Our future is largely determined by what and how we really hear. I recently shared on this in a blog and podcast called “The Snoopy Anointing.”
“For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it” (Hebrews 4:2).
The way we get into the kingdom is the same we advance in the kingdom—hearing good news and believing it.
“You have become dull of hearing” (Hebrews 5:11). The Hebrew people allowed themselves to slowly and increasingly become duller to the words which could have radically profited them and those they influenced. Negative strongholds are created when we hear (and mix our faith with) lies more than we hear truth. These strongholds resist hope-filled words because they (the strongholds) are always looking for proof to reinforce what they already believe.
One of the most important things we can do as followers of Jesus is to prevent dullness of hearing. Here are six causes of dullness of hearing and strategies to overcome each.
- Pride – “And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.’ But Naaman became furious, and went away” (2 Kings 5:10-11). Naaman thought his people and country were superior to the Israelites, thus his judgment and expectations of Elisha’s ability were limited by his haughtiness.. Remaining humble and teachable is a key to incredible hearing.
- Disappointment – “And their words (about Jesus’ resurrection) seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them” (Luke 24:11). Negative strongholds hate hope. Disappointment creates dullness because we would rather protect ourselves from being disappointed again rather than open up to believing things are and will get better. Even so, we can get healed from this. “He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:3) and the anointing “heals the brokenhearted” (Isaiah 61:1).
- Inferiority – “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judges 6:25). The accuser of the brethren has a whole arsenal of lies to try to keep us feeling unworthy, like a failure, less than others, and that we are the only one who feels this way. These beliefs try to wear us down and disqualify us from hope. As we feast on our true identity, we can overcome inferiority and actually hear the potential for our lives.
- Traditions of Men Doctrines – “Making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down.” (Mark 7:13). The Pharisees in the gospels and Book of Acts could not hear what God was really saying because it did not fit into their manmade doctrinal beliefs. When we overemphasize the sovereignty of God and the works of the law, we create a doctrinal dullness that makes us passive, fatalistic, and fixated on a lifestyle of sin-avoidance over greatness-building.
- Familiarity – “‘Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?’ So they were offended at Him” (Mark 6:3). If we are not careful, we can allow our familiarity with a person, a ministry, a truth, the prophetic, or a type of testimony to cause us to lose the wonder of these things, contributing to dullness of hearing. Honor is the antidote to this. “‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’” (Ephesians 6:2-3).
- Weariness – “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9). When we are tired, it is more challenging for us to hear. Sometimes my dog, Duncan, won’t hear me come into the house because of how tired he is, even though he has positioned himself to always hear the good news of his master’s return. After a good rest, he is able to hear at a higher level. Some of us just need a good nap or an extra rest to tune up our spiritual hearing.
As we recognize these dullness creators, we can overcome them and mix our faith with what we hear in order to experience increase. We will know we are entering into incredible hearing when we hear with hope—the belief the future will be better than the present and we have the power to make it so.
For much more on this, you can listen to my podcast at the link below.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.