When I read your words “spiritual numbness” I immediately thought of Paul’s exhortation to the saints in Ephesus in 4:17-19, “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being PAST FEELING, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (NKJV). It is very humbling to realize that after one is saved there is still the possibility to “walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk”; that is, to walk as ungodly unbelievers who are spiritually blind, spiritually dead, and thus “spiritually numb” (i.e. past feeling). Believers still have the fallen, corrupt, and sinful nature that we were born with and unless we are continuing to feed the New Nature that we were given when we were “born again,” the old nature will rear its ugly head resulting in a sinful lifestyle. When this occurs we really can become “spiritually numb” or “past feeling,” which means we become “desensitized to sin.” This means our conscience will no longer accuse us (see Romans 2:15) and make us feel ashamed of what we are doing.

What causes spiritual numbness? I would like us to consider Proverbs 24:30-34 where we are taught, by way of a simple illustration, that spiritual numbness comes on us “slowly but surely.” Let’s read that interesting passage: “I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; and there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: A LITTLE SLEEP, a LITTLE SLUMBER, a LITTLE FOLDING OF THE HANDS TO REST; so shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.” Did you ever see a sight like this? I have; in fact I’ve visited neighborhoods where most homes are well-maintained (fresh paint, good shingles, well-kept yard, etc.) and then right between two homes I see a house that has fallen into disarray (with broken windows, a leaky roof, unkempt shrubs, long grass, etc.). In most cases someone is still living there and in all likelihood he/she has become LAZY and had NEGLECTED to maintain their property.

The lesson is plain, is it not? Our “spiritual life” is like the vineyard in our passage. If we become “spiritually lazy” our life will be overcome with the “thorns” and “thistles” of sin. The “spiritual WALL” (a picture of God’s Word protecting us from succumbing to temptation and sin) will break down, resulting in the enemy of our soul (Satan) coming in to turn our spiritual life into shambles. We then revert back to our “former life” before we were saved, a life of “spiritual poverty.” I mentioned that this state comes on us “slowly but surely,” for it doesn’t happen overnight. It happens “little by little,” as we NEGLECT God’s Word, prayer, fellowship with other believers, and witnessing for Christ. Before we know it, we have fallen into a “spiritual slumber” and are “walking as the rest of the Gentiles (unbelievers) walk,” where we “spiritually numb” (desensitized to sin all around us and to the sin in us as well).

The only remedy for this condition is seen in Ephesians 5:14-16, “Therefore He says: ‘AWAKE, you who sleep, ARISE from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’ See then that you WALK CIRCUMSPECTLY, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” We need to WAKE UP! We need to ARISE from the dead; that is, quit walking as those who are truly spiritually dead. In short, we need to own our lazy, spiritual condition and determine in our hearts that we will walk carefully and wisely in this world and use the time that we have for honoring our Savior and being a blessing to others. If we truly want to WAKE UP, we can be assured that “Christ will give you light”; that is, He will lead you on by His Word and cause you to be a light in this world of spiritual darkness. (294.3) (DO)