Top 10 Reasons You Struggle with Spiritual Disciplines

Top 10 Reasons You Struggle with Spiritual Disciplines

A few years ago, a young lady started attending our church. She quickly immersed herself in the church, faithfully attending Sunday school, Bible study, and the monthly women's class. She also started fellowshipping with mature Christians and helping out wherever she could. A few years later, this same lady was ordained as a missionary. Others who'd been attending the church longer wondered why and how she was ordained before them. She was ordained before them, not because she was better than them, but because she was faithful in spiritual disciplines.

Our ability to persevere in spiritual disciplines is directly linked to our spiritual growth. Those who persist in spiritual disciplines grow quicker, and on a stronger foundation, than those who aren't faithful in spiritual disciplines.

Unfortunately, many Christians struggle with spiritual disciples such as prayer, fasting, studying the Bible, attending church, and supporting the local church with our time, talents, and tithes. While there are many reasons why Christians struggle with spiritual disciplines, we must commit to spiritual disciplines so we can grow in Christ.

Let's look now at 10 reasons why we struggle with spiritual disciplines.

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  • 1. No Relationship with Christ

    1. No Relationship with Christ

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    "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30)

    We've all heard the saying, "Christianity isn't about religion; it's about relationship." I agree with that statement 100%. Before we discuss any other spiritual discipline, we have to consider our relationships with Christ. Unfortunately, many Christians are religious, but they don't have a relationship with Christ. They don't have a desire to "know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death" (Philippians 3:10). Our relationships with Jesus are essential to our spiritual growth. A relationship with Christ teaches us how to love ourselves as well as others. Your relationship, not religion, draws us closer to Christ. Relationship helps us obey, love, and honor Him. To nurture your relationship with Christ, spend quality time with Him, meditating on His word, seeking His heart, and loving Him.

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  • 2. Pride

    2. Pride

    Slide 2 of 10

    "But He gives a greater grace. Therefore, it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'" (James 4:6)

    Pride is another reason why some Christians struggle with spiritual disciplines. Perhaps they feel they're further along in their Christian walks than they are. Or maybe, they think they don't need spiritual disciplines. Pride will keep Christians from growing spiritually and needs to be removed from our lives. Don't let pride steal the beauty of spiritual disciplines from you.

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  • 3. Emotions/Feelings

    3. Emotions/Feelings

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    "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7)

    We are emotional beings. We experience doubt, insecurities, uncertainty, hopelessness, depression, and anxiety, among other emotions and feelings, daily. Unfortunately, we sometimes allow our feelings to dictate whether we study the Bible, pray, or fast on any particular day. We mustn't let how we feel dictate our obedience to Christ. We need to devote ourselves to spiritual disciplines regardless of how we feel.

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  • 4. Lack of Understanding

    4. Lack of Understanding

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    "So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians 5:17)

    Some people don't stick with spiritual disciplines simply because they don't understand the importance of things like prayer and fasting. When we don't understand the importance of a thing, we won't fully commit to it. Thus, believers need to understand the importance of prayer, fasting, church attendance, and fellowship with other believers. Each of these things strengthens Christians and draw them into intimate relationships with Christ.

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  • 5. Cares of the World

    5. Cares of the World

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    "But the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful." (Mark 4:19)

    Worldly care is the reason I often struggle with spiritual disciplines. Sometimes I get so busy with work, church, my husband, children, writing, and other endeavors that I don't have time to study the Bible, pray, or spend time with the Lord. At least that's what I tell myself. Being busy and unfocused is undoubtedly one of the devil's ploys to keep us from the spiritual disciplines we know we should be pursuing. Think about Him more. One of the best ways to overcome this particular struggle is to keep Jesus front and center in our lives. When He's the first person we think about when we awaken and the last person we think about before drifting off to sleep, we will be more prone to stick with spiritual disciplines.

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  • 6. Unconfessed Sin

    6. Unconfessed Sin

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    "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

    Unconfessed sin is another reason many people struggle persisting in spiritual disciplines. Sin makes us feel separated from God, making us feel we aren't worthy to come into His presence during prayer. Unconfessed sin is rooted in pride and will prevent us from enjoying the Lord's presence. To overcome this particular struggle, it's vital that Christians routinely check their hearts to determine whether they have any sin in their lives. 

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  • 7. Inconsistent Church Fellowship

    7. Inconsistent Church Fellowship

    Slide 7 of 10

    "Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:25)

    Christians should make being a part of their church community a priority. I've come across many people who believe consistent church attendance isn't necessary. They think they can praise and worship the Lord from home, in private. While I do believe Christians can and should praise and worship the Lord in the comfort of their own homes, consistent church involvement is essential too. Whether your gathering of believers looks like Sunday school, a Bible study, community groups or youth ministries, such gatherings edify Christians, helping us grow and mature in Christ.

    Further, when we attend church, we are strengthened and encouraged by fellow believers. However, Christians need to fellowship with believers who are strong in their faith and their relationships with Christ. Establishing relationships with the church gossips and those who haven't cast aside the works of darkness won't help you walk in spiritual discipline. Instead, they'll encourage you to drift further from Christ, and towards the things that don’t truly matter.

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  • 8. Lack of Accountability or Mentors

    8. Lack of Accountability or Mentors

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    "In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified." (Titus 2:7)

    As I mentioned above, fellowship with other Christians is essential for the Christian who wants to grow spiritually. I believe Christians need godly accountability partners and mentors. These are individuals who will help ensure we stay committed to spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, and Bible study. So, while fellowship is important, make sure you're regularly meeting with an accountability partner or mentor who cares about your spiritual walk and will encourage you in spiritual disciplines.

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  • 9. Impatience

    9. Impatience

    Slide 9 of 10

    "And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:4)

    In my roles as Bible teacher and elder in my local church, I've come across numerous people who want to go from never fasting to wanting to fast 40 days and 40 nights. Some of these same people want to go from not having a prayer life to wanting to pray all day. We can sometimes struggle with spiritual disciplines when we try to bite off more than we can chew. Discipline takes practice. Instead of trying to fast 40 days and 40 nights, I recommend fasting from breakfast. The following week, add lunch. The week after, add dinner. Within three weeks, you're now fasting from three meals. I recommend the same approach for prayer. Pray five minutes and then increase your prayer time by five minutes every few days. When you do it that way, you'll eventually pray for an hour without any problems.

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  • 10. Not Asking God’s Spirit for Help

    10. Not Asking God’s Spirit for Help

    Slide 10 of 10

    "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." (Romans 8:26)

    Spiritual disciplines are spiritual; they aren't carnal or fleshly. Attempting to do them in your flesh is a recipe for disaster. We need the Holy Spirit to help us pray, fast, attend church consistently, and study the Bible. Many people struggle with spiritual disciplines because they aren't asking the Holy Spirit for help. Instead of going it alone, tap into the Holy Spirit's power. He makes spiritual disciplines easier for us so we can stay committed to them.

    Spiritual disciplines are essential to Christian growth and maturity. The enemy of our souls understands this, and we must understand it as well. We mustn't neglect church, studying the Bible, or our relationships with Christ. We need to make spiritual disciplines a priority in our lives. To ensure you make them a priority, write them on your calendar and ask the Holy Spirit to help you walk in them. Your spiritual growth depends upon them.


    Aretha Grant serves her local church as a bible teacher and elder. She loves writing and is the author of Overcomer: 25 Keys to Walking VictoriouslyAretha resides in Hagerstown, MD with her husband and two youngest children. You can read Aretha’s blog at www.arethagrant.com.

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