If you play the guitar you know what a “callous” is. It’s the hardening of the skin on the tips of your fingers. Until the skin hardens through playing, every note and chord causes a little pain. After a while though, it stops hurting. Your skin is desensitized and you can play without feeling the impression of the strings on the nerves in your fingertips. Those who reject God do not understand Him because they continually make a conscious effort to harden their heart and walk in blindness. They choose not to respond to God. They walk in darkness because their heart has been desensitized to the revelation of God.
The word “blindness” in this verse is the same word translated “hardness” in Mark 3:5
“And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”
But don’t mistake the context of this verse in Ephesians. A lot of times this verse is preached to describe the spiritual anatomy of unbelievers. But that isn’t what this verse is about. It is a verse of comparison…and warning to Christians! We are told in verse 17 that we should “henceforth not walk as other Gentiles.” In other words, our life should not match who we were without Christ. Our life should reflect someone who has spiritual understanding. Our life should reflect someone who found existence worthwhile and centered in the life of God. Our life should reflect someone who has a spiritual sensitivity to right and wrong resulting from a spiritual sensitivity to God. This is how life in Christ is designed.
Some Christians are so upset by so-called emotionalism in Christianity that they completely oppose emotion in the Christian experience at any level. But taking all feeling out of this life in Christ does as much damage if not more as those propagating the false doctrine of emotionalism. When we do this, we become the equivalent of a “Christian Stoic.” We no longer have any feelings in our spiritual life and in fact we become desensitized to all feelings stirred in the spirit. It is a rejection of the fact that God designed our emotions. He designed our emotions to be responders. As we interact with Him, we are designed to have an emotional reaction. We are designed to be sensitive to the life of God. It is okay to be overcome with joy when worshipping the Lord. It is okay to be overcome with sadness when realizing the need to repent. (Yes, it is okay to repent!)
If you find yourself in this boat, give yourself permission to respond to God with your feelings today. You will first have a sense of relief. It is a giant burden to stuff down the emotional result of connecting with God. You will be relieved of unloading the legalism that comes with walking in stoicism. The callous will be removed and you will be free.
Renewed Thought – Lord, let me respond in my soul and spirit to who You are today. Let me walk in the freedom of understanding who You are today. Let me worship without bounds today.