Jesus connected us. Deal with it.
JULY 9, 2020
Jesus connected us, deal with it. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
It’s for freedom that Christ set us free and Key Life is here to bring you Biblical teaching that encourages you to never give it to slavery again. Our teacher on Key Life is Steve Brown. He’s an author, broadcaster and seminary professor who is sick of phony religion.
Thank you Matthew. We’re talking about the dark night of the soul, Acedia, boredom with Jesus. And we’re, we’ve been spending a lot of broadcast on that particular subject, what it is, where it comes from, what do you do when you got it? And that’s what we’re talking about this week, and we’ll finish up with that. And next week, Friday, Pete will be in and we’ll answer questions. And then the next week, or the week after, depending on when Zach’s going to be in, I’m gonna talk about what good it is. Everything has a purpose. Did you know that? I mean, everything has a purpose and we’re going to talk about what’s the purpose of a dark night of a soul, about Acedia, about losing one’s passion. But yesterday, if you were listening, I am going to test you on this material. So I hope you’re taking notes. Yesterday, we talked, we added to our list of what you can do about Acedia. Rip off a mask, run to the quiet, remember the past, and then affirm the truth and be astonished by it. Let me, that’s Psalm 42:8, when the psalmist is in the middle of this awful time. And it’s really awful. He stops and says
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me
You go, what are you crazy? No, he’s not crazy. He’s affirming truth, truth that he doesn’t at the moment feel, truth that doesn’t seem to be working for him right then. But nevertheless, it’s true. And he affirms that truth. Let me give you a great quote from Karl Barth. Uh, I don’t always walk in the roads where he walked, but when I was in graduate school, and very close to jumping off a bridge, Karl Barth, because he took Jesus seriously and because he took the scriptures seriously, was an anchor for me. So there are things that you know, where I can’t go with him, but he was profound. He wrote volume after volume, after volume of Church Dogmatics. And it’s, he’s, he’s an incredible theologian and he loved Jesus. You’ve heard that quote before, when somebody asked him what he had learned from all of his years, he was an old man, what he had learned in all of his studies and all of his books and all of the dogmatics and he said, I’ve learned, Jesus loves me–this I know, for the Bible tells me so. And I thought, oh my, and that’s why I like him. At any rate, let me give you a quote.
We cannot pursue dogmatics without this standard, the standard of holy scripture being kept in sight. We must always be putting the question, What is the evidence? Not the evidence of my thoughts. Not the evidence of my heart, but the evidence of the apostles and the prophets, the evidence of God’s self evidence.
Oh, and he said it better than I could. When you’re going through this period. Remember, remember the truth, uh, study the scriptures. Even if it’s boring to you, take notes on the scriptures, learn something new about the God you worship, even if you don’t feel it. And even for a little while, if you’re not even sure you believe it, do it anyway, because the truth is important. That’s why the Psalmist said in the 42nd Psalm by day, the Lord commands his steadfast love. And by night his song with it, how do you know that? Because he would say if he were here and I would be interviewing him because dummy, it’s true. It’s absolutely true. Well, let me tell you something else. When the candle begins to flicker, you should not only take off the mask and run to the quiet and remember the past and affirm the truth. But we should also, the Psalmist says, consider the connection. Psalm 42:3, my tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, where is your God. Psalm 42:10,
As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me.
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
And then again, in the same Psalm, he remembers the days of joy and celebration as he makes his way leading the throng up to Jerusalem. What’s he saying? He’s saying what I’m feeling right now is not just me. It’s connected. It’s connected to people and dear friend, it really is. I know about the church and I know about the problems in the church. And I, you know, I’ve been doing this for so long. And when Augustine said the church was a prostitute, but his mother, I know deeply what Augustine meant when he said that. Uh, we’re a bunch of as somebody has said, I think it was Chuck Swindoll, a bunch of porcupines, trying to hug each other in a storm. And it’s bad sometimes. And sometimes it’s really bad, but the church is designed for us because God knew that we were connected. You know, the worst thing about this pandemic stuff, it’s this social distancing thing. And just, you know, we’re designed to be with people, we really are and keep six feet away from everybody. I mean, church is awful. You know, there’s some people I don’t want to sit by, but you know, I want to sit by somebody because I’m designed to be a people person, frankly, I’d rather be a monk and go to a monastery. If they’d let me take my wife, but I know how I was made. And I was made for connection and notice the Psalmist is, um, is referring to the connections. Why is he so down and cast down, because he’s been hanging out with people who are making fun of his faith. Where in the world is your God, they say to him. And that’s one of the reasons for the flame going down. And then he remembers the celebration with the people of God. And he knows that his loss of passion is a, is a result of connection with other people. And so when you’re going through this, don’t become a recluse go out, and I don’t care what they say about social distancing, go out and spend some time with God’s people and pick the ones you spend the time with. If you pick the ones that are going through the same thing you’re going through right now, you can get drunk together and jump off a bridge together. But if you pick others and this is what Luther meant, when he said, we have to preach the gospel to each other lest we become discouraged. When you spend time with other people, it may not fix it, but it makes it better. And sometimes a lot better. Now I have one more thing and then we’re finished with this section. And the next time we study this subject, we’re going to talk about the gift of Acedia, the gift of the loss of passion. But one other thing I gotta tell you before we finish with what you should do when you’re going through it, not only should you rip off the mask, be honest, run to the quiet, remember the past, hold to the truth and consider the connection we should also, and this is gonna sound silly, but I don’t care. It’s important. Do normal stuff, just do normal stuff. You know, one of the worst things about psychological, clinical depression is that people who get it stop doing normal stuff. Sometimes they just stay in the bed. They can’t go out. They can’t do normal stuff. And do you know what that does? It makes it worse. It’s like booze. People say they drink booze when they’re depressed. They shouldn’t do that. It’s a depressant. That’s crazy. Well it’s the same thing with this. What we want to do when we’re going through this period of Acedia is just crawl off in a corner or somewhere and just, be still and have a pity party. For God’s sake, and for your sake, don’t do that. Go to work, be with your family, get a milkshake, eat your meal and watch and wait. You think about that. Amen.
Steve Brown there wrapping up this week’s exploration on what to do when we become bored with Jesus. If you missed any of this week’s episodes, be sure to drop by keylife.org and check those out. Steve will continue with the series soon, but next week, our favorite megachurch pastor Zach Van Dyke will return and teach us all week. Don’t miss that. And of course, tomorrow it’s Friday, Q & A. That’s when our friend Pete Alwinson swings by the studio and together, Steve and Pete answered the challenging questions you send in. Tomorrow, they’ll weigh in on Freemasonry. Should be a good one. Well, folks do share big questions with us, but sometimes we have questions that we’re too scared to even speak. For example, have you ever had trouble believing that the Bible is true? Have you ever wondered if God is really there or questioned why you don’t feel a certain way? Well, those are honest questions that deserve Biblical answers. If that’s what you’re looking for, there’s a mini-book we’d love to send to you for free. It’s called Faith and Doubt: When Belief Is Hard, get your copy while supplies last, just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also request the mini-book by emailing Steve@keylife.org. And if you’re mailing us, send your request to
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