It’s 2014! If you want to stay stuck in the same old quagmires, just read on for a few helpful pointers.
- 1. Spend significant chunks of time every day navel-gazing.
The key here is to maximize your time thinking about yourself while minimizing your time looking at Jesus. Dwelling on His beauty, His grace, and His power is strictly off-limit territory. A dead guy once said, “For every look at self, take ten looks at Christ.” Just reverse that, and you’re golden: “For every look at Christ, take ten looks at self.” (Or in the mirror. Or on Facebook. Anywhere will do, as long as you are foremost in your thoughts.)
- 2. Rehearse your past failures to yourself. Then repeat. Then hide.
Instead of running to God when you sin, veer as far away from Him as you can. Yes, yes, God did say something about removing your sins as “far as the east is from
the west” (Ps. 103:12), but if you want to stay stuck, you can’t actually live like that’s true. Tell yourself this until you believe it: You’ll never really change. Just look at your track record of failures! (See Step 1—dwelling on the grace and power of Jesus is off-limits.) Diminish God’s forgiveness. Act like He’s ready to condemn you into a pulp—hide your Bible, pray as little as possible. The amazing thing about this tip is how it builds on itself — your failures will make you want to avoid God, and your avoiding God will be another failure, which, in turn, will make you want you to keep avoiding Him. Presto, a perfect downward spiral.
- 3. Get concerned about the bad things you do, but don’t ever ask why you do them.
This is really, really important. Don’t ask God to show you why you do the things you do. That could actually start to uncover your root problems. You’ve got to ignore the heart producing your actions; to stay stuck, simply focus on treating your external symptoms. So for example, you can’t kick the porn habit? Instead of digging deeper to discover why you keep returning to lust, tell yourself you just have a crazy-high sex drive and resolve to “try harder.” Regardless of the sin, this stick-to-the-surface-tactic works like a gem to keep you perpetually focused on symptoms instead of root causes—a terrific way to keep you stuck long-term. Oh, and just as important? Don’t ask why about your motive for doing good things, either. It’s a dangerous question, that little “why.” Avoid it.
- 4. Be REALLY busy with REALLY important stuff.
If someone asks how you’re doing, the popular answer these days is “busy” or “tired.” But are you busy and tired enough? You’ve got to eliminate time and energy for the essentials: the Word of God, prayer, reflection, meaningful friendship with mature Christians. Eliminating even one of the above can keep you frozen, but why be an underachiever? Aim for eliminating all of the above for maximum stuck impact. In our high-speed culture, that’s easy. Fill up your time with extracurricular everything. Sign up for more service at church. Say yes more than you say no. Overcommit like nobody’s business. Spend any scraps of leftover time on entertainment to unwind from your frantic pace. The things you cram your life with can be good things, academic things, great things, and even super “spiritual” things; it doesn’t matter. Just as long as you don’t have time for the thing Jesus said was of first importance (Luke 10:38–42), you’re cooking up a foolproof recipe for getting (or staying!) spiritually stalled out.
If you pay close attention to the above four steps every month, I’m confident you’ll be able to look ahead to a sad, static year in 2014.
Do you have any tips for “staying stuck” this year? What holds you back from being changed by Jesus? Share with us in the comments!