What scares you most?
Heart attacks, unexpected bills, late night prowlers, ominous phone calls. Those all are scary, indeed. What lies under your bed in your childhood nightmares? Terrifying. However, I think there is a much more insidious, sneaky fear out there. Not a fear that grips us by the collar and shrieks in our ears, but a fear that doesn’t raise its voice. A fear that hides in the corner. A fear of something villainous and horrible attacking us, but assaulting so slowly and gently that we hardly notice. An attack that could be symbolized by the mold quietly building up under your bathroom sink. We should fear this danger most because we are likely unaware of it.
The fire of romance in a marriage being slowly swapped out for cold indifference over the years. The slow creep of death, the gradual slip into darkness that is so gentle and polite that we aren’t aware of it bearing down on us until – it is! A threat that thrives off of patience, near-invisibility, and a meticulous whittling away. That is scary.
I remember reading once about a spider that had a numbing toxin in its venom, so when it sunk its fangs into its prey, they wouldn’t feel it. So the spider could continue to eat away at the flesh of its oblivious victim, without worrying about being discovered. That is scary.
There are many threats to our lives that take this camouflaged attack (the most dangerous ones, if you ask me) – but I think the one I am most susceptible to is this: getting bored with God.
Now, that may not sound like a big problem to you…but maybe that just means the spider’s venom is already working. The Bible tells us that we were made to worship God. The Westminster Divines sum up the chief end of man succinctly: glorify God and enjoy Him, forever. Human beings were made to stand in awe of God, to be stunned, bamboozled, shocked, and filled with joy at who He is.
And if I can be honest for a moment, there are many times where I don’t feel like that. There are times where I am overwhelmed at what God reveals to me in His Word, in prayer, or in worship with my church. Some of my sweetest moments in life are when God seems to crack open the doors of glory and shines His light on me. Its unraveling, in the best way possible. But, if I’m honest, it can be pretty easy for me to read my Bible in the morning, and just walk away from it. To go to church, and just sit there. To be as moved as if I just did a load of laundry, or balanced my budget. I mean, I know its important – but it can feel kind of yawn-worthy at times, and other things can seem so much more exciting.
That is scary.
At one point in the Gospel of John, Jesus turns to his disciples after many people abandon Him, and asks, “Will you too leave me?” And Peter replies, “Where would we go? You alone have the words of eternal life!” (John 6:66-68). There is the part in the book of Romans, where after Paul lays out this incredibly complex, heady doctrine, he just bursts into worship, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Rom. 11:33). When God descends onto Mt. Sinai in Ex. 19-20, He thunders out of a tornado of fire and lightning that is pummeling the top of the mountain, causing the rocks to tremble, and the people to beg Moses to make God stop talking to them lest they die from His glory.
I am grateful for the times when I seem to have the awe-filled devotion of Peter, or the joyful praise of Paul, or the holy fear of the Israelites – but I worry about how easy it is for me to not be like that. I worry about how easy it is for me to be more focused on a smart phone than on the “words of eternal life.”
So what do we do? What do we do when we begin to realize our hearts’ worship has grown bored with the things of God?
The good news is that when we recognize problems with our hearts not worshipping God the way they are supposed to, we can repent, and ask the Lord to help us. A big part of fixing the problem is recognizing that there is the problem, before it chokes out all desire and passion in the first place. And friends, we need to call a spade a spade here: this is a problem. If our hearts are more wrapped up in and enthralled in anything other than our God, that is a sin we must repent of. How do we do that? God promises that He nourishes our faith, by the Spirit, through the Word of God (Rom. 10:17; 1 Cor. 2:10-13). If I can approach God’s Word and find it rather “meh”, the problem isn’t in the Word – the problem is my unbelief.
Imagine, for a moment, that the next time you opened up your Bible, you actually, down to the very core of you, believed every word you read. They were no longer merely words, but you read it as if God, Himself, was speaking to you. Look at a few of these truths and imagine what your life would look like if you believed them:
- God never had a beginning. (Psalm 90:1-4) God has always been, and always will be – He is eternal.
- God can do anything. (Psalm 115:3) God is all powerful. Nothing can stop Him from accomplishing His will.
- A Christian will never die (1 John 2:25). The second you close your eyes here, they open in the presence of Jesus. You have nothing to fear.
- Every bad thing that has happened, will turn out for your good. (Romans 8:28). God only allows bad things to come into our life, because they will be for our best, even if we don’t see it.
- Everything sad will come untrue. (Rev. 21:4). God will remove any trace of sin in the new heavens and new earth, and with it all pain and sadness will be swallowed up.
- You have the Holy Spirit living in you. (Eph. 1:13-14). God Himself is with you, right now. The same God that everyone would fall over out of awesome terror in the Old Testament, is with you now.
- Jesus has atoned for you sins. (2 Cor. 5:21) Jesus Christ has paid for all of your sin-debt, with his very blood. And in so doing, given you his perfect righteousness.
- God loves you, and always will. (Eph. 1:4-7) Before you became a Christian, before you were born, before earth even existed, God loved you.
- Your joy is unbreakable. (John 16:33) In this life you will experience pain, but nothing will ever take Christ from you, and He is your joy. You are unsinkable because Christ is unsinkable.
There are so many more stunning realities that Scripture teaches us, these are just a taste. All too often, I gloss over these truths without letting the implications behind them really weigh on me. They just become things we talk about on Sunday morning. We hear these truths enough that we simply assume we believe them. But do our hearts respond as if these were true? Or, have we heard just enough of the Bible to inoculate ourselves from what it says, Yea, yea, I know that already. Satan is completely fine with you reading your Bible, provided you are led to believe you have jumped all in, when in reality you have only dipped a toe.
The good news, friends, is that the Lord promises to help our unbelieving hearts (Mark 9:24). Go to Him, confess your unbelief, ask for the faith to believe His Word, and the eyes to see the glory and beauty that is there. Ask that God would be more stunning and awe-inspiring than any cheap imitation the world tries to offer you. Ask that He would give you a heart of worship. And then, begin thanking Him for who He is, what He has done, and what He has promised to do. The Lord will honor that step. This is something I have to do on a regular basis to fight against the slow creep of yawning at God.