Breaking Out of the Boring Christian Life

I was in my small group and a lady said, "I've been in church all my life. I read the Bible. I pray. I stay out of trouble. And honestly, it's pretty boring."

You've probably had that thought from time to time. Maybe not all the time. But some of the time.

And she's right.

If that's all there is to living the Christian life, then it is pretty boring.

Read the Bible. Say your prayers. Stay out of trouble.

It's a recipe for a boring Christian life.

First, I want you to know that those three things are important.

Reading the Bible is important.
Our faith teaches us that God encourages, corrects, and instructs us through the stories and statements in Scripture. But getting you to read the Bible isn't what Christianity is about.

Saying your prayers is important.
We believe that praying for something or someone gets God engaged and participating in a way that he wouldn't be if we didn't pray. But getting you to say your prayers isn't what Christianity is about.

Staying out of trouble is important.
It's hard to believe someone who says they really want to honor God when they're busy doing the things God says don't do. But getting you to stay out of trouble isn't what Christianity is about.

Those three things are important. They're good. But they're missing something.

On their own, they are the recipe for a boring Christian life.

They're missing the fact that followers of Jesus want their friends to follow Jesus.

The solution to the boring Christian life is to notice that everyday you're around people who don't know about Jesus. Or, if they know about him, then they don't believe in him or trust him or follow him.

And you have an incredible opportunity to change that through your words and actions around those people. That makes everyday an adventure that's worth waking up for!

Look at what we're told about Matthew in the Bible.

Jesus is walking along and sees Matthew, a tax collector. Jesus says, "Follow me." Matthew does. Then we're told, "Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners" (Matthew 9:10).

What does this new follower of Jesus do?
He invites his friends over for a dinner party because he wants them to get together with Jesus too.

Followers of Jesus want their friends to follow Jesus.

"But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with such scum?'" (Matthew 9:11).

The Pharisees are living the boring Christian life. For them, it's all about reading the Bible, saying your prayers, and staying out of trouble.

That's boring.

And when you're bored with faith, you stop reaching out to other people. Instead pulling people in, you start pushing people out.

That's why the Pharisees were complaining about Jesus.

What does Jesus do?

"When Jesus heard this, he said, 'I haven't come to call those who think they are good, but those who know they sinners'" (Matthew 9:13b).

Jesus gets right to the point. You're living a boring Christian life. I'm here to pull in the people you're pushing out. Matthew has it right: Followers of Jesus want their friends to follow Jesus.

And that's the key to breaking out of the boring Christian life.

Time with God: Buried with Christ, Raised in New Life


You were created to pursue an authentic relationship with your Creator.
This is a tool to help you do that.

Monday
Read: Acts 8:34-39
Think: If you haven't been baptized, what's stopping you?
Pray: Ask God for the courage to go public with your faith.
Live: Get baptized.

Tuesday
Read: 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
Think: How is the body of Christ (the church) like a human body?
Pray: Ask God to bring unity to your church and to your relationships.
Live: Remember that everyone is important and equal.

Wednesday
Read: Colossians 2:12-14
Think: How does God make us alive with Christ?
Pray: Thank God for forgiving your sins, and raising you to new life.
Live: The old you has been buried; the new you has come alive.

Thursday
Read: Romans 6:1-6
Think: Should you keep on sinning?
Pray: Ask God to help you live your new life in a way that pleases him.
Live: Remember who you are now: you are dead to sin and alive to God.

Friday
Read: Matthew 28:18-20
Think: Why does Jesus say to baptize people who become disciples?
Pray: Ask God to help you share the Good News about Jesus.
Live: Tell someone about God's goodness and faithfulness today.

Time with God: Forgiven and Free


You were created to pursue an authentic relationship with your Creator.
This is a tool to help you do that.

Monday
Read: Romans 5:6-11
Think: Does God wait for people to straighten up before he loves them?
Pray: Thank God for his great love and forgiveness.
Live: Be happy (rejoice) that you're not an enemy of God; you're his friend.

Tuesday
Read: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Think: Why do some people see the cross as foolish?
Pray: Ask God to show his strength through your weakness.
Live: Be confident that God knows what he's doing.

Wednesday
Read: 1 Timothy 2:5-6
Think: Have you ever thought of forgiveness as God's gift to the world?
Pray: Thank God that he offers forgiveness, freedom, and reconciliation.
Live: Remember that God wants the best for you.

Thursday
Read: Romans 8:1-4
Think: Why was the Law of Moses unable to save us?
Pray: Thank God for making his power and presence available to you.
Live: Follow the leading of God's Holy Spirit rather than your sinful nature.

Friday
Read: Psalm 40:1-5
Think: What do you wish God would do right now in your life?
Pray: Ask God to help you, to lift you up, to give you strength.
Live: Tell someone about God's goodness and faithfulness today.

Forgiven & Free

God loves you.
He wants the best for you.
He wants you to do great things with your life.

I believe those things are true about every single person. It doesn't matter whether you are young, old, black, white, rich, or poor. Those 3 things are true.

God loves you. He wants the best for you.
He wants you to do great things with your life.

But here's something I've observed:
We have a problem.

The problem is that we've gotten off track.
We've all had times when we forget about God's love for us.
We've all had times when we choose to do what God says don't do.
We've all had times when choose not to do what God says to do.

That's a problem because when those things are happening, they cut off the flow of God's love and power and presence in our lives.

The Bible has a word for that. It's called sin.

We were created to receive God's love and goodness and glory in our lives, and then to reflect it into the world around us. But we've chosen things, said things, and done things that are out of line with that. All of us have.

So the Bible describes our condition:
"Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard" (Romans 3:23 NLT).

We're all in the same boat.
The flow of God's love and power and presence to us has been blocked.

God could've pulled away at any point along the way. He could've said, "Good grief. You messed up. Again. And again. We're done. It's over. You're out."

But he does something else instead:
"But God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous" (Romans 3:24a).

He doesn't leave us; he pursues us. It's called grace.
He declares that we are righteous, accepted and united with him.
He clears the blockage and gets the flow going again.

How does he do it?
"He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins" (Romans 3:24b).

Jesus set us free from the penalty for our sins.

I like how this video explains it. The video is called, "Falling Plates."




Sin (all the times we get it wrong) requires justice to be done.
People can't just do whatever they want without consequences. If you're playing baseball in the street and you break your neighbor's window, she might forgive you, but someone has to pay to fix the window.

According to a theologian named John Stackhouse, "The Bible speaks of sin this way: not just as a rupture in a relationship, but as an objective state of affairs that requires reparation. There is a debt still to be paid..." (Can God Be Trusted?, 136).

Someone has to make things right. We can't do it ourselves. So Jesus gave his life; he paid the price for us to forgive our sin and make us right with God. On that basis, when we believe, God declares that we are righteous:
"God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood" (Romans 3:25a).

Jesus died to forgive you and set you free.
He's offering you that gift, but you have to receive it and accept it for yourself.
The flow of God's love and power and presence can flow into your life again.


Related Posts:
Jesus +
Abba, Father

Time with God: How To Make a Difference


You were created to pursue an authentic relationship with your Creator.
This is a tool to help you do that.

Monday
Read: Matthew 5:33-37
Think: Are you a truthful person?
Pray: Ask God to help you live as a person of integrity.
Live: Do what you say you'll do.

Tuesday
Read: Matthew 7:1-5
Think: Is there something in your life that needs to change?
Pray: Ask God to help you so you can help others.
Live: Don't be a hypocrite.

Wednesday
Read: Matthew 7:17-20
Think: Are your actions producing good fruit or bad fruit?
Pray: Ask God to help you live his way.
Live: Do good.

Thursday
Read: 1 Thessalonians 2:7-13
Think: Does your life point people to God or away from God?
Pray: Ask God to increase your influence with the people around you.
Live; Act with integrity. That's the key to influence.

Friday
Read: 1 Timothy 4:12
Think: Do you think that you're too young to make a difference?
Pray: Ask God to help you lead the way with love, faith, and purity.
Live: Be a positive example to the people around you.