Is it me or do you find many Christians spiritually dull these days? Again and again, I leave churches of all kinds and wonder to myself, "How can so many people listen to the mystery of the gospel preached with no seeming interest, or at least very little interest?" It is not that I look for tears, or warm facial response, but at least someone should appear moved in some way. The singing is often listless, the listening seems ho-hum, and the evidence of real spiritual hunger expressed in words following the service seem so rare. I often leave saying to myself, "What can change this dull response?" The answer lies in God’s Spirit alone. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit."

Francois Fenelon said it well: "It is easy to mistake intellectual curiosity for spiritual hunger." The late A. W. Tozer once said, "We are as filled as we want to be." I beleive that is true. And the fact is few of us truly long to be filled. Tozer also said, "If there is anything in your life more demanding than your longing after God, then you will never be a Spirit-filled Christian."

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  1. Craig W. Booth April 11, 2005 at 9:56 pm

    John, congratulations on your new web site and your new blog. Blogging is, in a word, gutsy. Best of success with that initiative.
    Why are people today so spiritually dulled, their fine edge worn smooth? I believe the answer is in your blog, “Tozer also said, ‘If there is anything in your life more demanding than your longing after God, then you will never be a Spirit-filled Christian.’ “
    Today, Christians have learned to value emotion, or rather the taste of emotion, more than any other person, thing, or feeling. They have been taught it is good and right to pursue pleasure and get all they can from the feelings of life. In doing so, they have advanced the cause of pleasure over the cause of Christ.
    Love, the real thing, is not a chase for pleasure or emotional satisfaction. It is a chase to cause others to be pleased and satisfied. Today we sing, but we sing to see what pleasure we can get out of it. We used to sing to try and please God. We attend church to see what chills a new thought might send down our spines given that we love the new and the mysterious, instead of attending church to see what old Scriptures we could put into practice and thus implant the love of God into someone else’s heart.
    We have become dulled by our self-focused lust for pleasure instead of sharpened by our selfless love for God. No one is ever so much alive as when all their energy is fully directed at caring for and pleasing someone else. That is what I fear has caused us to become dulled and blunted.
    Only when I truly begin to love God with all my heart, my mind, and my bodily strength will I stop squandering my heart, mind, and strength on my own pleasures, and I will learn to love Him more than I love myself. When our pursuit of pleasure becomes more demanding than our love for God, we will become blunted instruments.
    Surely this is the lesson of Solomon–pursuing pleasure is nothing but chasing the wind.
    Your Brother in the Lord,

  2. Steve Bricker April 20, 2005 at 12:27 pm

    One thing that has recently impressed me is the lack of understanding of who God really is. Alfred P. Gibbs in his book Worship: the Christian’s Highest Occupation relates that it’s only as we learn of and understand him that we can truly worship. We can’t correctly worship (or even get excited about) what we don’t know.
    This begs the question, “Who’s to blame?” That depends on each situation. Possibly the local teachers are talking from the pulpits without saying anything. Maybe the listener is harboring something that does not allow the free working of the scriptures in the heart. Maybe both are true, perhaps something else altogether.
    In the Master’s service,
    Steve Bricker

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