Struggling with staleness?
I flick the pages of my Bible. I see Romans 5:6: ‘while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ I flick a bit further and find Romans 8:1, Philippians 3:8-10…
I keep flicking.
They’re all juicy, gospel verses – they proclaim the best possible news. But inside, my heart feels nothing.
I can’t say along with David: ‘Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!’ (Psalm 34:8). Because it feels like I haven’t tasted or seen.
This staleness is probably familiar to most Christians, but…why?
Well, instead of weeks of gritting-your-teeth frustration, I’d encourage you to confront another question: are you seeing yourself as better than you are?
Seeing yourself properly
The phone rings – it’s the bank, calling in your loan again. Your account’s empty. The sound of bailiff’s knocking float into your mind. Desperate, you dial a different number…
‘Hello?’ Your dad picks up the phone. He offers to pay.
In that moment, how real is your dad’s kindness? How loving?
Similarly, David ‘tastes’ God’s goodness in Psalm 34 because he knew he was a ‘poor man’ (6) in trouble and God rescued him (1 Samuel 21:12-15).
Only when you see your need can you see and savour God.
Seeing God properly
Reading those bible verses should be like hearing God on the phone: ‘I’ve already paid.’ Because we too were poor, and Jesus took our debt:
‘…he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.’ 2 Corinthians 8:9
Before we can taste that joy, we need to see ourselves as we really are without God: facing death and crippled by sin (Ephesians 2:12).
No wonder David says: ‘let the humble hear and be glad’ (Psalm 34:2).
How do we do that? As we read the truth about Jesus, we ask God to take away our delusions of goodness and trust the Spirit to bring it alive in our hearts.
Maybe you’ve been made redundant. Maybe you’re off because of stress. Maybe you’ve finished in education and are reeling off job applications.
Or maybe, like me, you’re just not too sure what you want to do.
There are many emotional difficulties during a time of unemployment. One of them almost kept me from writing this article: shame.
“It looks like a virus.”
The doctor took the wooden stick out of my throat. “Go home and rest. That’s all you can do.”
That sounds easy. But it wasn’t. I would’ve found it far easier if she’d diagnosed it as man-flu – if ‘all I could do’ was get back to work.
“Are you looking forward to your new role?”
My colleagues were asking the obvious question as I came to the end of my old job.
“Yes!” I responded enthusiastically. But actually, this simple response didn’t really capture the mixture of emotions I felt.