“Zoning Out”
by Dave Sponholz

Have you ever read something without actually reading it?  Like, to have your eyes physically look at the words, but to have no idea what you just read.  This has been happening to me for my whole life.  Unless the content was SUPER engaging (fiction adventure stories), then I’d find myself zoning out and daydreaming about juggling or donuts.

If this only happened while reading boring stuff, then it wouldn’t be as concerning to me…but the problem is that I can regularly read God’s Word and zone out—where I can’t tell you afterward a single thing I had read.

Why does this happen?

Here are some reasons that I’ve found in my own life:

  1. I have an overactive imagination…which equals daydreaming while I read.
  2. I am familiar with the passage I’m reading so I just go into autopilot.
  3. I feel like it’s more of an obligation than a privilege.

So here’s what changed this past week for me.

My wife Hannah came across a link promoting a Bible Study technique called Journaling Scripture.  The idea is simple—all you do is physically write out the text from the verses.  Easy enough, right?  So I picked one of the passages (1 Thessalonians 1:6-10) and wrote out the verses.

6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. 7 This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. 


From there, I looked and thought about the verses I had just written—focusing on three things: OBSERVATIONS, INTERPRETATIONS, APPLICATIONS. 


My main observation:  this is future tense, which means that the punishment and destruction have NOT happened yet.


My main interpretation:  By not sharing the gospel with others, and indicating that I AM OK with the destruction and punishment of others that do not know Christ.


YIKES!  Putting it that way really got me to start thinking.  And that led to…

My main application:  I need to be more intentional to bring the gospel into my conversations.  I can proclaim that gospel boldly from a stage, and then shy away from it in a 1-on-1 conversation.


So what do you take away from these thoughts?  Maybe it’s the suggestion to try out the Journaling Scripture approach.  Maybe it’s a challenge from the verses above.  Maybe it is a response of praise back to God for his faithfulness to you in your life.  And maybe God is revealing to you that you only know ABOUT Him, but don’t actually KNOW HIM.   If that’s the case, please know that God loved you enough to send his own son to die IN YOUR PLACE so that you could be forgiven.

My prayer is that someone who reads this would be encouraged and challenged at the same time.

In Christ,
“Sponz” – Dave Sponholz