An old adage states: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Familiarity may indeed breed contempt but, according to psychologists, over-familiarity can bring about apathy and extreme boredom. Psychologists refer to this monotonous, unfulfilled state as “ennui” [on-wee]. From the French, ennui is defined as “a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from over-exposure or lack of interest; boredom” (Dictionary.com). It is “a feeling of listlessness and general dissatisfaction arising from a lack of activity or excitement” (Collins English Dictionary). Merriam-Webster briefly defines it as “a lack of spirit, enthusiasm, or interest.” And the Urban Dictionary defines ennui as “a mental weariness and lack of interest brought about by personal stagnation.”
Question: Could this happen to you and me with regard to our relationship to Jesus Christ? Can we get to the point where we become so familiar with the gospel story that it no longer interests or excites us? (Rom 1:16; 5:6-10). Do we still feel privileged that our sins have been washed away by the blood of Christ (Acts 22:16; Rev 1:5) and that we are now new creations in Christ? (2 Cor 5:17). Or, has our walk with God become a rather dull, mechanical, unemotional, predictable routine? Are we still amazed at Jesus? Or, are we bored? And do we perhaps take Jesus and what he has done for us for granted much of the time?
Our Lord, "who knows the hearts of all" (Acts 1:24), and "who searches minds and hearts" (Rev 2:23), knows the answer to these questions. And we must be honest in our evaluation of our Christian walk as we "examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith" (2 Cor 13:5). Christ had to admonish the church in Ephesus to "repent and do the things you did at first" because they had left their first love – the Lord himself (Rev 2:4-6).
May this never be said of us. We never want to lose sight of the fact that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is God's "indescribable gift" to us (2 Cor 9:15). The Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us (Gal 2:20) desires that we put him first (Mt 6:33; Lk 14:26-33) and love him "with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength" (Mk 12:30). May this be our habitual heartfelt practice as we continue to enthusiastically worship and energetically serve the One who died for us.