|Posted on September 30, 2014 at 11:30 PM|
I’ve said it in a few blogposts and it has been clearly stated in Ephesians 6:10-12; we’re in a spiritual war. A lot of people hear that or read those words and don’t take it literally. It’s believed to be metaphorical or a symbol of some sort.
That’s not the case, folks. The war is real and it’s on.
And our enemy? He’s not playing around.
Fear, anxiety, depression, suicide, murder, rape, gossip, lies, sexual immorality and more are running rampant in our society today. You only have to watch, listen or read the news to see the truth in what I just said; it always seems to be more bad news than good news. Am I the only who noticed that?
Like I said, our enemy is taking his job seriously. He knows that he’s already lost the war, but he’s content the drag as many people as he can down to hell with him.
And what is the Church doing about that?
Really, what are we doing? Are we praying? Are we seeking the lost? Are we loving people? Are we spreading the gospel to everyone we can?
What are we doing?
Because, honestly, I sometimes feel like the global church is slacking. A lot of people feel that Christians are hypocritical, judgemental and stiff people. And let’s be real, with the evidence they’ve been given … we can’t really blame them for believing that.
There are the scandals of famous pastors, the outrageous cults that claim Christianity, the hate crimes committed by “Christians” and the people they encounter in their day-to-day life who say that they go to church and follow Jesus, but don’t live like it.
Like I said, the enemy has been working and I think it’s time that the Church starts to fight as well. We, as Christians, need to live the way God has called us to live: helping the oppressed, feeding the poor, visiting the lonely; loving each other and loving those around us.
We need to be living in humility so that He can be fully working in and through our lives to draw more people to Him. We need to be willing to be used to reach people and add to the family. We have the best news to be sharing with the world; news that will save lives from all binding chains, news that will restore people to who they were created to be.
But a lot of us don’t do that. I’ll even say it here, I’m not always willing. There are times when I haven’t represented God in the very best way possible. There are times when I try to run my own life, follow my own plans and act in my own will. I will say it here and now (and many more times in the days to come): I am not perfect – and I know it.
And I thank God for His unending grace and love and mercy that are always extended towards me when I fall. I live in the knowledge that I only have the privilege of being His daughter because His son, Jesus, took all my punishment upon Himself. All of us who have been saved and are in a relationship with Him know what it feels like to live in this truth. We know the joy and the peace that accompanies us every second of every day in our souls.
Romans 15:13 NIV
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
But non-Christians? They don’t know what that feels like.
They live in the guilt that was already taken care of on the cross. They are slaves to what they’ve already been freed from; sin.
Romans 8:1-2 NLT
8 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power[a] of the life-giving Spirit has freed you[b] from the power of sin that leads to death.
They not knowing about this is because we’ve neglected to tell them about what has been done for them. And I think that’s because of a state that a lot of the members of the Church have been in for generations; a state of apathy.
Dictionary.com defines apathy as: the absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.
I think that a lot of the time we become so used to the gospel and caught up in living our day to day lives we become apathetic; we stop caring about sharing the Good News, we stop being in awe of God and His glory, the miracles we read about in the Bible seem ordinary to us because we’ve heard them so much and the sacrifice of the Cross? It begins to lose its significance to us.
And this didn’t only begin with us, our parents, or our grandparents … it was already beginning in the early church. In chapter 11 of 1 Corinthians, Paul addresses apathy in relation to communion.
Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord’s Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you.
The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, broken for you. Do this to remember me. After supper, he did the same thing with the cup: This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you. Each time you drink this cup, remember me.
What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt.
Anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master irreverently is like part of the crowd that jeered and spit on him at his death. Is that the kind of “remembrance” you want to be part of? Examine your motives, test your heart, come to this meal in holy awe. (1 Corinthians 11: 23-28 MSG)
Paul does not mince words – especially when you read it in the Message Version.
We need to approach Him in awe, we need to have reverence; we need to be the opposite of apathetic. One of the best things about Christianity is the relationship that we have with our Lord and Saviour. We can talk to Him at any time of the day and know that He hears us. We can be confident in the fact that He will never leave us or forsake us. We can walk in the in the knowledge that His love for us is unchanging and unending.
Romans 8:38-39 NLT
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[p] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We have a beautiful intimacy with God, but we must be very careful to not let this intimacy become a lack of awe towards Him. We must not “let familiarity breed contempt”.
Apathy can ruin our relationship with God. If I told my closest friends that I was in a relationship without passion, emotion, or excitement; they’d probably say that I wasn’t in a real relationship or that my relationship must be awful. And they’d be right.
Our relationship with God should be full of those things. It is a passionate life that we have in Jesus, one of His Holy Ghost Fire living in us. Every day we’re in this relationship with Him, we have love, peace, joy and hope. Does this sound void of emotion to you or bursting to the brink with it? And goodness, look in the book of Acts. Were the lives of the early Christians boring? Was the life of Jesus boring and missing excitement? I would think not.
So why would we settle for an apathetic relationship with God when a relationship with Him is the polar opposite of that? We shouldn’t.
John 10:10 NKJV
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
We’re supposed to be living life abundantly, life to the full. We cannot do that in a state of apathy. We cannot grow in a state of apathy; it breeds stagnation. It says that it’s okay to be exactly where you are because changing would require caring and taking action; and apathy just isn’t about that life.
Apathy has no place in the most important relationship of our lives – no place at all. But when we allow it to creep it’s way into our souls, it makes a little home there and eventually kicks some things out to make more room.
Some of those things that it kicks out are: love, servitude, and evangelism.
How can we truly love people the way God wants us to when we’re not fully living in His love to begin with? How can we serve people and humble ourselves if we don’t have the capacity to care? How can we tell people about the gospel when we have no passion or joy or excitement in it?
We can’t. I’ll say it again: We cannot do any of those things; love, serve, or spread the Word when apathy has taken root in our lives. Apathy goes hand in hand with selfishness, eh? It chooses not to care about anything else but what we need to get done; our wants and desires. Apathy focuses on self instead of on other people – and the gospel is completely contrary to that. How can we claim to be Christians – literally meaning Christ-like – when Christ exemplified those three qualities and has called us to live the same?
9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection,[e] and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.[f] 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13 NLT)
Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others. (1 Corinthians 10:24 NLT)
I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:33 NLT)
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[a] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)
We cannot genuinely live out these verses in a state of apathy.
Are we seeing the reality of how dangerous this thing is? Because if we are, we can start talking about fighting it.
I think there are a few ways that we can practically fight apathy in our relationship with God.
1. We can ask Him to renew the passion and fervor within us. He will never withhold any good thing from us; He gives good gifts. More passion and more growth in our relationship with Him will always constitute as a good thing.
James 1:17 NLT
17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.[a] He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.[b]
2. We can be intentional about “getting away” with Him. I mean just getting intimate with God and surrounding ourselves in His love, removing ourselves from distractions and just focusing on Him. I think that when we focus on His glory and the amazingness of His grace; it is seriously difficult to be apathetic.
Matthew 6:6 MSG
6 “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
*in context, this verse is talking about prayer but I feel that it also ties into developing intimacy with Him*
3. We can sow into the lives of others. We need to look to God and ask Him to help us see the world as He sees it, see the broken the way He sees them, and see the lost the way He sees them. When we do that, when we get a little peek into His perspective; we cannot be apathetic.
And please keep in mind, I seriously struggle with apathy. Does anyone remember the Boston Marathon Bombing? I remember hearing about it and brushing it aside as just another immoral thing to occur in the corrupted world we live in. I seriously didn’t care, guys. That’s awful. I don’t know if I would’ve even realised how apathetic I’d become if I hadn’t heard about it in detail at a Youth Service. When I saw the pictures, when I truly became aware of the horror; I was shocked and heartbroken.
And so ashamed that I hadn’t care about it before. What type of person did that make me? What type of Christian did that make me? I was so challenged in that moment and have been consistently challenged since then to look at my life and see where I need God to move in me so that I can actually live for Him.
And I welcome all of us to do that, where do you find yourself the most apathetic? Does it break your heart to hear of orphans, of sex trafficking, of child hunger, of murder, of rape? Or are you so accustomed to hearing about those things that they don’t even resonate anymore? Those are just a few examples, but I really encourage you to ask God to reveal where you have let apathy take root – and ask Him to help you get that out.
Today, I had to go to a presentation on WHMIS as a requirement for earning my credit in Chemistry. The speaker said something that I had to type down immediately; something that applied to so much more than WHMIS. He said:
“Always be on your guard, never become complacent.”
The enemy of our souls wants us to be a complacent and apathetic state in which we will be able to accomplish nothing for the kingdom of God, are we going to give him what he wants?