Bruce Demarest’s book Satisfy Your Soul (NavPress: 1999) continues to be a regular part of my spiritual diet. It’ll make you squirm in some places, but we all need to wriggle out of the craters our souls make when we get lazy. One quote won’t stop buzzing in my ear: “Many Christians are jaded and spiritless because they lack fascination with God. Churches that attempt to relieve spiritual boredom with entertainment vainly mimic the ways of the world” (p116).
There is a way to imitate fascination with God that is not actually such. Churches can easily promote a fascination with feelings about God, but it’s not fascination with God. Folks become easily fascinated with the people on stage who portray fascination with God. But, it’s not fascination with God. I can be fascinated with prayer to God, but not with God.
Spiritual boredom is the fruit of gospel boredom. We don’t need God to do something fresh and exciting to revive us. He’s already done what is necessary for that: crucified and raised the Lord Jesus. That our souls become dull is no fault of God or those regulative principle freaks. It is because we make sanctification and spiritual vitality about something other than the cross. “Sure the cross saved us,” we say, “but we need something more now to keep us fresh.” That’s like telling your wife, “Sure, the honeymoon was great, but I need someone more now to keep the libido fresh. You just don’t do it for me anymore.” Godless jerk.
C.J. Mahaney quotes Jerry Bridges and John Stott in his book The Cross-Centered Life (p15):
“The gospel is not only the most important message in all of history; it is the only essential message in all of history. Yet we allow thousands of professing Christians to live their entire lives without clearly understanding it and experiencing the joy of living by it” (Bridges).
“All around us we see Christians and churches relaxing their grasp on the gospel, fumbling it, and in danger of letting it drop from their hands altogether” (Stott).
I am fairly boring preacher. Our congregational worship is fairly boring (too much so for my taste). But, we must not attempt to manufacture fascination with God. We must seek and believe God to bring the cross back into focus. Our worship is vibrant when the gospel is vibrant in our souls. And God alone can stir those waters.
(Now, could God have provided us a simple, tangible means of keeping all our senses laser-locked on the cross? I thought I read somewhere something about a Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11.26)? If you’re bored with the gospel, humbly take communion. It’ll knock the taste of sin right out of your yap.)