In the following article, Guest Contributor Charity discusses some of the causes of spiritual stagnation and how to become challenged vs. bored.
I spent years being bored in church. It was a social interaction more than a learning experience for me. Oh, I heard useful things. I even filed them away for future reference. But my spirituality never seemed to go anywhere.
Sometimes stagnation happens when a lack of effort is involved. Relationships can stagnate. Interests can stagnate. Faith can stagnate. But none of them have to! We can keep our spiritual life from stagnation through effort and determination.
If you feel “bored” in your spiritual life, consider these causes:
The Salvation Question: if church and Bible reading seem boring, maybe it is because you don’t have a personal relationship with Christ. Think about it. If you were not friends with someone, would being around them every day (or once a week) not bore you? Sure, you might come to know them a bit, or maybe even become friends in time, but you wouldn’t get much out of it for awhile.
Knowing whether or not you are saved boils down to two key things: your true acceptance of just how depraved you actually are (thus needing a savior) and whether or not your life has changed. I get it. I said I needed a savior, and might have even believed it, for years before I figured out what a scumbag I am, in comparison to Christ. I never really thought I was that bad. I was a good and respectful child. I never got into trouble as a teenager, and was never rebellious… or so I thought. But I have a rebellious heart, and that is enough to condemn me.
Scripture says you will know believers through their fruit: what they put out into the world, and how they change. Are you harder on your own sins than you were before you said yes to Christ? Are you continually, daily aware of how flawed you are, and how Christ’s mercy saves you from condemnation? Do you long to be closer to Him, and further from the things of this world? Does your life reflect His goodness in it, in how you treat one another, in how you handle conflict, and in your worldview? If not, you need to do some soul-searching.
Putting in Effort: it is the easiest thing in the world to be “bored.” But as my mother would say, “Boredom is a result of your laziness. If you weren’t lazy, you would find something productive to do.” If you are bored in your spiritual life, consider how much effort you are putting into it. Does your prayer time consist of actual dialogue with God, or is it formulaic? Do you take time and think about what you want to say to Him, or just take for granted that He’s there? Do you really put much time into your reading of scripture, and enter into it with an open heart and willingness to consider what you’ve read? Or do you just read a verse or two on your way out the door in the morning and turn your mind to other things?
Challenging Churches: the biggest problem in a spiritual walk losing momentum can be getting stuck in a church that does not challenge you. If your heart is right on Sunday mornings, maybe it is the church that is at fault. We get stuck in churches for a variety of reasons. Our family goes there. We know the pastor. We have always been in that church. It needs us. We serve with the children, or teach AWANA. But while God does ask us to be involved, He also wants us to be spiritually fed. If no one is refilling your spiritual tank, eventually you run out of gasoline. This isn’t to say that church is solely responsible for your spiritual growth, nor should church attendance be based on if it makes you feel good or not, but oftentimes God will move us in different directions, and it’s important to pay attention and respond when He does.
If your church doesn’t smack you over the head each week with a two-by-four, consider looking for another church. Not one that makes you feel good, but that makes you want to study your Bible more, that reminds you of the greatness of God and His mercy, and that asks you to become smarter in your spiritual walk. The right church can grow your faith by leaps and bounds. It can restore the fire to a smoldering heart. It can open doors and tear the veil from your eyes, enabling you to see God as you never thought possible. But like any aspect of a relationship – and that is what your spiritual walk is – it requires effort, willingness, and determination.
Your spirituality is a relationship with the sovereign God of the universe. Treat it as such, and you will never be bored.
More about Charity –
Charity is a twenty-something who spends most of her time writing — for work and for fun. She loves costume dramas, Siamese cats (and every other kind), and obsessing over history. She is currently the editor of Femnista, an online magazine aimed at young women. You can read it and more at www.charitysplace.com.
Art Credit: Pinterest