God will tolerate no rival. Nor should He! What this means is that you will experience the grace of “divine dulling” in two ways:
1. God’s grace will “dull” the excitement and enticement of the pursuit of your sin.
2. God’s grace will “dull” the excitement and enthusiasm of the pursuit of your Savior.
First, Jesus will not allow His people to be driven into the ashes of defeat as it relates to the pursuit of sin. He will, in His perfect timing, dull our selfish ambition. He will, in His timing, dull our desire for sinful gain. God is in the business of removing the enjoyment and enticement of the sinful desires of our heart. He will do whatever it takes to “dull” the spell they have cast over us and reorient our hearts back to our first Love.
I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days—all her appointed feasts. I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers; I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them. I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,” declares the LORD. (Hosea 2:11-13)
The prophet Hosea paints a stark picture of the grace of “divine dulling” that God will bestow on us when we indulge ourselves in affairs of the heart. Look closely and you will see that God will remove the expected return on our sinful investment, which will ultimately drive us to our knees in repentance and the desire to return to our first Love.
Jesus will also dull the excitement and enthusiasm of our pursuit of Him. You may be wondering how that could possibly be an act of grace! When we have divided affections He will dull our affections for Him to open our eyes to the fact that the proverbial wheels are coming off the tracks of our lives. He will not allow us to experience the rich relationship of intimacy and affection with Him when He is not on the throne of our lives. And why should He? He will tolerate no rival and will never affirm our affections for anything smaller than Himself by letting us think that all is well.
I often hear statements in counseling sessions such as, “I’m not really enjoying my time of worship right now” or “I feel distant from God when I’m reading the Bible or even praying.” People look at me in astonishment when I tell them, “Perhaps God has sent you the grace of divine dulling to reorient your heart back toward Him. Could it be that you have settled for lesser lovers that have captivated your heart? That will block you from the right relationship you should be experiencing with your Savior.”
Remember, if your time with God seems distant or dull, you can be sure that God did not move away or suddenly become a bore. God does not move away from us; we drift away from Him. God’s Word does not become dreary or stale; our desire to search the Scriptures cools. When we give our hearts to something smaller than Jesus, that idol will drain us of our passion for the only One who is worthy of our love and devotion.
This is why we need to preach the Gospel to ourselves every day. We need daily reminders of the love we have in Christ and how everything else in this world pales in comparison to the fulfillment we find in Him. Let the grace of “divine dulling” drive you back to the only One who will meet you in your place of need and satisfy you beyond all you could ever ask or imagine.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!