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Is holiness boring?


I’m disturbed. And I don’t know what to do about it.

R. C. Sproul says in chapter two of The Holiness of God that one main reason people stop going to church is because it’s boring.

I get that. Sometimes I don’t want to go for that reason, too. I hate being bored.

But it bothers me. Because I know God is definitely, certainly, positively NOT boring. And if church is where we meet with others meeting with God, why do we let it get boring?

Sproul talks about Isaiah seeing God in Isaiah 6. It was an experience far from boring. The foundations trembled, smoke was everywhere, angels flew in and out, His glory was blinding. And Isaiah quaked (a definite sign of NOT being bored).

When Moses wanted to see God face to face (Exodus 33:19-23), God told him He would be too much for Moses. So He showed him His back instead. And even then it left Moses’ face so bright that other people couldn’t look directly at him.

No, God is not boring.

God is holy. And holy is not boring.

Holy is so exciting we can hardly bear it. When we stand next to holiness, we quake. Our own sinfulness is so horrid in comparison that God in His mercy reveals Himself to us slowly. And reveals us to ourselves slowly.

We need God if we’re going to see either Him or ourselves. And He must purify us before we can. After Isaiah cried out, “Woe is me! I am a man of unclean lips!” (Isaiah 6:5), his guilt was taken away and his sin atoned for. He followed that with, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:7-8).

Only a holy God could make an unclean man useful. Only a holy God can make any of us useful. It’s a wonder to be amazed at, not a boredom to be yawned at.

So how can we keep our churches from being boring?

Maybe we need to stop talking so much around the things of God, and instead start talking more to God. Stop pointing fingers at each other, and instead lift hands up to Him. Stop looking inward, and instead look upward.

And see Him, the Holy God. There would never be a dull moment.

* * * The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

How would you solve boredom at church?

Meet us at Challies to discuss Chapter 2, Holy, Holy, Holy.

Previous chapters

Next week
Chapter 3: The Fearful Mystery



Sue said...

I agree we should start talking more to God, and looking toward him. And He is a Holy God!Thanks for sharing these inspiring thoughts.

Melissa said...

I agree...we need to be enamored with His Holiness and cry with the angels' chorus, "Holy, Holy Holy!"

In studying some of His names I have definitely been kindled afresh to simply stand in awe, not for personal application because I need to get something out of the Word, but because I was created to worship and He is due that honor!

Kath said...

Thanks for this reminder Lisa,

Kevin Sorensen said...

Good thoughts, Lisa. Thanks for that.

I've attended a couple of worship services where those leading the singing were wishing that God would show up like He did in the days of the Bible, that the place would shake, be filled with smoke and lightning, and then we could all rejoice and dance in the aisles.

I wanted to jump up and shout, "Be careful what you wish for!" If God showed up in our church in that manner, our first reaction wouldn't be to jump up and shout. Every single occurrence in the Scriptures, when someone is confronted with God's awesome holiness, they fall on their faces and cry out for mercy.

If we could just incorporate a bit more of that into our worship of God, I know He would be far more pleased with our worship, than with so many of the flippant attitudes many bring to church on Sundays.

Remain steadfast and true.

Lisa notes... said...

Sue and Kath,
I find I constantly need to refocus and remind myself to talk more to God and to look to him. I can get so easily distracted...

Some of my favorite songs have “Holy, holy, holy” in them. And I know what you mean about studying His names – the more I dug into studying names, the more I was totally amazed at the breadth and depth of God. We can't even begin to understand him; it leaves us in awe and worship of him.

Lisa notes... said...

Ha. I agree with you that if God showed up like that, we’d all be “undone” like Isaiah was. On the flip side, I’ve been in services where I wonder where the worship went. Too often my tribe has chosen to underdo for fear of overdoing worship (as if it’s even possible to overdo worship to a holy God!).

Thanks for your encouragement. It’s nice having others to read along with and share ideas.

Mrs. David Hankins said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on boredom! Hope this adds to the conversation a little...

A couple of ideas about the causes for boredom with church.

1) Indwelling sin.

..."my indwelling sin stands in the way of my full satisfaction in God. It opposes and perverts my pursuit of God. It opposes by making other things look more desirable than God. And it perverts by making me think I am pursuing joy in God when, in fact, I am in love with his gifts...The full enjoyment of God is my ultimate home, but I am still far off and only on the way" (pg. 14, When I Don't Desire God by John Piper).

2) The lack of God-centered, Gospel-focused, Biblical teaching, worship, and fellowship. Too often, pastors spend more time telling stories that have a warm, fuzzy feeling than expounding upon the Scriptures. Too often, worship is plagued by "I-me-my" syndrome rather than looking to the Cross of Christ and all that He has done for me. We need to mine the depths of Scripture together.

Christ died to solve the problem. By God's grace, we can cry out to Him. In the strength of His Spirit, we dig into the Scriptures and cry out to Him for illumination. We read good books that help us fight for joy and help us to fight to treasure God above all else.

Lisa notes... said...

Mrs. DH,
Excellent. You point to two things addressed in this chapter: that (1) we’re sinful, and (2) we’re not looking directly at God. Looking at the cross and accepting His gift there solves both of those problems. Thanks for your thoughts.

Brenda said...

Catching up on your blog and thought it was funny- the pastor at The Rock used that story yesterday about Moses wanting to see God... and p.s. I wasn't bored at church. Ha. Now, perhaps years of the same thing are another reason for boredom.

Lisa notes... said...

Glad you weren't bored. You've got a point that years of the "same thing" can definitely make boredom set in. Which is another reason church should NOT be boring because God is always up to NEW things, all the time, changing things in our lives, our character, our relationships, etc.

So when church is boring, we need to seriously rethink how we're "doing" church and whether we're missing out on God in it...hmmm...


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