Last summer I bought a couple of rings in Poland. They contain amber stones set in a silver band. I recently noticed that a black coating is beginning to dull the bands’ metallic sheen. It’s not obvious to others yet – it’s hidden where the stones meet the bands – but it’ll spread and destroy the rings’ beauty unless I take action.
The word dull also describes one of my kitchen knives. It’s lost its cutting edge. It still occupies a cupboard drawer but it’s useless for slicing tomatoes or a loaf of warm bread.
This morning the word dull came to me in another context. Luke 21:34 says, “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life.” I read Jesus’ warning and realized it warranted a second glance. What does a dull heart look like? Here are a few thoughts:
- It lacks sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s nudges.
- It lacks compassion and tenderness for the needy.
- It lacks passion for Christ.
- It lacks a hunger for God’s Word.
- It lacks the ability to discern right from wrong.
- It lacks the ability to say no to temptation.
According to this verse, what causes a heart to become dull?
- Drunkenness and carousing – careless living, feeding our fleshly desires.
- The worries of this life.
I don’t fall into the first category of drunkenness and carousing. But I have to pay attention to Jesus’ warning as it applies to the second category. Unless I stand guard, the worries of this life could easily dull my heart and render me ineffective. Fear of the unknown or of my inadequacies, over-blown concerns about money, anxiety about the what-ifs (that probably won’t happen anyway) tell me I have to work harder and push more aggressively to ensure that my needs are supplied and my goals are being reached. They dupe me into believing that the temporal matters more than the eternal – what I see and touch deserves my energy and time more than what I cannot see.
Listening to the worries of this life will make my heart dull towards spiritual things and render me ineffective. Jesus warns me to stand guard and ensure this doesn’t happen. And if it does, I need to take immediate action – get on my knees, confess my distraction, give my worries to God, and focus my mind on His character and promises. Only then will my heart regain its original beauty or its effectiveness.
What are your thoughts regarding a dull heart? Can you add other characteristics? And what suggestions can you offer to ensure our hearts do not become dull?