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A Subtle Dullness

November 15, 2011

I love this verse and think of it often:   “Iron sharpens iron.  So one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).”  I thank God for the people He puts in my path to sharpen me.  Because I need it.  Because without realizing it, I can lapse little by little into a subtle dullness.

I’ve been thinking about that this week.  I watched an interview of a young Christian in ministry who gave sharp answers to questions—answers that showed he clearly wasn’t concerned with pleasing people.  Only God.  Around the same time, I saw an online article in a Christian publication that hit a hot-button issue dead-on from a biblical perspective.  Awesome, I thought.  Then just as quickly I wondered, Would I have addressed that?

Certainly we’re not all called to address the same issues in the same manner.  But I wondered whether I had grown dull with respect to those things I am to address.

Last week, I talked about being called to write fiction.  But fiction is just one aspect of my ministry.  It’s a certain type of communication.  And I have editors who shape and direct that communication to fit a certain audience.  When I spoke with Women of Faith, that message too was shaped to fit a certain audience.  I understand the need to be edited in those areas, but I wonder…  Have I started editing myself in other areas as well?  Have I begun to focus on people and what they will say rather than on God and what He wants me to say?

More than a decade ago, the Lord gave me my mission in Jeremiah 1:10: “to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”  I knew God was calling me to uproot those mindsets and perspectives that become ingrained in people and in place of that, to plant the truth of His Word.

But that mission can deal with hard truths.  And you can’t pluck up and break down if you’ve grown dull.  So I’m pressing in extra hard with the sharpest instrument known to man—the Word of God.  And I’m praying to not only keep Jeremiah 1:10 in view, but Galatians 1:10 as well:

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?  Or am I striving to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.  

Do you “edit” yourself, focusing on what people will do or say rather than on what God would have you do or say?  Do you stay sharp with respect to what God has called you to, or do you sense a subtle dullness creeping in at times?

 

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17 Comments

  • Reply Kara November 16, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I would have to say that there are times when I am really sharp but there are times also when I do become dull. I hate to say that because it shows me that there is some inconsistency in my walk. Yes, I get concerned with what people will say or do, and that sometimes overpowers what God’s Word says. It’s kind of like peer pressure…yes, at age 34, I am still experiencing that. I know that I am called to be a “peculiar person.” However, there is that temptation to blend in. Even when problems come I sometimes am tempted to handle them the way the world would, and I do, sometimes. If I was more in tune with God during theses times, I would be able to live out the purpose to which He has called me. This is most certainly my intention, so thank you for reminding me to get it together and get sharp!
    Kim, you are definitely living out the “iron sharpens iron” concept. That is why I am so thankful for this blog…I come here and get refreshed, renewed and yes, convicted.

    • Reply Tamara D. Davis November 16, 2011 at 8:55 am

      Smiling at you Kara! You are peculiarly beautiful dear one! All by yourself, you stand alone and shine so brightly as the sun radiating in a Florida sky. Yes, you are peculiarly beautiful!

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate November 16, 2011 at 7:33 pm

      Kara, I’m smiling at you too! You are always so willing to examine yourself, speak plainly about where you are, and seek to come up higher. “It’s kind of like peer pressure…yes, at age 34, I am still experiencing that”…me too, at age….much higher than that. lol There is a definite temptation to blend in. The enemy doesn’t want us to be the “peculiar people” we’re called to be. Even among Christians, when so many are blending in, it’s hard to be the peculiar one. I’m so glad you come here because your honesty is refreshing and you sharpen me as well! :)

  • Reply Tamara D. Davis November 16, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Happy Mid-Week everybody!

    I will honestly admit that I do not believe I stay as sharp as I need to. I always feel like I could be sharper, especially when I pay attention to the Titus 2 women around me at church. When I think about dullness, I think about repetitive use, not once stopping for sharpening. I think I’ve allowed life’s responsibilities to dull me a bit. I have moments of sharpness and as I think about it, I think I may be a bit shy (yes, I am) about being in places where I am expected to be sharp. Does that make sense?

    Sharpening is necessary, however. When a blade is dull, it takes longer to get the job done and it’s more painful. We shouldn’t sharpen with anything but iron, being that it’s sturdy, dependable and with the right fire, it’s moldable. Rubber can’t sharpen iron—it’ll only get cut. Paper can’t sharpen it either for the same reason. As women and believers, we have to be certain we are relating to people who can sharpen us. If our associations are dull, we’ll be become dull as well. I’d rather be the dullest blade amongst a group of sharp blades than the sharpest blade amongst a bunch of dull ones. The sharpening encourages us to propel forward and stay on our watch. Even though I think I may have dulled a bit, I am grateful for this blog as a reminder of how much I have to sharpen and be sharpened!

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate November 16, 2011 at 7:38 pm

      Happy Mid-Week Tamara!! I honed right in on this point!…”If our associations are dull, we’ll be become dull as well”…so, so TRUE! It’s SO important to be around spiritually sharp people. The thing about dull people is you don’t realize you’ve become deal. You will still give spiritual counsel, thinking it to be wise counsel. It’s a dangerous place to be. Spiritually sharp people have discernment, they’re prayerful, they’re in tune with the Spirit, they know they’re Word but not in a puffed-up way, they can identify where YOU have grown dull and help to sharpen you. I love it when a “sharp” person speaks into my life and corrects or redirects me because it’s what I need. “I am grateful for this blog as a reminder of how much I have to sharpen and be sharpened!”…me too! Trust me, you all sharpen me, and I’m so thankful!!

  • Reply Shahmet November 16, 2011 at 9:13 am

    What a probing post. I am guilty of editing myself at times. I am also aware that I am not always sharp with respect to what God has called me to do. I have recently lulled into that sense of dullness and just staying low. Actually, this Sunday during the altar prayer, I was made aware of the direction I should be moving in. It is not what I have been doing but I know I need to work in that area. I know this sounds a little vague, but I am still praying and seeking direction on this.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate November 16, 2011 at 7:42 pm

      Shahmet, I love those times such as you had at altar call, where God makes us aware of the direction we should be moving in. I LOVE to be directed (or REdirected) like that. I also love that when we grow dull and are guilty of editing ourselves, God has a way of letting us know so the sharpening can begin anew. I’m praying and seeking direction too, so including you in my prayers! :)

  • Reply Mell November 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I to am guilty of editing. I am getting better at it because when I do my own edit/revision I am convicted and I am sure not get a good night’s sleep. So I am getting better with the idea that if it’s truly God who has given me something to say and not me going on my own accord the person’s heart will be prepared to receive it.

    Not saying something/doing what God wants us to do comes with consequences i.e. Jonah. That doesn’t mean that it will be easy.

    (hmm I think i need to save this and keep as a reminder for my own self)

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate November 16, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      “…if it’s truly God who has given me something to say and not me going on my own accord the person’s heart will be prepared to receive it”…love this, Mell!! So true! It really does come down to trust. Sometimes we worry or fear that our words will be rejected, then we’re shocked that the person’s heart is truly changed! But even if our words aren’t received right then, we’ve planted a seed that might be watered down the road. Jonah and consequences…YES! That’s a lesson we must keep in mind. Encouraged by your comment…thank you!

  • Reply Janelle Hunter November 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Ouch…

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate November 16, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      LOL….I feel you, sis! :)

  • Reply Pamela McKinney November 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    …that was a good word Kim. Yes, there are times when it seems as if dullness has set in, and then God sends a situation that totally reminds you that hiding God’s Word away in your heart is truly important, and keeps you crisp – and gives you wisdom to draw from when confronted with various situations that pop up in the Culture we find ourselves in today.

    My son, a senior in college, tucked away in Iowa…called me today and wanted to discuss some various events from the Old Testament, and we had a wonderful conversation. He told me that his instructor had told him the same things that I said, but he wanted to check with me, and bounce the events off of what I’ve learned over the years from studying God’s Word.

    It was so interesting to me that he called me today, because I just started a fresh journey through the O.T. It is some tough reading, but some of the most encouraging events in scripture for me are found in the O.T. So, my son calling me out of the blue reminded me that in order for me to pass the knowledge on to the generation before me (esp. the 20 somethings like my son), then I need to know it better and better, and the only way to stay on top of that monumental meal…is to take frequent bites (daily), and spend as much time with the Lord as I can.

    I am now involving myself in ministry opportunities at church with the 20+ crowd, and I tell you…this is the generation that has reportedly walked away from God more-so than any other segment in the Church, and I want to be ready to give biblical responses to what I get confronted with when interacting with those in that age group. Also, after meeting with several of them already, I can tell you with all certainty that THEY ARE DEALING WITH SOME HEAVY HEAVY THINGS, AND THEY NEED THE TITUS (MEN AND WOMEN) TO REACH OUT TO THEM…after all, they are our children.

    God Bless you sis.

    Pamela.

    *Read through the other posts that I didn’t get to comment on…the one about the Queen-Bees, and I am packing and awaiting word about the Colored in Christ Retreat. Press on in Him. Blessings.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate November 18, 2011 at 1:53 pm

      Pam, I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to hear that you college-aged son called to talk to you about the Old Testament. That is AWESOME! Yes, this is the generation that has supposedly walked away, but the son that you raised is seeking godly wisdom and instruction. That must’ve done wonders for your heart. Interesting that you just started a fresh journey through the OT because I’m about to do the same. I LOVE the OT…I’ve got so many notes in the margins and other markings from the rich, rich ways God has spoken to me as I’ve read through the OT. The heart of Father God is SO clear throughout, as well as the sinfulness of man and our need for a Savior. Like you, I want to stay on top of that “monumental meal” with frequent bites. Love hearing as well that you are not only pouring into your own son but these others in the 20+ crowd. “THEY NEED THE TITUS (MEN AND WOMEN) TO REACH OUT TO THEM”…that’s such a true word, Pam. God has opened up a door for you to speak into their lives, and I only wish I had someone like you when I was that age. Praise God for all that you’re doing. May you be blessed for being a blessing. And so glad you’re packed for the retreat! :)

  • Reply Megan Joy Burdzy November 16, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    I totally DO edit myself! I’ve been in the hospital where a group of us formed and we would always come together and talk about Christianity. There was a very knowledgable Catholic woman and, even if I disagreed with a key point, I would digress. Looking back, there are SO many instances, mostly in school but also in malls, etc. If I don’t share the belief, I’ll usually skitter over the issue rather than put in my two cents.

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate November 18, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      “I’ll usually skitter over the issue rather than put in my two cents”…that’s a great way to put it, Megan, and one I can identify with. If I don’t feel like being bothered or engaging the issue (maybe because I don’t feel like dealing with a disagreement), I will “skitter” over it. Certainly, there are times when the Holy Spirit would have us to simply move on, but when He would have me to engage, I don’t want to skitter! :) May we both discern those times when we’re moved to speak, and do so in the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • Reply Pam C. November 17, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I use to “edit” myself all the time especially in the work place. I would put up little scriptures on my desk and sit little angels around. People would come in and comment that they really liked what I had placed and I would reply with a simple “thank you” without ever really talking about God and sharing my beliefs. I finally decided to “speak up” and share my testimonies and beliefs in meetings and in general conversation which led to meeting other believers! Fast forward 5 years later, I saw one of my co-workers at church about a year ago! I hadn’t seen her in years and she confessed to me that she always wanted to attend my church after hearing me talk about it. So grateful that God put it on my heart to plant the seed with her many years ago. No longer do I “edit” myself! :-)

    • Reply Kim Cash Tate November 18, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Wow, Pam, what a testimony! I’m totally smiling at the scriptures on the desk and the angels…yep, Lord, that’s enough, right?? :) We never know what will happen when we begin to speak. We never know what blessings are in store, such as meeting other believers who’ve also been silent. And you were also able to experience the HUGE blessing of someone attending your church because you spoke about it. “No longer do I “edit” myself!” Praise God, Pam! I love this!

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