Don’t Be So Dull!

By: James Flynn
Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Perhaps you have the same struggle as me.  I am not in imminent danger of tossing away my salvation to adopt a life of wonton sin and pleasure.  I have been married for 32 years and plan on staying that way.  I have been “doing the ministry thing” for just about three decades now, so I am not plotting to reject my calling any time soon.  I haven’t kicked the dog lately or called anyone bad names.  So what do I struggle with?  Dullness of heart.  Not flaming hardness, just insidious dullness. That is my weekly struggle, and whatever else you struggle with, you probably have that one on your list. Just like an automobile, our spiritual life does not maintain itself, and requires regular maintenance to keep it running in tip-top shape.  I determined a long time ago I was not interested in a spiritual life that runs like an old clunker – life is too short for that, and eternity too long.  My priority each day is to chase away a dull spirit so I can live each day to its fullest.   

The Scriptures record God’s ongoing frustration with people “. . . Who have eyes but do not see, Who have ear, but do not hear” (Jer. 5:21). It’s one thing to have a set of eyes and a pair of ears, but it’s another thing to use them. Human beings are notoriously effective at hearing what we want to hear. Our spiritual eyes and ears can become dull (Isa. 6:10) and that is a dangerous place to be. We listen and see selectively on our own terms, often when it is convenient and expected. Spiritual blindness and dullness of hearing can occur when we drift away from proper relationship with God…

Many times the drift involves issues of lordship. In the Western world, since the Renaissance and the introduction of its humanistic thought processes, we have been trained to think that life and the world revolve around us. We have been sold on the fact that I am at the center of my universe, I make decisions for my life, and I sit on my throne as the captain of my life. Such self-centered thinking is reminiscent of the boasting of the rich man in Luke 12:16-21. Self-centeredness wars against intimacy with God, because in self-absorption, there is no room left for Him. Death is the great equalizer and ultimately exposes who is in control. We do not own our bodies, we do not control how long we live, and we ultimately realize how many things in life are out of our control.

When we usurp God’s place and try to sit on the throne, we are acting like Lucifer himself (Isa. 14:12-17). Taking God’s place on the throne of our lives produces a terrible dulling effect in our hearts that can quickly act as a barrier to conception of the word. When dullness sets in, we can no longer see with 20/20 vision, because our vision is blocked by someone in our field of view—and that someone is me. Spiritually, we can no longer hear, either. We become dull of hearing, because our ears are stopped up with our own words and thoughts—there is not enough room for God’s words or thoughts.

It’s not usually the big things that trip us up, but a bunch of little things that pile up.  Back to the car – people that properly maintain their vehicles have far fewer breakdowns.  People that take care of their bodies have fewer physical breakdowns.  And, people who take care of their spirits have fewer spiritual breakdowns.  Feeling dull?  Time for some regularly scheduled maintenance.  Remember, this a “pay me now of pay me later” thing. Take the time now to address the dullness by reconnecting with God.  Do this, and I promise—you won’t be such a “dull person!”

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James Flynn
This entry was posted by on Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 at 5:00 am and is filed under Faith & Culture, Holistic Formation, Renewal Studies, Spiritual Formation, Theology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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