Why does entertainment fascinate the human spirit? Why do certain movies capture our imaginations? It's because there is something in our human fabric that longs to be transported beyond our mundane living. Hollywood tries to grab our dreams and passions through films-drama, adventure, romance-and does a fairly good job. But these are just counterfeits of the real drama, adventure, and romance that are a part of God's design.
One of the biggest problems the Church faces right now is spiritual boredom. Why? Because believers were never made for a program, an institution, or a weekly pew-warming ceremony. Christians were never made to be satisfied by a three-point outline that contains just enough advice to get over the "hump" of the week. The human heart was made for passion. It was created for relationship. It was designed to experience the fullness of God.
I have a friend who is a modern-day Indiana Jones. I've known him for years, and he's truly a hero. He lives in the jungles of Mexico. He has pioneered churches in uncharted areas, forged raging rivers, been beaten for the Gospel, and even seen people raised from the dead. But what's refreshing about him is that there isn't a religious bone in his body. He's in love with God, and that love is awesome.
Young men are drawn to this man. He gets countless letters from guys around the world asking him to mentor them. Why do they seek him? Because many of these men have an unanswered longing for adventure. They crave it. And when they see someone living the life they dream about, they want to be a part of it.
I believe there is an insatiable desire for adventure in most men. Some women have it too. This desire was placed there by God and was designed to be fulfilled by Him. But instead of letting Him fulfill their deepest desires, most believers try to bury them and just survive. They settle for a lifestyle that falls far short of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Their lifestyle often involves a cubicle, a nine-to-five job, and a commute back and forth to work.
Left unsatisfied, the hunger for adventure manifests itself in different forms. Men become sports enthusiasts in their quest for adventure. They track the statistics of major league baseball players, follow the March Madness of college basketball, and with pride wear jerseys bearing the numbers of celebrity athletes. Some become biking enthusiasts or acquire all the latest camping gear for a weekend getaway in the mountains. In essence, they live out their craving for adventure in their off time or through the lives of others. That's one reason stadiums are packed, Monday Night Football has such a huge following, and the Super Bowl is, well, the Super Bowl.
Just as men were made for adventure, women were made for romance. They long for deep, intimate, heart-dancing relationships. Thus, women read romantic novels, watch romantic movies, and wait for their knight in shining armor to appear. Whether watching a "chick flick" or reading a best-selling novel about the undying love between hero and heroine, most women have a soft spot for story and intrigue. They long for true love and passionate expression. Something deep within women's hearts craves romance.
Some men enjoy romance, and some women seek adventure-so the lines are not hard and fast-but the general stereotypes reverberate loudly. Whether you long for romance or adventure or both, God created those desires. They were instilled within you from the time you were born. The secret is to unleash them in your pursuit of God. Whether it's a desire for challenging experiences or intimacy-whatever that Spirit-driven desire is-it's meant to be awakened and answered in your relationship with God.
The Creator of the universe-the one who created things that man has yet to discover-never wanted you to live a life of perpetual boredom. Religion is boring. Living with a holy, "wild" God is exciting. He's out there. I mean, out there. And He doesn't do things you expect Him to. Knights in shining armor don't exist, but God does. And He provides you with enough awesome promises, hope, and strength to endure anything and take you anywhere.
If I were God, I would have had a major light show to usher my Son to the planet. It would have been complete with a booming voice, flashing lights, and sound effects-a show that only God could pull off. And yet our God is so out there that He showed up as an innocent baby!
God is often unpredictable. He loves to invade everyday life. He's passionate and jealous for you and your time. Sometimes He comes to you when you least expect it-when you're taking out the trash, changing diapers, driving down the highway, sitting in a class, or watching a movie.
He doesn't reveal Himself because you do things the right way or you're a super-saint. He does this to remind you that His love and desire for you aren't based on what you do for Him but on who He is. He's deeply moved by you. His unpredictable love is meant to fascinate you and captivate your heart with His passion for you. He's not boring. He's adventuresome. He's romantic.
We serve a holy, wild God, and He doesn't ask for consent to invade our lives. He can barge in at any moment. He can completely surprise us. A few years ago, I was getting ready to go to Australia for thirteen weeks of ministry and decided to spend some time with the Lord before my departure. I love to walk and pray outside and had found a secluded lake surrounded by lots of trees.
I spent a few hours praying, contemplating God's heart, and sensing His soft presence. I got in the car and began to drive home. And wham! God's presence was so strong that I could hardly drive. I had just spent two and a half hours in the woods; He could have touched me there, but He waited until I was in the car driving home. Why? Who knows?
Some of you may struggle with this concept, but I believe God is constantly looking for ways to invade your life. I mean this in a good sense. Allowing yourself to open up to His invasion is the key to overcoming spiritual boredom. God will never allow Himself to be put into a nice, neat little box. He is the Father of surprises. Begin asking Him to reveal Himself to you in new ways. Your spiritual walk will never be the same.
Adapted from the upcoming book Enjoying God: Experiencing Intimacy With the Heavenly Father, releasing nationwide in September from Relevant Books.