Still working my way through Mark with my group. The more I read, the more the pieces seems to be indicating that, at least in chapters 7-8, Jesus is attempting to help the disciples understand who he really is. In Mark 7, the Pharisees come to Jesus with a question - why don't your followers wash their hands like tradition taught us? A legitimate question. We have been doing this for years and why aren't you?
Jesus goes on to announce to crowd that had gathered about what really defiles a man - what comes out of him (vs. what goes into a man). After the crowd clears, the disciples ask him what he meant by the teaching. he then makes this statement: "are you so dull" (v.18).
After hanging out with him, walking with him, listening to his teaching, feeding the 5,000, seeing the healing, casting out demons, talking with him about life, watching the crowds gather - they still do not understand. After going out two by two into the cites and villages of Israel and proclaiming the good news that the Messiah was here, after personally healing people and casting out demons - they still do not comprehend the ways of the kingdom of Jesus. (OK, so here is where I insert myself and ask how much have I been with Jesus - I am worse than the disciples.)
The more I read and thought about this, the more I have to ask myself how dull am I. How many of Jesus' teachings and His ways of living do I just blow over because I am dull. How many areas of my life have I not submitted to Christ because I am dull and lack understanding?
The issue is that I have the tools I need to not be dull. I have the Holy Spirit within me who's job it is to teach me (John 14:26). My job is to be open. I am finding that dullness is really about me: my lack of openness to do the work that I need to do in my soul, a perspective of me that "I am OK", instead of perspective of I need a Savior.
The first step in the process of sharpening is admitting you have a problem. I mean, really admitting it. Not just saying you do, but really owning it; really coming to grips with the fact that you need a Savior to redeem you from you. I think that I am getting here - occasionally (when I think about it, I am there; as life hits me in the face, there are times when I leave that place and go back to where I was in dullness).
The second step is opening your soul to the Spirit of God and asking for Him to change. He is the agent of conviction. He is the agent of change. My part is yielding and allowing God to do His work.
Just keep repeating the phrase - "am I dull?" and listen. Listen to those around you. Listen to the Spirit of God. Listen to the words of God as you read scripture. You will hear where you are dull and where you need to change.