Bored with the Gospel

Tick, tick, tick, tick. The minute hand on the classroom clock made its way ever so slowly up to the number 12. Tick, tick, tick. I felt like I was in physical pain watching, waiting, half listening to what the fourth grade teacher was saying. Tick, tick. I tried playing a game with the clock. I would count the seconds in my head. When I got to 60 I would see if the clock showed another minute had passed. Nope, only 20 seconds. Tick. Finally, freedom! I jumped out of my seat just as the bell rang, grabbed my backpack, and sprinted from the room.

Boredom.

Boredom has two causes: “I don’t care” and “I already know.” Because I had intelligent, caring parents who took an interest in my early education, I spent many years in elementary school bored out of my gourd. I thought I already knew and, frankly, I really didn’t care.

Gospel boredom starts with “I already know.” You’ve heard the Bible stories since you were six; you’ve heard hundreds, maybe thousands of sermons. You already know what they’re going to say. Unfortunately, “I already know” can easily turn into, “I don’t care.” And that’s downright dangerous.

The average length of a marriage that fails is eight years. Eight years is long enough for the shine to rub off, the kids to be out of diapers, and the relationship to have become a boring routine. I’m not aware of any studies that show when people leave the faith, but my own observation is that it seems to correlate with when people leave a marriage.

We know the gospel, even more so than marriage, is a glorious, marvelous, wonderful thing. So, how can we regain the romance? How do we get excited about the gospel again, in a deep and meaningful way? Here are two ways to regain your wonder:

First, explore the details. Awhile back I was having a conversation with my wife when I noticed how graceful her jawline is. You know, the part right under a woman’s ear? After 29 years of marriage, I hadn’t ever really thought of my wife’s jawline. And yet, it’s beautiful. And noticing that little detail changed the way I saw her.

Notice the details in the gospel. It’s easy to say, “Jesus died on the cross for my sin.” But, when was the last time that you really lost yourself in that truth? Meditate on Jesus’ experience in the garden right before his arrest. Imagine what it must have felt like to have lived a sinless life and then suddenly be slammed with the impact of the weight of the sin of the whole world. Think about the agony that caused him to cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

But don’t just focus on the pain. Imagine, too, the glory of the resurrection. Picture in your mind what heaven must be like as Jesus sits on his throne, the very throne he will one day share with you! (Revelation 3:21) Think deeply about what your life would have been like if God hadn’t saved you. What kind of person would you be? What would you be doing? Who would you be with?

Second, buy flowers. It’s easy for me to get into a routine in my relationship with my wife and forget that my actions affect the health of our marriage. Sometimes it’s as simple as buying flowers. A small action that reminds us both of how important she is and what she’s worth to me.

How do you buy flowers for the gospel? You act on it. I don’t mean whipping out the four spiritual laws and button-holing every person you pass on the street. I mean thinking through your day and intentionally planning ways to freely serve another human being. If they ask why you’re doing it, feel free to tell them, but if not, no pressure.

What could you do? Wipe down the sinks in the bathroom at work. Offer to get coffee for someone. Offer to buy lunch for someone. Clean up the conference room after the meeting. Take on a task no one else on your team wants to do. You’re only limited by your own imagination. As you willingly serve others, enjoy the feeling of God’s smile on you.

If you’ve grown bored with the gospel, try spending a week or two consistently exploring the detail and freely serving others. You’ll be amazed at how it will expand your understanding of what God has done for you.

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