My Dull Heart – A Corporate Problem
Do you like a good mystery? Do you enjoy watching a well-directed suspense/thriller at the movie theater? Did you know that it can sometimes be even more enjoyable to watch a good mystery or thriller for the second time with someone who is seeing it for the first time! Of course the reason it can be so much fun is simple; you already know who did it! You already know what happens when they open up that closet door!
It’s fun to have special knowledge isn’t it? Especially when it’s knowledge that offers you an advantage. But there are times when you might find your knowledge to be a source of sorrow. For example: Do you remember the show “$ 100,000 Pyramid?” The contestant is on the last square, the top one. You, as a member of the audience can see the answer. It’s so simple, why do they not get the answer! The clues all seem so perfect! Time is running out…Oh too bad you lose!
I recently had the opportunity to see several people standing next to a sign with a very graphic picture on it. This picture was an enlarged photograph of an aborted baby girl. But these people, the ones standing next to the picture, were not Pro-Life. They were actually carrying signs touting their belief that American women should have the right to murder their unborn babies if they so desired. I could not believe they could stand next to the picture of that aborted child and actually remain steadfast in their belief! I kept asking myself how could they be so blind? How can their hearts be so dull to the horror depicted on the sign being held less than 20 feet from them?
But there was another thought I also couldn’t get rid of. I kept wondering: If my sin was depicted on a sign right next to me would I be willing to carry my own sign touting the idea that I think this particular sin is OK? Experience tells me I often do.
That’s because my heart tends to be dull to my own sin. I go limping between two positions. I want to serve God, the one whom I say I love, while at the same time I want to serve my own self-interests. This paralyzes me to some extent and I end up not fulfilling either desire.
But my personal affliction has corporate effects. If my heart is dull, then as far as I affect the church, the heart of the Church is dull! In 1 Kings 18 Elijah challenges the people by saying: “If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. Silence was their response! And the people did not answer him a word.”
What the people needed was a personal change in their own hearts! The question is: How can we affect a change of the heart? This was Elijah’s prayer: “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”
We must understand that God is the initiator of repentance. He is the initiator of change. We need to know that He moves in the people for His glory. All of this is true for the people in the Church as well as those outside the Church. It is true both personally and corporately. The first thing Elijah asks for is that the people would know God. He then asks for the people to know God’s servant. Finally, he asks for God to give them the knowledge that He has turned their hearts from idolatry to worship!
What a great example, an example, which the Church would be wise to follow. We should start with prayer. Praying for God to be known in the hearts of people. Praying that people would know the servants of God (those who faithfully preach the word). Praying that those servants would preach with eyes that have been opened to the invasiveness of sin and the need for repentance. Then praying for God to turn the hearts of people, both in and outside of the church, back from serving sin to true worship.
The best part about praying for God to be glorified is the fact that we already know the outcome! God has revealed to us that He will be victorious. This does not remove our responsibility but it does give us the freedom to be bold with our prayers and our preaching!
The Church has been given the best story, the story of God taking on flesh and dwelling among us. Knowing this story seems to make our hearts dull. But it shouldn’t! Instead, it should spur us on so that we are able to be witnesses to God’s work of redemption.
Where I am blind to my own sin my prayer is that God would open my eyes. Where my heart is dull I pray that God would enliven me. May God also do the same for those of you who are blind or dull of heart.