I love the Olympics and have been watching them whenever I can over the last week. Much to my chagrin, one of the things that I just learned this year was the price of tickets to see the events. For the most part, it seems any chance that I would see the Olympics live is gone—it’s way too expensive!
But after finding out the cost of attending, I was all the more amazed by some of the people who are there. More than once I have seen people who appeared flat-out bored. And this wasn’t during the waiting in between events. We’re talking at the revelation of a final gymnastics score, the finish of a close volleyball game, or the placement on the medal stand of a complete underdog. At these key moments that have me gasping and cheering, and (okay, I admit it) sometimes getting teary-eyed, they are half asleep! They are staring with a glazed-over look, or scrolling on their phone, or even leaning back with their eyes closed. All around them, people are cheering and yelling and jumping for joy! How can they sit there, lifeless and uncaring?
One answer I think is that they have forgotten what they have. They have forgotten that they have the resources to attend such an event when so many do not. They have forgotten that they not only have the resources but the time to go to such an event. They have also forgotten that sometimes they are actually seeing history being made as records are broken and the spirits of entire countries are sometimes lifted or crushed.
As Christians, I think we often fall into the same problem: we have forgotten what we have. We get bored at church. We get lazy in pursuing holiness. We nod off as our mind wanders during our morning devotions. We shrug our shoulders at the thought of people suffering forever in hell. We nod politely as others draw it our attention, but live carelessly as we think about the call to share Christ. We talk passionately about sports, politics, and business, but our eyes glaze over at the mention of anything with theological depth. We wonder what we will have for lunch, yawning slightly as a preacher tries to plumb the depths of God’s word. Why is this so for God’s people? Sometimes it’s certainly because we’ve forgotten what we have.
We have forgotten that we are rebels at heart, who deserve the just judgment of an infinitely glorious God (Rom 1:18-22). We have forgotten that apart from his grace we are dead in our sins, enslaved to the lusts of our hearts, and are held captive under the sway of the world and the one who rules this sinful age (Eph 2:1-3). We have forgotten that is by God’s mercy and love alone that we can find forgiveness with him (Exod 34:6-7). We have forgotten the depth of our debt of sin, which no amount of works or treasure from us could satisfy (Matt 18:21-27). We have forgotten that it was the precious blood of God’s own Son that makes us right with him (1 Pet 1:18-19). We have forgotten that salvation is by faith, not works (Eph 2:8-9). We have forgotten that God’s people are both his servants as well as his children (Gal 4:4-7). We have forgotten that our adoption comes with the gift of God’s own Spirit to indwell us and empower us with new life (Rom 8:1-17). We have forgotten that God is graciously changing us into the image of his glorious Son (Rom 8:29). We have forgotten that we are given a family with which to live for God amidst the pain and toil of this sinful age (Eph 2:11-22). We have forgotten the amazing world that awaits us—a new heaven and new earth, where God himself dwells among his people in unending love (Rev 21:1-27). We have forgotten that all of this has been revealed to us in a book; a book from the very lips of God (2 Tim 3:16).
Perhaps if we spent more time remembering what we have in Christ, we wouldn’t look so lifeless as we live under the name “Christian.”