It’s really easy, especially in seminary, to trivialize the Bible; it’s really easy to find yourself in a place wherein you merely read the Bible to glean information. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself in a mode which is conducive to merely constructing timelines, remembering dates and names and what happens when. Of course, all of these things are good things; great things, even! But I’ve found it increasingly easy over the months and years to let this view of Scripture, at least practically, be sufficient for me.
I realized last night that any complacency in my own life, at least from a spiritual perspective, can mostly be traced back to viewing supernatural things through natural lenses. Sometimes, I go to church to worship with the living, breathing, body of Christ which is itself a testament to His great and finished work on the Cross, and I just sort of go through the motions, doing what I’m supposed to do without engaging my heart. When I open up my Bible, instead of seeing God’s own Word, preserved by His Spirit in the church throughout the ages to speak to His people, I sometimes see merely facts. True ones, of course, but facts that I’ve separated from who I am and who God is somehow.
I think there are a number of reasons I do this, not least of which is the fact that if I, in my incredibly prideful heart, become affected, then I’m forced to reckon with the wreckage and sin in my own self. That’s supremely uncomfortable. So maybe on some level it’s a pragmatic thing. Or maybe on another level, it’s an idolatry thing. Perhaps I worship my own perceived self-sufficiency or my own spiritual comfort and status quo too much to actually worship meaningfully. Ultimately, I’m not super sure. It’s probably a combination of those and many other things.
Ultimately, I don’t think this is something only seminary students struggle with. I think it’s something we all struggle with. As hackneyed as this quote is, I think C.S. Lewis is right when he writes in The Weight of Glory that, “it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
I know that's definitely the case in my own soul. It’s that I at times make light of things which are very weighty, while making much of things which don’t really matter at all. I fail to see God coming to me in Scripture. In fact, Vern Poythress notes that "In all these revelations from God [in Scripture], he actually does make himself known. In fact, through the revelation of his character in the created world, every human being knows him.” God, the one God in three persons whom we worship in the context of the church and who reveals Himself to us in the Scriptures is indeed the one who reshapes our desires to match His, to love what He loves and to desire what He desires.
This isn’t one of those pieces that ends with a heading like, “8 Ways You Can Stop Being Complacent in Your Spiritual Life,” 7 of which probably aren’t helpful. Rather, I think the best way to conclude is to thank God for His steadfast love of us, and for His faithfulness even amid times when our hearts aren't affected completely. Perhaps on our end, the best thing to do is to continue living the Christian life while asking God to warm our hearts and minds, all the while becoming more and more acquainted spiritually with the person of Christ and with the great love with which He came to us. May we have a theophanic view of things important, and may we not be discouraged during times of spiritual dryness. Just some off-the-cuff thoughts.