The Trap of Boredom and Complacency

Today I read Deuteronomy 5-7. This book is Moses’ final farewell message to the people of Israel before they enter the promised land. In this passage he reminds them of the ten commandments God gave them and tells them to obey everything God commanded them to do. He also gives instructions for how they should conduct themselves once they enter the promised land, everything from completely destroying all the people and their idols to remembering all the things the Lord has done for them and to serve him only. Knowing how the rest of the story goes it is hard to understand sometimes when reading a passage which goes by quickly yet covers many years to understand why the people would forget and do their own thing. How could they forget all that God had done for them especially when they could hear his voice and see his presence with them?

Even as I think about these things it reminds me how true this is for me and other followers of Christ today. We have this encounter with Christ that sets us on fire. We feel different and start devouring the scriptures and sharing our faith all over the place. Then we start to settle into what it means to be a follower of Christ as a marathon instead of a sprint. We mature a bit and develop habits that help us to stay focused on him and we begin to integrate everything in our lives around our faith. Then we have to work harder to stay connected. The world pulls at us and the reality of life creeps in and begins to distract us and steal our joy. Eventually we get to a place where it is a struggle to stay consistent in our walk with God. Just as the Israelites forgot God and when their own way, we do the same thing today and we have the Holy Spirit living in us.

I think the main enemies we face related to our walk are complacency and boredom. We become complacent with how our life is going and tend to live for excitement which generally ends up being something new or a new event in our lives. Outside of that, we take everything for granted and start coasting through life. As things become more and more predictable and we settle for less, we become bored and find our time with God to be dry and more of a chore than a life giving time with an eternal God. So we give up and look for other things to bring us the joy that can only come from a relationship with God. Rather than pursue the source of true joy we manufacture joy in the things of the world. I have seen this over and over again in my own life and the lives others. When they get going in their time with God and stay consistent in pursuing him, their attitude changes and their whole sense of purpose and connection causes them to feel more fulfilled. But over time they get complacent with it and start to cut corners and tell themselves they are too busy on this day to have their quiet time and one day becomes two, three, until eventually the quit all together. In the middle of their quitting they start to get bored with God and with their lives and either get angry and cranky or they seek joy in other things or events. It is a predictable cycle that if we choose to fight through it, we can find life and fulfillment on the other side.

Lord, help me not get complacent or bored with my life and my pursuit of you. Please help me to always stay focused on what is important and always be sensitive to your quiet voice in my life. Give me a sense of purpose and meaning and help me to use this life you have given me to it’s ultimate fullness. Amen.
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