“Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.” (Heb 6:12)
Last night we did a Bible talk on walking by the Spirit and not by the sinful nature. As we discussed what this meant, I thought about how hard it is to really, honestly walk by the Spirit. I do it in some ways, but not in others. Am I honest about what I need to do differently? Or do I allow myself to procrastinate, be spiritually dull?
What does it mean to walk by the Spirit? What does it mean to truly follow Christ? I read a passage from “Follow Me” by David Platt this morning. He said that the true abundant all surpassing experience of being a Christian is only possible when you die to self. “In Jesus, these men found someone worth losing everything for. In Christ they encountered a love that surpassed comprehension…and a purpose that transcended every other possible pursuit in this world.”
Platt shared about a girl who thought she was a “Christian” from the time she was five, but then described her true conversion. “For the first time.” she said, “I understood that the point of the cross was to justify the wrath of God that should have been directed toward me. I fell on my knees in fear and trembling and adoration and tears and confessed my need for Jesus more than I needed anything else in the world.”
Platt also shared an awesome selection by Oswald Chambers that said if we follow Christ, we must have an unrestrained adventurous spirit in us. “If a person is ever going to do anything worthwhile, there will be times when he must risk everything by his leap in the dark. In the spiritual realm, Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold on to or believe through common sense,and leap by faith into what He says. Once you obey, you will immediately find that what He says is as solidly consistent as common sense.”
“They say to the people, ‘Is it not a good time to build houses? This city is like an iron pot. We are safe inside it like meat in a pot.’ Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:… I will soon drag you from this pot. I will bring on you the sword of war you so greatly fear.” Ez 11:3, 7,8
In this passage in Ezekiel I see how people always want to think they are good with God, when in fact they are not. The consequences of spiritual dullness are real, and dire.
Horror movies remind me of the consequences of spiritual dullness. We go along thinking we are okay, but doom and destruction are lurking, waiting to take us down. It’s like watching the scene with the actress who has her back to the camera as the villian creeps up with a knife behind her. “Turn around! Look out,” we want to say. But she is happily going on about her life, unaware of the peril.
“And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart.” Ez 11:19
God wants us to have a tender responsive heart. What are the consequences of being spiritually dull? It leads to a hard heart. I know I should do something differently, but I don’t do it. The longer I don’t do it, the harder my heart becomes. But God provided a way for us to have a new heart that is tender and responsive, and that way is through Christ.
“No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins. But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.” (Luke 5:36-39)
This passage also stresses that we need a new heart to truly follow God. If we continue to follow Him but don’t completely give up our sinful nature and old life, we will still be walking by this nature, and just like the example of the girl who wasn’t truly converted, we will find that our faith doesn’t work. She had to be transformed in her heart by understanding the cross and completely changing her life because of this understanding. We also have to be completely transformed, and follow Jesus completely.
And our transformation has to start at the foot of the cross. Do I want to completely walk by the Spirit? Then I need to remember the cross. I need to be broken every day, softened in heart, or I will not follow completely every day. Instead I will be spiritual mush, dull and halfhearted.
What are the symptoms of my spiritual dullness? What actions can I take that will reflect a more tender responsive heart? How can I walk by the Spirit more, follow Christ more?
I can share more every day. I can reach out to my neighbors more. I can have more uncomfortable but beneficial talks with people. I can make sure that I am fully engaged in each personal interaction. Not procrastinating on these things is my biggest daily battle. The only way I know to combat it is to seek to be broken every day.