Are we spiritually sensitive? More important, do we WANT to be spiritually sensitive? Before we answer (although we already know our response should be “yes”), let’s take a short, limited view into what this term really means, how it relates to us, and how we obtain and become proficient in this attribute. Then, after doing that and observing a few examples together, I think we’ll be better prepared to answer our question.

When assigned this topic a few weeks ago, my first thoughts dealt with the term itself. What, in general at least, is spiritual sensitivity? Obviously, it would mean being sensitive about spiritual things. Therefore, it naturally follows that it is a quality we should desire to possess. Let’s look a little deeper and be a bit more descriptive.

Sensitivity, in general, as the world sees it, is a personal quality all men possess and exercise to one degree or another. Man’s contact with others always gives evidence as to how sensitive a person he is. Someone who has a concern for other people’s feelings or needs and exhibits thoughtfulness in his dealings with others is generally considered to be sensitive; he is probably sought out as one we would want as a friend. For example: Those that are quick to organize community drives which would benefit the poor or homeless in times of emergency, we would describe as sensitive. People who donate to charitable organizations, such as Cystic Fibrosis, Red Cross, Kidney Foundation, Salvation Army, and countless other human need organizations, along with those who donate time and work in hospitals, rest homes, and children’s homes are also perceived as being very sensitive to others. Young people across our country dedicate two or three years of their lives in the service of Peace Corps and Youth Corps organizations in order to advance mankind, as well as personal fulfillment. These young people, too, are sensitive and show affection for those less fortunate than themselves. In fact, everyone in this world has ample opportunity to display his level of concern toward his work, friends, family, supervisors, co-workers, recreation, dating, teachers, etc. Man’s sensitivity, regardless of level, is a thread that runs through his entire life.

Now, how does spiritual sensitivity differ from what we just described? What must our feelings and attitudes be as Christians toward God, toward our fellow Christians, toward all those around us? As you realize, whenever we talk about spiritual issues, we must look to God’s word and law for our instruction and guidance. Our attitudes must be founded on His word only. The Bible clearly teaches us that our spiritual sensitivity, or affection, is based on our love of God. Do we love God? If so, then we will also be sensitive in our personal calling and to the instruction concerning that calling, which God has so graciously given us through His word and the working of His spirit.

His word! The Bible. What a perfect place for God’s elect to look for instruction concerning not only our topic, but also everything pertaining to our life. Do we love God’s word? Of course we do! It follows then, through God’s grace, that we are spiritually sensitive. Loving God and His word, we will have a genuine concern and affection for His being, His commandments, His people, and everything pertaining to His kingdom. That is spiritual sensitivity.

God’s word that we have studied at home, at Sunday school, catechism, Christian schools, and heard in the weekly preaching in church has taught many truths about being sensitive. God’s law itself demands our affection and loyalty toward Him. Remember? Have no other gods, make no graven images, reverence His name, keep His Sabbath holy, and love Him with all our hearts. We must be sensitive to those commands and desire to obey them perfectly, even though, in this life and of ourselves, we cannot.

Not easy to desire that, is it! ? We have so many things that compete for our affection and interest. Our popularity, personal goals, accumulation of earthly riches, pursuit of special interests, recreation, etc. – all tend toward self-sensitivity, rather than spiritual. This is not just a ”young people” struggle. The problem remains in all of us due to our nature and the relentless dedication of Satan to turn our hearts. But struggle and fight now in your youth, because it pleases your God.

God’s law for us toward others? Honoring father and mother – no killing, stealing, false witnessing, coveting – loving our brother as ourselves all speak toward sensitivity. But our brother as ourselves? If you’re at all as I am, you’ll find it so much easier to be sensitive and caring toward those who treat you well and please you. But God doesn’t call us to love our neighbor on a conditional basis, rather that we be truly concerned for each other’s spiritual welfare and that we instruct, correct, and encourage all our Christian friends along the way in love. (Give thanks to God also that His sensitivity and affection for us is not conditioned by our good works, but that Jesus seeks and saves us based on God’s perfect love alone.)

In Romans 8, the apostle Paul talks much about being spiritual, or walking after the spirit of Christ, Read this chapter when time permits. Many verses are already familiar to you by now, because it is a very popular passage. But read it again anyway. Much instruction and comfort is there. Paul teaches us that to be spiritually minded is life and peace, but that those who are of the flesh and seek themselves cannot please God.

With a view to what we have now discussed, how do we, as young Christians, handle the swiftly changing world we live in? We see almost all churches changing their position and attitudes toward a wide range of subjects. Hardly a year goes by without a major change in one denomination or another. Churches that used to be “close” to our doctrines now advocate or embrace much of what follows: additional views of creation, divorce and re-marriage for the innocent party, homosexuality as a disease that the church should be sympathetic and loving toward, allowance for women as office bearers, allowance, even encouragement, of members to attend movies, permission of dancing and theatrics (some of these are deemed appropriate enough to include in special services), all restrictions on Sunday behavior lifted completely, as long as you attend church in the morning . and you could add many more. But worst of all, many have allowed the preaching to become diluted beyond recognition, and permitted church discipline to become non-existent. What do they have left? What’s become of their sensitivity?

When we see the above mentioned changes, do we become all the more sensitive to our faith? Do we cling to the faith of our fathers, to the wonderful inheritance we are given that leads to eternal life? We must resist the creeping compromise that is in the church world all about us. God and His word are perfect and absolutely unchangeable! Unchangeable – regardless of extreme world and social changes. Doesn’t it seem strange, young people, that on one hand Jesus teaches us that our life and walk on earth will be difficult and hard, and on the other hand, all the compromise and changes in the church world make it easier for the members to live in harmony with the world? When we consider changes in our church and personal life, we must remember that. Be defensive! Be sensitive and on guard!

I Thess. 5:19 and Eph. 4:30 instruct us to neither quench nor grieve the Holy Spirit. Hear the spirit, be sensitive and do its bidding. Forget what others may think about your actions or decisions. Love the spirit and show affection for its calling. Don’t be hard hearted or calloused toward God. Remember this: God absolutely hates indifference. Instead, we must pray. Pray for guidance and strength to do His will, to love His word, to be kindhearted, careful, forgiving, and eager to bear one another’s burdens in Christ. May God supply us the grace to become and remain spiritually sensitive.

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