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7 signs of spiritual neuropathy

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Some years ago, I was diagnosed with neuropathy—in my case, a strange combination of tingling and numbness in my feet. Though the doctors never discovered the cause, I still think about that diagnosis when I find myself in a similar spiritual malaise of both needle-like tingling and numbness at the same time. Here are some ways I know I’m dealing with spiritual neuropathy: 

  1. I still feel the power of conviction, but I fear I’ve grown desensitized to the consequence of sin. I know better, but it’s easy to become hardened over your own sin and ignore any potential repercussions of ongoing disobedience. 
  2. I still know my responsibility to minister to the hurting around me, but I’ve become numb to others around me. Sometimes that’s because the needs are overwhelming, but sometimes it’s also because some “needy” folks test the system. Either way, numbness sets in. 
  3. I know I should be with the Lord—and I even make plans to do so—but I no longer have a longing to spend time with Him. Yes, I know spiritual disciplines are important. But, no, my heart doesn’t always burn for Him like it should. 
  4. I love the people of the church, but I’ve lost my appreciation for the marvelous mystery that is God’s local body. They’re wonderful, even when they’re sometimes a headache—and I really do love them. My problem sometimes is that I’ve lost my wonder over what God does when He makes people family in Christ. 
  5. I love my spouse, but I find myself taking her for granted. Pam’s unquestionably God’s gift to me, and it’s not hard for me to see that when I think about it. The problem is that I too seldom consider that truth. I can let routine become numbness if I’m not aware of what’s happening. 
  6. I know how important evangelism is—after all, I’m a professor of evangelism and missions—but I let my brokenness over lost people lose its passion. I’m afraid it’s really easy to call others to evangelize while you lose little sleep over those destined for hell. That’s spiritual neuropathy.
  7. I know Psalm 19 tells me to see God’s handiwork in creation—and I LOVE being in nature—but still I sometimes miss the beauty of God’s work around me. I get so busy doing good things that I fail to smell the proverbial roses around me. Every time I hike, in fact, I’m reminded that I can grow numb to God’s glory in creation while I busy myself with other tasks.

What about you? Do you have any symptoms of spiritual neuropathy? If you want to consider other areas where we can grow numb, check out this post I wrote some time ago.

    About the Author

  • Chuck Lawless