Bored with Christ
The sky was still gray when I woke myself up. I made my bed, grabbed my Bible and notebook, and headed eagerly to my prayer corner.
A few minutes into reading one of the gospels, the carpet started to make uncomfortable prints on my elbows. Not a problem; I wasn't going to be so easily deterred by a little discomfort. I snatched a soft pillow off my bed and rearranged my position slightly.
An hour later, Mom found me curled in a cozy ball—snoring on top of my open Bible. Not exactly my most shining moment, let's just say that.
Okay, lesson learned—apparently, devotions with pillows weren't my greatest stroke of genius. At least not when the pages I was zipping through about Jesus felt more sleep-inducing than life-shattering.
Do you ever relate? Maybe your eyelids have a tendency to grow heavy during church or maybe your prayers have been drying up if they last longer than a few minutes. As I remember falling asleep in His presence, I'm forced to ask myself: What's going on here? How do we become so bored with Christ?
I cringed as I typed those last words. "Bored with Christ"—it's far too brazen to say aloud, even to ourselves, without a stab of grief. I knew very well that I should be falling flat on my face in awe before Him, not zonking out on a pillow. We have no desire to ascribe a word like "unexciting" to our experiences with the God of the universe. I mean God, predictable? Jesus, a bore? Something shuddering instantly rises up in us against these intimations. There's an awful, terrifying sense of wrongness to the thoughts.
But there it still wedges—embarrassingly burr-like in its refusal to shake off. Casual, comfortable, wonder-free familiarity with Jesus Christ. Why?
Familiarity → Lessened interest and excitement. Q: Truth or lie?
In the world's relationships, you see this pattern played out all the time. Girl and boy fall in love. Girl and boy actually spend time together, get to know everything about each other, and then realize that their "love" has faded. Girl and boy break up, write a hit song, and go looking for a new source of excitement.
And it doesn't stop there—the initial thrills of iPhones and cute clothes wear off with time the same way. As a result, our society as a whole is on the endless, vicious treadmill of boredom, followed by quick, superficial "highs" of excitement—and hard plummets back into tedium.
During our spiritual deserts, a similar mindset is being transferred to our relationship with Christ. We feel like we already know Him, and we conclude that the monotony we're experiencing is the result of our knowledge.
But look at all the lies crowded behind that one assumption. If familiarity with Christ leads to monotony, then Jesus Christ is;
- Ultimately uninteresting.
- Finite—not bottomless.
- Unworthy of total, all-consuming worship.
Our faith itself rises or falls here. If familiarity leads to monotony—if Jesus doesn't have the power to hold our interest for all eternity—then He can't be great. And if He isn't great, how can He be God at all?
The truth is a radical, thrilling, life-altering reversal.
Deep Familiarity with Christ → EVER-INCREASING wonder, joy, and adoration.
Superficial Familiarity with Christ → boredom and apathy.
Our boredom with Christ is the result of knowing Him very little, not the result of knowing Him well. It's impossible to run out of reasons to praise all the infinite facets of His character, no matter how many thousands, millions, and trillions of years pass throughout eternity. How could we ever plumb the depths of absolute perfection?
The trouble lies with our sin-bleared eyesight—the more our spiritual "eyes" are opened to see Him as He really is, the more our eagerness and excitement will abound. Then we can sing like David in the Psalms and exult with Paul:
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?
Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?
For of Him and to Him and through Him are all things, to whom be the glory forever (Romans 11:33–36).
So, let's hash this concept out a little bit! Some questions to think about and discuss:
- What does knowing Christ "superficially" look like?
- What is "deep" familiarity with Him not?
- Why do you think the world holds such allure of superior excitement, even though it never ultimately satisfies?
- How can we can fight to keep our wonder with Christ alive?