focus our attention on loving our enemies (or co-workers or difficult family members or critics), we are less likely to harbor anger.

    2. Unforgiveness

    Along with anger, unforgiveness is yet another common way we tend to stray from the Lord. When we get consumed with how we’ve been wronged, our pride swells and distances us from God. Worse yet, the Bible tells us that if we don’t forgive, we won’t be forgiven. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14 -15 ESV). Forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re okay with what the person did that offended or hurt you—it just means you’re turning over your attempts at control and vengeance to the only One who can do anything about it. God sees your pain and injustice and will deal with it in His way and in His time. Our job isn’t to be unforgiving or to hold grudges, but to forgive and trust God to take it from there.

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  • anxious and scared woman sitting on ground of metro

    3. Anxiety and Fear

    Did you know that excessive worrying is a sin? When we’re overcome by fear and anxiety, we will naturally grow away from the Lord because at the core of it all, we’re not trusting Him. Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-31 ESV)

    Over and over again, the Bible says to “fear not.” When something is repeated in God’s word, we should pay extra attention—and obey.

    “…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

    4. Selfishness or Self-Help

    When we get overly confident in ourselves and in our own abilities, we naturally draw away from the Lord because we’re trusting in our own strength and not His. In the same way, the Bible makes it clear that we should be more focused on others than on ourselves. This keeps us humble—and that’s where the Lord gives grace. (James 4:6

    “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). Instead of being caught up in “me,” we should be focused on “we” as the body of Christ.

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  • woman fanning dollar bills in front of her face

    5. Idolatry

    As believers, we tend to think that we’re not prone to idol worship because we don’t have a golden cow on our living room mantle and we don’t pray to statues. But idol worship is anything that becomes more important to you than the Lord. The Bible tells us not to love the things in the world, because they won’t be here long. It’s an empty pursuit that will never fill us up.

    Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17) True fulfillment is found in Christ alone—not in sexual immortality, food addiction, alcoholism, excessive exercise, or any other vices we tend to make idols.

    6. Avoiding Prayer

    One surefire way to feel distant from God is to avoid talking to Him. Sometimes, we don’t pray because we are hesitant to believe God wants to hear from us. Other times, we’re simply being lazy and not making it a priority. The Bible tells us to pray, so we ought to. It’s for our own good, and brings peace and joy to our spirits, especially when combined with thanksgiving. When we’re telling God we’re grateful for all He’s done in our lives, we naturally draw near to Him.Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).

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  • netflix logo on television

    7. Worldly Entertainment

    When we spend too much time binge-watching Netflix or listening to secular music, our spirits draw away from the Lord. It’s not that all secular shows or songs are bad, but when we fill our hearts and minds with more of the things of the world than with the things of God, there will be an inevitable shift in our spirits.Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)

    8. Routine

    Routine can be a blessing, but it can only be a curse if we’re reading our Bible, praying, or going to church for the sake of routine alone. Routines are great when it comes to getting household chores done or following a diet plan. But the Word tells us to avoid empty routines regarding spiritual matters. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)

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  • man working on computer at home

    9. Success & Productivity

    When we get caught up in becoming successful, making a name for ourselves, or growing overly focused on productivity, we will most likely pull away from the Lord. It is in God’s upside-down kingdom that seeking fame or looking to praise ourselves will actually cause the opposite effect. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11)

    10. Isolation

    Not spending time with other believers will also lead to drawing away from God. The Bible frequently highlights the importance of community and not walking through this life alone. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23-25) Don’t forsake the assembly by staying away from church. Find a Bible-preaching community and attend (or check in virtually) regularly—it’s for your own good and also for the good of the believers around you.

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    Betsy_headshotBetsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of more than fifteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hubby, two total-opposite young daughters, a vast collection of novels, and an impressive stash of Pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she’s not sweating it out at Camp Gladiator or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. Look for her latest novel with Revell, titled The Key To Love, coming October 2020. Visit her at .