How sensitive are you? 

We mean, how sensitive are you spiritually? 

Every regenerated child of God is spiritually sensitive. He is that by virtue of the new life that God has implanted in him. He is that because the Spirit dwells in him. But there are degrees of sensitivity. And there is not only a becoming dull and of becoming increasingly insensitive but also a growth in the sharpness and power of that sensitivity. Of that increase in spiritual sensitivity we wish to say a few things later. At the moment we are busy with that sad state in which the keenness of that sensitivity lessens and we are no longer “these who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil,” Hebrews 5:14b. 

The thermostat in your home or place of work is a device that is made to be sensitive to changes in the temperature of the room. Before your body can feel the drop in the room temperature, this little device has been affected and moves to close the switch necessary for causing the furnace to send forth more heat. The microphone in the radio studio or that plugs into your tape recorder is delicately made and finely adjusted to be sensitive to the sound waves. It will “pick-up” sounds the human ear may not notice. A piano that may sound to your ear as being “in tune” when heard through the sensitive microphone of the radio studio or your tape recorder will make plain to you, by the wavy pulsing of the three strings at different vibrations, that the piano is out of tune. Your camera has a sensitive film in it that will make a good picture for you only if you expose it for the proper length of time to the existing light. So sensitive are some of the color films that exposure of one twenty-fifth of a second instead of one fiftieth will make a decided change in the colors, so that the printed picture will not be true to life. And to insure proper exposure of this sensitive film you may resort to a light meter with its photo-electric cell which measures the existing light and causes the needle to move back and forth at the slightest variation in the light falling upon it. And so we could continue concerning smell and taste; and there are men whose smell and taste is so highly developed that they can label correctly smells and tastes which you and I can not detect. 

Spiritually it is no different. 

However we do well to consider that if we say no more, it must be conceded that all men are spiritually sensitive. The truth and the lie have their effect on believer and unbeliever alike. Sin and righteousness do not go unobserved: by the unregenerated anymore than they do by the regenerated. It is not simply a question as to whether we are spiritually sensitive or not. All men are to one degree or another. The important question, therefore, is, What effect does it have upon us when we taste, touch, smell, hear or see spiritual things? That is where the difference comes in and where the life of a child of God comes to manifestation. 

Listen once to the psalmist: “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not Thy law,” Psalm 119:136. Or take note of this significant statement in Luke 4:28, “And all they in the synagogue (Nazareth) when they heard these things, were filled with wrath.” What brought rivers of waters of the eyes of the psalmist gave great delight and joy to those of whom he speaks. The same things were experienced by both the psalmist and those of whom he writes but with different, yea, with opposite reactions. The men gathered in the synagogue at Nazareth heard the Word of God. Their reaction to it was to be so filled with hatred that they sought to kill the Christ. That was a spiritual reaction, a reaction to spiritual things. The question, therefore, is, What sensation do we have when we come in contact with sin and righteousness, with the truth and with the lie? Do we immediately respond with delight when we hear the truth and immediately shudder with dislike and spiritual pain when we hear the lie proclaimed? Do the things of righteousness make us happy and fill us with song, while the things of wickedness bring tears to our eyes and an ache in our hearts? 

Still worse, are we rapidly losing our hatred of the things of the world and becoming calloused and insensible to wickedness and the lie? Is there so little of the fear of the Lord in us that with the unregenerated we can laugh about sin, be filled with wrath when we hear men defend the truth of God’s glory and with these unregenerated turn up our noses and flee from that which is good and true? 

We live in a wicked age. Powerful forces are at work—and have been since the day God brought man upon the face of this earth—to turn us from the good and true. On every side the world, according to the plan of the Evil One himself, is pressing in upon the church to seek to dull the senses of the children of God so that they lose their awareness of evil and the lie and walk even as the world. How necessary that prayer of Paul for the Philippians: “And this I pray that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent, that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,” Philippians 1:9, 10. How revealing! that statement of Jesus, “Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8

This increasing insensibility and callousness of that which is spiritually evil and untrue may even be seen in the development of the world itself into more and more boldness to do and say that which is unseemly; wicked and of the lie. The boldness of Sabbath desecration, the full—lettered spelling out of cursing and swearing in print—over against a former restraint manifested in only indicating the words by their first and last letters, the glorification of adultery and divorce, to mention only a few things which merely skim the surface of the sad situation, give clear evidence of the forces round about us which seek to drag us down to that same level. 

And we. . . . ? 

How far are we from these same things? 

We tremble inwardly when we come in contact with clear manifestations that in our own circles, among us who claim to rejoice to be considered as those who partake of Christ’s anointing, there is a growing lack of sensitivity over against wickedness and the lie to cause US to react with inward pain and the shudder of abhorrence. Things do not hurt us spiritually, as they formerly did. 

Our young men, and those of us who spent months if not years—among the ungodly during their stint in the armed services of our country know how the profanity, the blasphemy, the cursing and swearing of the children of the devil at first cut right through them. Father’s name was being dragged in the mire; and we felt it. But that wore off; and today it does not make quite as deep a wound as it did. We still hear it. We still know that it is wrong. But our reaction inwardly is not as violent as it was. 

We tremble inwardly, too, when we consider the potentialities of that in itself wonderful invention that is so well nigh entirely in the service of Satan and his viper’s brood, the television set. We tremble as it more and more takes the place of our “assembling of ourselves together,” (Hebrews 10:25) in, Men’s, Ladies’ and Young People’s societies to study the Word of God. A “good” program for the flesh has power over us. It holds us and makes us despise these better things of God’s kingdom. But we tremble even more when we learn what these “good” programs do to our spiritual sensitivity and how they wear down our feeling, our taste, our smell of that which is good in God’s sight. As Paul writes in that same epistle to the Philippians, “Finally, Brethren, whatsoever- things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.”Philippians 4:8

We tremble when we consider how close Hollywood and the movie have now been brought to us and to our children. No, too many years ago our churches took a definite stand over against movie attendance. We recall how several, who, in our group, appeared before the consistory to make confession of our faith, were asked, whether they attended the movie. We were spiritually sensitive in those days as churches and considered movie attendance to be incompatible with confession of Christ as our Lord and Savior. 

What of today? 

Perish even the thought. And yet that thought comes constantly before our minds: Will the day soon come when we will no longer think it in order to ask such a question? Will, we have to cease asking that question because the elders and deacons themselves go to the movie in their own living rooms with their children? Have we come to the point where we are so insensible to the wickedness of Hollywood and of the world, so insensitive to what the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life, of which John speaks in I John 2:16, and which he declares are in the world, that what we formerly condemned in no uncertain terms, we are now going to allow? Have we come to those days of which Paul speaks, the perilous times of the last days, when men clearly show that they are “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”? Is that thing creeping into our churches too? 

Is it simply that we feel uncomfortable about these things only before the eyes of men? We do pot like to have men know that we go to the movie in our own living rooms. We do not like to have men know that we and our children are far better acquainted with Hollywood and its “stars” than we are with the Scriptures and our confessions? Children have a way of talking out of the house, and by their speech often reveal how well all these godless heroes of the world are known in the home. But if that is all that bothers us we are not spiritually sensitive. If, while the Living God Himself sees us in our living rooms going to Hollywood for entertainment and the satisfaction of our flesh, we dare to go ahead and do these things, the fear of the Lord is not in us! 

We deem the question important: How spiritually sensitive are you? 

We also have a word of advice. For God’s sake heed it! 

The Rev. R. Veldman some years ago wrote an exceptional pamphlet for the Sunday School Mission Publishing Association on The Movie. By all means read it AGAIN! If you never did, send for a free copy. We are sorry that we do not have the latest address of the Association. We trust that if you send to the Sunday School Mission Publishing Association in care of the Reformed Free Publishing Association, P.O. Box 881, Madison Square Station, Grand Rapids, Michigan, your request will be forwarded to the proper parties. We trust also that the association has an abundant supply; and we were not asked to advertise their brochure. We do it in His fear. 

Give it to your children to read. And KEEP a copy next to the switch of your television set. I assure you that it will not do harm to the appearance of your set. Rather will it give your set the touch of His fear. 

And may “your love abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment: That ye may approve the things that are excellent,” and, of course, that means disapprove and judge as wicked the world and the lust that is therein. 

Do all things in His fear! 

—J.A.H.