On Tuesday last week, with the combination of preaching and class, I think I heard the word "gospel" well over 100 times. Everybody who has been down my path says one of the difficulties with seminary is the numbness to all things spiritual; tonight in fact one of my friends talked about his "spiritual insensitivity." In the short period of time I've spent in seminary, days like last Tuesday where words that carry eternal weight are tossed around like a football on gameday have been frequent and promise to be so over the course of the next three or four years.
Does this mean I will inevitably become numb to the gospel myself? Will the word and others like it turn into any other word like "and" or "the"--so common and seemingly insignificant?
Not necessarily. Not if I recognize that numbness occurs solely because of sin--that I could be indifferent in hearing the word once or a thousand times, that my eyes can glaze over Scripture, reading paragraphs in a daze only to turn the page never knowing what I just read, that my ears could be deaf to the sound of salvific words being spoken through a beautifully Spirit-filled preacher, that I could sing of Christ's love as unworshipfully as singing Coldplay's latest hit.
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love.
A lethargy exists within my flesh that does not delight in words, thoughts, prayers, or meditations on the being of God. Sadly, Christianity can easily become a culture, whether in church or the classroom, that actually feeds this lethargy instead of destroying it.
Yet in the recognition of this lethargy and numbness is the light of God's Spirit that leads to repentance. It is here that the sound of gospel words cause my heart to palpitate, that thoughts of Christ's love bring a bright smile to my face, that prayers are lifted up in great trust of the God who can fulfill them, that meditations on His being cause immense joy.
It is here, regardless of however many times I may hear the word, "gospel" that it never loses its purpose or its power.
Here's my heart Lord, take and seal it,
Seal it for thy courts above.
By His Grace.