Do you ever get bored with church or with your spiritual life? If you say, “Yes, I get bored with my spiritual life all the time,” I want to help you understand the root of that spiritual boredom.
There is one primary reason why people get spiritually bored. It is very simple: Knowledge without application eventually becomes boring and unfulfilling—every time.
If all you do is sit and listen, listen, and listen to the Word without ever taking steps to apply it to your life, you’ll soon reach a place where you’ve heard, heard, and heard so much of the Word that you are sick of hearing it! Instead of anticipating what you might receive from the Lord, you’ll think, Oh, no, another sermon!
But the problem isn’t the Word! God’s Word was meant to be acted on. So if you just sit and listen to more and more sermons, gathering more and more information but never acting on what you’ve heard, you’ll eventually become so oversaturated that you won’t want to hear any more!
If this describes you, it is likely that you are tired of hearing the same ol’ Word over and over again. You probably wish someone would come along to preach or teach you something that you’ve never heard before. You might even find yourself roaming from church to church, seeking someone or something to spice up your spiritual life. However, the problem is not the church, your pastor, or the kind of preaching you are hearing. The problem is you!
You are bored because you’re not doing the Word that you’ve heard preached. Let me tell you the truth: If you will simply do what you have already been told to do, you won’t have time to be bored!
Applying the Word you already know will necessitate that you have a serious prayer life. It will require great discipline; it will demand that you learn to crucify your flesh. In fact, walking in the kind of obedience that God expects of you will take every ounce of your focus. You’ll be so busy trying to obey what you’ve already heard preached that you’ll never have a moment to be bored!
This is why James 1:22 tells us: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” Notice especially the words “hearers only” in the verse above. These words are taken from the Greek word akroates, which was used in classical Greek times to describe people who audited a class rather than taking it for credit.
In other words, these people didn’t attend the class to receive credit for the course. They were simply there to hear the lecture, think about what was taught, and then later discuss it with their friends. But they had no intention of actually applying what they heard!
In addition to being intellectually stimulating, these lectures could be quite entertaining. So these “hearers only” would roam from meeting to meeting because they loved special speakers and the excitement of hearing something they hadn’t heard before. Sometimes they followed their favorite speakers from city to city.
Although the “hearers only” had no intention of applying anything they heard, they loved to gather new information that made them look knowledgeable in the eyes of other people. It was their delight to attend meetings in order to be with the crowd, to have a good laugh, or simply to hear something new. But they never put any action to what they heard, because they were “hearers only.” They weren’t listening to the messages they heard to get credit for it, but simply to have a good time!
This means James 1:22 conveys this idea:
“Don’t be like those who attend meetings and listen to sermons for the sole purpose of being with the crowd or of gathering information that makes them look smart in other people’s eyes….”
Since this is the background to the phrase “hearers only” used in James 1:22, we must take a good look at ourselves and ask:
- Am I serious about the Word of God and its application in my life?
- Or am I simply an “auditor” who has no intention of doing the Word?
- Am I doing something with the Word I’ve heard preached, or am I among those who hear the Word but do not act on what they have heard?
- Does God consider me to be a hearer or a doer of the Word?
The fact is, many people attend church regularly, go to special meetings, read books, listen to teaching tapes, and watch nonstop Christian television. They’ve seen a lot, heard a lot, and they really do know a lot—yet they do nothing with what they have heard. That’s why they eventually become bored with spiritual matters. They haven’t acted on what they’ve heard or put into practice the information they’ve gathered; therefore, they’ve become oversaturated and spiritually numb.
Don’t let this happen to you. Make the decision to be a “doer of the Word and not a hearer only.” Receive deep into your heart the truths you’ve heard preached over the years and let them begin to work in your life. You can be sure of this one thing: If you determine to obey every scriptural truth that’s ever been preached to you, you’ll never have time to become spiritually bored again!