When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees . . . Deut 8:10-11
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Deuteronomy 4:9
We humans can get comfortable with just about anything, we are comfort experts.
Our needs drive us to consume, and when we are satisfied, the power of the drive diminishes and we get comfortable. I’m not just talking about the essentials like food, clothing, and shelter. Every time we get anything we want, we are close to comfort.
Consumption leads to comfort, but the engine that takes us there is stereotypes. A stereotype is a powerful assumption that I KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN. Stereotypes aren’t all bad, in fact, we need them to live a normal life. Learning from our past experiences is a stereotype. If we couldn’t learn from the past, every situation would be completely new and different, we would lack confidence and quick action.
For example, when you go to sit down in a chair, you probably throw yourself into it without much thought. What about the very first time you sat in a chair, what was that like? First, you observed other people sitting. Next you grabbed the chair and tested its strength. Finally, you climbed up into it and began to relax, knowing it would hold you. After several successful attempts, you “stereotyped” what it means to sit in a chair. At some point, you grew up enough to throw yourself into a chair without a second thought.
Some parts of our life ought to be stereotyped. We must not stereotype our spirituality. If we do, we’re sure to be stuck in the rut. This rut is deeper than not having enough variety in our devotional game plan. The stereotype rut is an atrophied faith, for it lacks the wonder that comes from expecting God to do something beyond what we know.
The antidote is two-fold: We must open our mouths to praise God. We must also open our eyes to watch our lives.
Praising God means thanking him for his blessings. Praising God for the good things he did in the past will alert us to watch for them in the future. Waiting expectantly for God to act is a sure way to fight off spiritually devastating stereotypes. The best way to get ready for God to do something new is to thank him for the new things he did in the past.
It is also important that we become careful observers. Keeping a close watch on our lives will prepare us to tackle the beginning stages of stereotyping our faith. Instead of waiting for the shipwreck, we can make important adjustments when we veer off course. If you’re in this rut, start praising God today, and commit to keeping a close watch on your life.