In our last post we said that insensitivity is the greatest reason why some people do not experience more of the presence of God. Insensitivity hinders receptivity and limits people from enjoying the Lord more. Hearts can grow callous and hard, and over a process of time, that hardness leads to insensitivity.
The devil is wicked and begins working in hearts at a very young age. For example, my wife Carolyn was abused as a little child. She was just five years old when her father left her mother – leaving Mom to work constantly in order to provide for her four children, with Carolyn being the youngest. Left to herself with two older wild hippie sisters leading her, Carolyn was now left uncovered giving the enemy ample opportunity to sow evil seeds into her heart and life. Over time her heart became hardened. It wasn’t until she was born again that her stony heart was removed and replaced with a new soft heart of flesh (Ez. 36:25-27).
But over time even as believers our hearts can grow hard and insensitive through pride, offenses, and painful experiences. Familiarity also has a way of desensitizing our hearts. It’s the reason we can sometimes treat outsiders and casual acquaintances better, and appreciate them more, than we do our own family members. It’s the reason Jesus was not received in His own home town as well as He was in many other places (Mk. 6:1-6).
There was a period in my own life when I had become hardened in my heart, but with me, as I shared in my last post, the culprit was religion and professional ministry. It is easy to lust after ministry and in the process lose your sensitivity to people. It is the worse kind of hypocrisy. During one long season of prayer and fasting the Spirit of God dealt strongly with me about my life and ministry. In essence, it was my wake up call, which saved my works in the Lord, and more importantly, transformed my heart. I had a mountain top experience that lasted a few weeks where I heard God’s voice speak many things to me. I recorded them all in a journal and actually published it years later (The Journal Of My Journal).
One of the things He said to me that was not included in this journal book was the following word:
“Give birth to tenderness. Give birth to weeping. Give birth to the compassion of Jesus. Go into the Holy of Holies. Stand in the place where the Son of Man has gone, and feel and be touched with the infirmities of man. Go in there, hard man, and be turned to tenderness. Give place to the things of My Spirit that you’ve been denied. Time and time again you’ve come, but you’ve never gone far enough. Worship Me now and love will transform you.”
This word came to me when I was reading and meditating on Jesus’ struggle in the garden of Gethsemane.
“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Mt. 26:39).
When my eyes landed upon the underlined portion of this verse, “He went a little farther”, the Holy Spirit quickened it to me, and made me to see that I hadn’t gone far enough in my worship and surrender to the Lord. I had not stayed in His presence long enough for the deeper transformation to take root in my hardened heart. Whereas before it was law and duty pushing me deeper and farther, now it was the love and kindness of the Father calling me.
It is love that nourishes us as a tree’s roots nourish the tree. You can only be blessed as you know the Father’s love. It’s so much easier to be sensitive when you are touched and filled with His love. A lack of receiving the Father’s love is the reason that hurting people hurt people. It is the reason for insensitivity and a general hardness of heart.
God’s love is first a fatherly love. Receiving His love is the first step toward growing into maturity in Christ. It doesn’t matter how hurt and hardened you’ve been; it’s never God’s fault. Allow the Father’s love to seep into your heart today and heal your wounds, hurts, and disappointments. Allow Him to deal with you and speak to you as a Father would to his own beloved children, through His Word and by His Spirit. Let Him break up that hardness and restore your hope today.
As the father waited for the prodigal son (Lk. 15:20) and saw him a great way off, so He sees you even when you’re far from Him, and He waits for you to come home to the embrace of His love. After the father saw his son afar off, he ran, fell on his neck, and kissed him. How can anyone resist this amazing fatherly love and affections of His heart?