Spiritual Numbness

dentist by Irina Gheorghita

I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot…

Revelation 3:15

If you have been to the dentist office in order to get a filling, you know what it feels like to have a numb mouth. It would be nice if when upon leaving the dentist chair the numbing experience would instantly vanish, but sad to say that usually is not the case. What usually happen is, I start drooling down my shirt like a teething two-year-old. I also find the ride home to be a little awkward as I’m constantly stretching my mouth, sticking out my tongue, and touching my face to see if I have regained my sense of feeling. Perhaps it isn’t as awkward for me as it is for the guy next to me at the stoplight watching me go through my post-dental routine.

I particularly like the obligatory remark by the dental assistant when she says, “Just eat soft food for the next two hours.” Soft food? I am grateful that I don’t chew my tongue off! I don’t care for that awkward numbness that comes with local anesthetic. Perhaps you are feeling a little uncomfortable as I write about the dental experience. Novocain, and facial numbness–I get it, but most of us have experienced it and if you haven’t more than likely you will.

SPIRITUAL NUMBNESS—There is another type of numbness we might also experience. I call it spiritual numbness. Spiritual numbness is when a believer is at a point in their life where they stopped moving ahead spiritually. Spiritual numbness is when you stop hearing God, stop hearing from God, stop being open to God, and stop being honest with God. Where there is spiritual numbness, there is spiritual blockage. Somehow, God is not getting through and there seems to be an embargo set against the Holy Spirit and He cannot get through to you. Spiritual numbness means there is something that is blocking you from sensing God’s presence… you are just not feeling God.

Now, I want to be really careful about using the term “feeling God.” Modern man lives life way too much in the feeling zone. But what are the signs we have lost that desire to feel close to God? Are there things we can observe to prove we have become distant, apathetic, and indifferent toward our relationship with God?

THE SIGNS THAT YOU MAY BE SPIRITUALLY NUMB—Just like getting a shot of Novocain and not being able to do things you normally would do with your mouth, there are signs that may prove that you are going numb spiritually. Call it being distant, apathetic, indifferent, disinterested, it is all the same—it’s spiritual Novocain. Your relationship with the Father has been disabled, and it is affecting you personally and probably the people closest to you. Here, are THREE SIGNS that you might have spiritual numbness. They are not all inclusive, I am sure there are probably more,  but these three seem to be good indicators that you are already numb or you are heading there.

FIRST, DAILY SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES—You might be thinking, here we go again, another lecture/sermon on “reading your Bible, church attendance, and prayer.” Yes, well, something like that. But ask yourself what has slowed down or fallen off in your life that has brought you to a place of spiritual numbness. Has fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ fallen off? Spending time with the body of Christ at the local church is an imperative for a healthy spiritual life. Have you stopped listening to Christian radio, Christian music? Have you stopped reading books that are grounded in the Scriptures? All these things are important for a healthy spiritual life.

SECOND, LARGE CONSUMPTION OF THE WORLD—I know when I buy a dozen donuts from my favorite bakery, bad things are going to happen to me physically. It doesn’t take a nutritionist to tell me what will happen next. And I can tell you from experience, that when the things of this world creep into my life and start replacing the things God has placed there for my spiritual sensitivity, bad things are always the outcome.

So, the question is, what have you allowed to creep into your life from the world that is causing you to go spiritually numb? These things may seem innocent, harmless, somewhat spiritually neutral. Yet, if they start to replace the things God has placed in your life for your spiritual health, they should be considered bad things and should be avoided.

We also need to look closely at our relationships. Who are we are spending time with may be a good indicator of our spiritual numbness. If they are people who distract us from our close walk with the Lord? Unfortunately, I have known many Christians who have not intended to allow someone new in their life to become a wedge between them and the Lord, but in fact that is exactly what happened.

THIRD, THE LACK OF DEALING WITH PERSONAL SIN—We know that all of us are sinners and we are saved by the grace of God. But saying that doesn’t mean we are necessarily dealing with sin the right way. Sometimes spiritual numbness comes when we stop dealing with our sin as the Holy Spirit convicts us of it. It has been my experience that not dealing with sin turns into a habit of sin and when that happens, I lose my spiritual sensitivity. We become spiritually callus feeling neither remorse or a sense of repentance.

TIME TO CLOSE THE GAP—As we consider the cause of spiritual numbness there are some Scriptures we need to keep in mind, that might help in jumpstarting your spiritual sensitivity.

  1. Daily Spiritual Disciplines—1Corinthians 9:24-27
  2. Large Consumption Of The World—John 15:19; 17:14-16
  3. The Lack Of Dealing With Personal Sin—2Peter 1:2-5; 1John 1:9-10

This is Pastor Pat FROM BEHIND THE PEN wishing you Joy in Jesus!