Saved but Stuck
No believer wants to be in that category. Being stuck is just another term to describe a hardened heart.
A hardened heart develops when our thoughts are focused on any one thing more than we are on God. We have placed a higher regard on it, therefore, it governs our thought processes and our perceptions.
Our focus can be on a number of things and they become spiritual blinders that can turn into unwanted and prolonged enslavement (oppression). These blinders result from harrowing experiences or from the lies that we have swallowed as “truth.”
Last week I gave you a taste of some of my blinders that hardened my heart. They were the very deep and hidden wounds that hadn’t been overtly dealt with. They remained unrecognized, they rotted, and eventually caused inner turmoil until they imploded.
Admittedly, some of what oppresses us can be given a name (fear, unbelief, unforgiveness, insecurity, etc.). We may choose to ignore them or even justify them. Recognized or unrealized, we develop three responses to our internal blinders:
1. We become sensitive to them.
2. We work to destroy them.
3. We become stuck in them.
Let me use a papercut to illustrate. Papercuts on the hands and fingers are tiny, yet incredibly painful injuries. The skin on the hands and fingers is sensitive to the environment; therefore, the skin is extremely perceptive to pain.
A papercut also tends to catch us by surprise. We cover it with a bandage. We nurse the pain and give it careful attention because any further irritation or sensation—to or on it—compounds the pain. We need the use of our hand so, we are aware of the injury.
The same is true of offenses. We are hurt by them, even the slightest offense. We may cover them with a “superficial” bandage. Our focus on them diminishes but we revisit (or are sensitive to) the wound when similar offenses come our way. Unlike a papercut that heals on its own, we allow offenses to become part of the foundational stonework around our heart.
Working to Destroy
This is pure determination or self-effort. This is working to overcome any particular blinder. You pray about it, you cry about it, you tell yourself to get over it. You work harder, you condemn yourself for being a Christian with this particular issue. You even attempt to break its grip in the name of Jesus. However, that thing keeps you going around the proverbial mountain because it hasn’t been dealt with. Another hardening layer develops around your heart and you may question why your prayers and confessions aren’t producing fruit.
We Become Stuck
Any of our spiritual blinders are traps and can keep us bound. Think of an animal stuck in a trap. The animal frantically maneuvers, exerting much effort to free itself. It tires itself out, and the animal has no more strength and eventually dies.
Like that worn-out animal, we can give in to those traps and become stuck in the unforgiveness, we are shredded by the enemy’s lies. Those blinders can become part of who we are. We may not like it, we may absolutely be repulsed by it. However, the effects can be observed in our behavior, our speech, in our resistance and opposition to the things of God.
Friend, we have felt the pain, we endured the struggle, we’ve prayed that the thorn be removed. But now we have become desensitized because we haven’t experienced any freedom.
In a manner of speaking, that thing has become a stronghold. Father God, therefore, becomes a non-dominating entity in our lives.
The result: THE HEARING EARS AND THE SEEING EYES OF THE HEART HAVE BECOME DULLED AND WE ARE NOT FULLY TUNED IN TO HIS VOICE.
Read with me from the Passion Translation in Romans 8:6-7 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set controlled by the Spirit finds life and peace. In fact, the mind-set focused on the flesh fights God’s plan and refuses to submit to his direction, because it cannot!
My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh (Proverbs 4:20-21).
Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? (Mark 8:18).
Are we allowing anything to dull our hearing? Do we see desensitizing trends?
What we think, believe or have experienced (our perceptions) will either negatively or positively manifest in our responses to circumstances, people, etc. Proverbs 23:7 reminds us that the way we think is who we are! If we give place to what has blinded our hearts, our faith is affected, our hope can be abated, doubts may surface and linger. All this I know too well.
Saved but stuck. Oppressive blinders are damaging distractions that make us desensitized to His voice.
I know this was a heavy dose, but I want you to be free and experience the insurmountable, irrefutable, inescapable love of our wonderful Father as I did. There is so much more that could be covered regarding a hardened heart. Suffice it to say, Father God does not want His children stuck.
We will continue to discuss more on the heart so that we can move from distractions and desensitization, towards a progressive and lasting freedom.
The grace of our loving Father is constantly drawing us: If today you hear His voice….