The assumption is this: One of the main reasons that the world and the church are awash in lust and pornography (by men and women—30% of internet pornography is now viewed by women), fornication, adultery, masturbation, exhibitionism, homosexuality, bestiality, rape, and endless sexual innuendo in all media—one of the reasons we are awash in all this is that our lives are intellectually and emotionally disconnected from infinite, soul-staggering grandeur. Inside and outside the church we are drowning in a sea of triviality, pettiness, banality, and silliness. Television is trivial. Radio is trivial. Conversation is trivial. Education is trivial. Christian books are trivial. Worship styles are trivial. It is inevitable that the human heart, which was made to be staggered with terrifyingly joyous dread and peace by an infinitely untouchable, embracing God—it is inevitable that such a heart, drowning in the all-pervasive, blurry boredom of banal entertainment, will reach for the best buzz that life can give: sex.
The deepest cure to our pitiful addictions is not any mental strategies—and I believe in them and have my own. The deepest cure is to be intellectually and emotionally staggered by the infinite, everlasting, unchanging sovereignty, holiness, wrath, justice, wisdom, truth, and mercy of God. And sex is just one of the hundreds of day-to-day issues you face that will overwhelm you and debase your life without this kind of encounter with the living God.
The above quote is from John Piper, and is along the same line as Beth Moore’s teachings in “When Godly People do Ungodly Things,” which I know several of us have read and greatly appreciated.
So often we fall into sin simply out of boredom—we have forgotten the amazing adventure to which we are called when we become children of the King! Instead of searching for ways to “make it through the day,” let’s find new ways to forsake the trivial and dig into the unsearchable riches of Christ. Reading this short quote challenged and reminded me that our walk with the Lord is not a journey set on auto-pilot or even cruise control—it takes work on our part to not be bored. When I read Piper’s take on boredom, I was reminded of one my kids in my After School Program. One afternoon Sarah and I were blessed to witness a living illustration of the culture in which we live: As this young girl spun in circles in the middle of the room, she declared, “I’m bored! Someone entertain me!”
How many times do we make similar declarations to the God of the Universe? I know I am guilty of desiring to be cosmically entertained on a regular basis. Our culture has become one of passive entertainment; and this notion is sneaking into our spiritual lives. The emphasis on emotion and experience in worship has led to a generation of God worshipers who think they are not getting from God all that is theirs if they are not “feelin’ it.” Many more have given up completely on a life of freedom through Christ because they are in such bondage to the sins of this world. So many have bought into Satan’s lie that sex is the ultimate pleasure and fulfillment. When they indulge in any of the above mentioned sexual sins and experience nothing but shame and heartache, they think, “if this is the best there is, what hope do I have for happiness in this life?” What we do not understand is that the Creator of the experience is so much more fulfilling than the experience itself! This applies to anything, not just sex. As much as I love hiking and enjoying creation, that experience is not to be worshiped in and of itself. Rather, any experience we enjoy should direct our attention to the Creator of that experience and draw us into a deeper amazement and appreciation of Him.
Just like I sat down with my little friend at After School and explained that it’s more valuable to learn how to entertain yourself instead of waiting to be passively entertained by another, God desires that we learn to grow and be amazed by Him through our own work and not just through the spoon feeding of others. Maturity means moving past passivity and taking an active role in your growth and “entertainment.”
I have learned the last couple of years that the cure for the common bore is not more television or music or internet. In fact, I have become culturally illiterate (I failed my friend Salida last week in a moment of urgent need when I couldn’t tell her who was voted off of American Idol the previous night!). But while I couldn’t tell you the winners of American Idol or Survivor or Dancing with the Stars, I am certainly far from bored. And my lack of boredom comes mainly from ridding myself of the trivial entertainment of this world and devoting my time to the infinitely endless task of growing in the knowledge of my infinitely endless Saviour. In fact, boredom usually occurs when I am in a rut spiritually and I find myself watching more TV or spending more time surfing the internet. We are bored when we turn our brains off and demand that someone entertain us. This quote reminded me that I am accountable for my own boredom—and my own enjoyment of the Saviour. It challenged me to find ways this week to be staggered and overwhelmed by a new understanding of our heavenly Father.