Think back to when you first became a Christian. The glee on your face, the fire in your burns, the warmth in your heart. As we journey along with Christ and His people, the Christian life can have seasons of mundanity. Some seasons of mundanity last longer than others and this can leave us disillusioned with whether the joy promised in Scripture can be ours. A boring Christian life could make us long for the days of unrighteousness that seemed littered with fun. But to paraphrase John Piper, what is fun about something that will leave us eternally damned? There must be a better way.
On the way to the cross, Jesus stops in the garden of Gethsemane to pray. He takes his three closest disciples with Him to pray. Upon returning to them, He finds them asleep. In response, He says “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). The disciples chose sleep when they were meant to pray. We can often choose sin when righteousness is the better way. When we are regenerated, we are given a new spirit with new affections (Ezekiel 36:26 c.f. 2 Corinthians 5:17). In Christ, we have new tastebuds. This doesn’t mean that all the things we did as unbelievers were sins, but it does mean that we had no desire to please Christ (Isaiah 53:6 c.f. Romans 3:10-12). Now that we are in Christ those tastebuds that have been renewed can often yearn for things that just be distasteful to us. Like someone trying to be consistent with their diet, it can just get boring eating the same thing. A little nibble from the cake of this world won’t hurt, will it?
Sin Has An Appetite
Unlike, incorporating snacks into your diet, sin cannot be digested in controlled amounts. Paul is clear if you live according to the flesh you will die (Romans 8:13). When the Christian life gets boring, it can be tempting to look at the rearview mirror of life and see how fun things used to be. Walking in obedience, fighting sin, and loving your neighbour can be tiresome. It doesn’t always immediately produce fruit and it can cause you to think “what’s the point of persevering?”. The answer we are given when our spiritual walk plateaus is to just fight the stagnation. But what if there is a better way? What if Jesus doesn’t want us to try harder but to deepen our joy? God doesn’t want us to limp our way to glory, forcing ourselves to like Jesus. Instead, God wants us to know this love that caused His Son to die for sinners, receive this love, delight in this love and tell others about this love. Perhaps the reason we have boring periods in our Christian life is that we simply don’t delight in God enough. Maybe we have adopted a Christianity that seeks God for what He can do rather than who He is. If we want a Christian life that is filled with the joy that can engulf the temptations of life, then we need our eyes fixed our eyes on Jesus who walked the road we travel on (Hebrews 12:2). When we do, we will be able to say with the psalmist “… my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation” (Psalm 35:8).