Over the years I have noted that:
I can pick up a book to read – my goal is a book a week – and it just does not speak to me and can even be very boring for me so I shoe it back on the shelve and choose a different one
I can listen to or read a teaching from some of my favourite preachers and it is dead and boring so I turn it off to put it down and do something else
People forward U Tube videos to me that spoke to them, ministered to them and touched their heart – and I simply don’t connect with them; they don’t speak to me
People forward songs – same reaction with an occasional exception – Shirley forwarded one last week which was powerful … burr put it down t seldom do they speak to me
I guard my time very carefully and don’t want to waste it and so I read, watch, and listen selectively as I want to hear God as I believe He always has a lot to say
And what God is saying is always very important to me so I don’t want to waste my time on other people’s opinions
I can pick the same book back up 2 years later and it is an amazing and captivating read
- Amazing insights
- Touches my heart
- Informs my brain
- An experience
I can listen to or read the same teaching a few months later
- Powerful revelation
I can watch the U Tube video some time later and it too has changed – it is amazing
Touches my emotions and brings healing to my soul
The difference is more than timing
The difference is more than where I’m at specifically at that time
The difference is more than the specific needs in my life at a specific point in time
Although all of those, I am sure, effect what speaks to me and what does not
I believe the real issue is that I am simply “dull of hearing”
“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.” (Hebrews 5:11 ESV)
God always has much to say – The truth may be simple but it is hard to explain because …
A friend of mine wrote this week:
I’ve always been mystified when I’ve read a book that electrified me only to learn that others who read the same book came away with a completely different experience.
They would have gotten just as much out of it if they read it upside down.
The same with spoken messages.
I’ve heard messages where light fell from heaven. Time stood still. People were stirred up, ready to charge hell with all guns blazing. Minds were blown. Lives were set on fire.
Others who sat in the same room, hearing the same message, saw nothing.
As an author and speaker, this happens with every book I write and every message I deliver.
I recall delivering a message in a conference and one young man reported that he sat frozen in stunned awe, never once reaching for his smart phone. His life was ruined (for the Lord).
Another person who heard the same message saw nothing and concluded that I needed a brain transplant.
What the Facebook?
Recently, I was listening to a precious brother in Christ give a testimony about when he first read a book written by an author from England about Christ living His life in and through us. (The author passed on to be with the Lord many years ago.)
This brother admitted, “I graduated from seminary a year before. I read the whole book. I understood it mentally, but I saw nothing.”
No light penetrated his heart.
Later, this same brother heard the author from England speak in a conference on Christ in us.
Suddenly, light dawned.
This brother saw, and it changed his life.
He then re-read the man’s book and his experience was completely different. On the first read, the book was dead to him. On the second read, it contained thunder and lightning.
How can all of this be explained?
I related to his comments … as I have similar experiences and others have spoken to me about their experiences along the same line.
John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
When we read a book about the faith and spiritual issues – it should speak to us … His Word s are “spirit and life”
When we listen to or watch a teaching it should speak to us … His Words are “spirit and life”
When we hear a song that is spiritual in nature it should touch our hearts … His Words are “spirit and life”
Attending a gathering (church) – worship and teaching – we should experience life-change and receive fresh revelation (manna) from the heart of God … “spirit and life”
I believe the root issue is that I am dull of hearing and so “Sometimes My Heart Is Wrong”
And because “Sometimes My Heart Is Wrong” — Sometimes I don’t hear God veery well!
It is not that the book is poorly written – although some are
It is not that the song or chorus is useless and not anointed
It is not that the presentation or teaching was not well done
It is not that it is an eBook and not a real book
I believe the root issue is that I am dull of hearing and so “Sometimes I Don’t Hear God Very Well”
The Bible states:
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV
“For God, who said, ‘Let brilliant light shine out of darkness,’ is the one who has cascaded his light into us—the brilliant dawning light of the glorious knowledge of God as we gaze into the face of Jesus Christ.” (TPT)
I’ve come to the belief that when a person doesn’t grasp spiritual things and misses the life in the experience or event or words — it’s not a problem of the intellect (head – mind)
It’s a problem of the heart.
“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.” (Hebrews 5:11 ESV)
Jesus was speaking to his disciples about the false teachings of the Pharisees — the leaven of the Pharisees — and His disciples did not understand
They were not grasping the “spirit and life” in His WordsThe meaning of what He was communicating
Jesus said to them:
“Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?” (Mark 8:17 NIV)
In regular daily life, a person’s mental acuity determines whether she/he understands a concept or not.
Our schools are teaching information and their target is your mind
You are listening with your head – you are needing to understand and grasp the truth with your mind
Not so with the things of the Spirit.
When it comes to spiritual things — God things — the intellect can be a royal stumbling block.
Just read 1 Corinthians chapters 1 and 2 if you want a source — a discussion of the spirit and the mind, the natural and the spiritual, Godly wisdom and worldly wisdom
In the things of God, it’s the state of the heart that counts for everything.
The New Testament says a great deal about the heart … including the many things that can lead to the dullness we experience at times
Here are some examples:
The heart can become calloused
Matthew 13:15 NIV “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.”
The heart can be stubborn
Mark 3:5 NIV “He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.”
The heart can be hardened
Mark 6:52 NIV “for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.”
Ephesians 4:18 NIV “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to thehardening of their hearts.”
The heart can be far from God
Mark 7:6 NIV “He replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’”
Your choice – If you feel far from God, guess who moved!
The heart can believe or doubt
Mark 11:23 NIV “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain (situation, circumstance, issue), ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.”
Romans 10:9-10 NIV “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.’”
God’s word can be taken away from the heart
Luke 8:12 NIV “Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.”
The heart can burn while hearing Jesus
Luke 24:32 “They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
The heart can be cut with conviction
Acts 2:37 “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
The heart can be right or not right with God
Acts 8:21 “You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.”
The heart can remain true to the Lord
Acts 11:23 “When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.”
The Lord can open the heart to truth
Acts 16:14 “One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.”
The heart can be foolish and darkened
Romans 1:21 “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
The heart can be unrepentant
Romans 2:5 “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.”
God’s love can be poured into the heart
Romans 5:5 “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
The heart can obey God
Romans 6:17 “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.”
The Holy Spirit can enter the heart
2 Corinthians 1:22 “(Good has) set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
Galatians 4:6 “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
The heart can be veiled to spiritual things
2 Corinthians 3:15 “Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.”
The heart can be opened
2 Corinthians 6:11, 13 “We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you … As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children —open wide your hearts also.”
The eyes of the heart can be enlightened
Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people”
The heart can be sincere
Ephesians 6:5 “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ
Colossians 3:22 “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.
Hebrews 10:22 “…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
God can test our hearts
1 Thessalonians 2:4 “On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”
God can strengthen the heart
1 Thessalonians 3:13 “May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.”
The heart can be purified
Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
Acts 15:9 “He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.”
1 Timothy 1:5 “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith
James 4:8 “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
The heart can be sinful, unbelieving, and turn away from God
Hebrews 3:12 “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.”
The heart can suffer a guilty conscience
Hebrews 10:22 “… let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
The heart can harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition
James 3:14 “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.”
The heart can revere Christ
1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”
Those are some really important truths about the heart and how it works … I think we need to take some time to considered them seriously
Now where was I?
What were we initially talking about?
Oh yea, dullness of hearing.
A person who has a hungry heart for the Lord — and a conscience that’s been purified by confession and the blood of Christ — will understand more about the things of the Spirit than the greatest theologian who is confident in his/her knowledge of God and the Bible.
Over the years, I’ve known people who had extremely high IQs. Some even studied and taught the Bible for a living.
But in terms of their grasp of spiritual things, they were babes.
They would hear the most sublime and richest unveilings of Christ — glorious things that stopped people cold. But nothing registered within them.
There was no pulse — No spiritual life
When I am preaching and teaching …
I am talking about spiritual truths that can be — should be — life changing
They’d nod their heads in agreement.
But later, you realize that they didn’t “get” it.
Nothing sunk in.
“For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.” Mark 6:52, NKJV
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Luke 8:15, NIV
Two options – Two responses or lack of response – Two different results
Not a head thing – It is a heart issue
When we deal with “issues of the heart” then we will hear with our spiritual heart ears and no longer be “dull of hearing”
Here’s my exhortation (call to action)…
If your conscience is not clear, confess and apply faith in the shed blood of Christ so there’s no cloud in your communion with God.
Then ask the Lord for an open, sincere, humble heart that’s ready to receive and respond to God’s light whenever you read an article, a blog post, a book, or hear a message.
If you are harbouring anything contrary to God’s will in your heart, deal with it before Him.
I believe if you do this, you will eventually see and hear things you’ve never seen or heard before … even in the pages of a book you once read or in a message you once heard.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
God’s word is active and alive.
John 6:63 “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.”
But it takes a certain kind of heart to see the light and touch the life.
The heart is a major focus and it is where the real issue lies
We think HEAD
All this INFORMS
We should think HEART
All this INSPIRES