Satan has a tool in his arsenal of weapons and hes really been making good use of it here in America. The tool is the spirit of Apathy, and thats the subject of this article.
Now, I realize that many people wont read this. They’ll see the title and decide that they aren’t interested. They’re not concerned. They just don’t care.
But Apathy is a problem in so many areas of life...and people may not even realize that some of the problems they’re facing today are the direct result of Apathy. People just don’t care about much anymore, unless and until it directly affects their own comfort zones.
I cant think of anything more insidious, or more destructive than the spirit of Apathy. It causes depression, stifles our creativity, stunts our spiritual growth, and drains our energy. It can take hold in every area of life where we allow it to grow, and it can completely immobilize us.
As just one example, when Apathy infects a marriage, life becomes boring and routine, and the couple loses the joy they had when they first wed. The marriage relationship is robbed of passion and meaning...the couples love is neither hot nor cold...and then, whats the point? When the husband becomes indifferent to the needs and desires of his wife, (and vise-versa) communication breaks down, and living is reduced to the mundane, day to day activities with no direction, no celebration of life. Once the man no longer cares about serving his wife, its not long before this spirit of indifference overwhelms her too, because apathy feeds on itself. Selfishness becomes the norm, boredom and depression come in. Soon the couple starts to wonder what its all for...whats the meaning and purpose of life? Isnt there something more? Then, those often-heard words are uttered, the ones that are heard in so many divorce attorneys offices, I just don’t care anymore ... I just don’t love you anymore.
Apathy can affect us all, no matter what age, regardless of our education or income level. Kids stop caring about their school work, or their parents rules. Apathetic teens (Whatever...) tend to not care about much at all. Employees can be indifferent about the quality of their work and the level of their service. The wealthy are unconcerned about the poor, and the poor are indifferent toward the wealthy.
Apathy can affect all areas of a persons life, from the value placed on health, nutrition and exercise, to time spent with family, to cleanliness of the home, to tidiness of ones front yard, to the condition of ones financial state, to ones responsibility to their fellow man and to God Himself.
The thing is, as human beings, we are created to care. Were created to care for the people in our lives, as well as all the things God has blessed us with. We are designed to be His caretakers. When we stop caring and become apathetic and indifferent, life loses its meaning and purpose. Because to live is to give. Without one, we never truly get the other. Thats how it works.
God hates indifference. In Revelation 3:15-17, we read, I know you well. You are neither hot nor cold; I wish you were one or the other! But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit you out of My mouth! You say, I am rich, with everything I want; I don’t need a thing! And you don’t realize that spiritually, you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
That Scripture describes more Christians today than you may realize. Many Christians who call Him Lord, Lord wont get to heaven...some because of their apathy. (See Matthew 21-23). The statement, I am rich, with everything I need describes a happy American comfort zone. Just give me my remote control and bag of chips and don’t bother me - I don’t care!
No where is apathy more evident than in the American church today. Those who call themselves Christians can be the most difficult people in the world to motivate. Why is that?
While the other side was motivated to remove God from our public schools in the 1960s, legalize the killing of innocent unborn babies in the 1970s, normalize homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle in the 1980s, provide equal marriage benefits for those who embrace that lifestyle in the 1990s, and attempt to ban the words Under God and have the Ten Commandments outlawed in 2003, Christians have been largely indifferent, unconcerned, apathetic.
The United States is such a fertile mission field that missionaries from other countries are now coming here to reach the lost, while at the same time, many of our American churches have become mere fruitless social clubs.
It’s been estimated that if only 10% of all those Americans who call themselves Christians tithed regularly to Gods work, (only TEN PERCENT), we could eliminate virtually 100% of all the hunger and health problems in the world today. The problem isn’t that were not aware of the need...surely we can agree on that. And surely 10% of all Christians in America could be found faithful...couldn’t they? So whats the problem?
I posed this question to Doug Trouten, former editor of the Minnesota Christian Chronicle. He responded, Theres an idea from Communications Theory that might apply here. Its called narcotizing dysfunction, and it was dreamed up by a sociologist named Paul Lazarsfeld. The idea is that as we are exposed to more and more information, we subconsciously mistake knowing about a problem for doing something about it. We become concerned and informed, but not active. For instance, we might watch a lot of coverage of the situation in Iraq, and talk about it with our friends, but we don’t write a letter to the editor, call our Senator, donate to a relief agency working there, or do anything else like that. Do you suppose something similar might be happening in the Christian community? Between Christian media and the church, we can live in a state of perpetual concern about issues without ever actually doing anything.
I’m sure this is part of the problem, and certainly as Christians we give more than enough lip service to our support of pro-life issues, family values and bringing God back to the public square. But after decades of talking about these issues, we’ve lost valuable ground that may never be recovered this side of Christs return. And meanwhile, souls are being lost, Gods missionaries and ministers are not being supported in their work, ...and while we say were concerned, theres a good show on TV tonight that we really don’t want to miss.
How sad! Its time Christians DO something. Its time we move from saying were concerned to really caring and doing something!
The Scripture in Revelation 3 goes on, in Verse 20 to say, Look! I have been standing at the door and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears Me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with Me. And verse 22, Let those who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
Thats a solemn statement: Let those who can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying TO THE CHURCHES. As Christians, we have gotten really good at ignoring the One at the door. Thats our whole problem. We don’t listen. Were busy with our own lives and interests, and cant be bothered. But God doesn’t force His way in. He doesn’t break and enter. He knocks. So it is up to us to either open up the door of our hearts and allow Him to bless us - and others through us - or to decide otherwise.
We all suffer from Apathy to some degree. I deal with this myself sometimes. Its another one of the weeds Satan sows in our lives that we need to identify and then pull out by the roots...because this weed is especially poisonous.
If we open the door and turn to Him, the Holy Spirit will break the spirit of Apathy that has taken up residence in us, bring back our motivation and get us moving again. But we cant expect the Spirit to do this if our door remains closed. Again, He doesn’t force His way in...He knocks. Our job is to open the door.
Is there a spirit of Apathy in your life today? Are you indifferent to the needs of others? Are you too busy to be otherwise? Are you a Pastor so involved in the various programming of your church, that you cant be bothered with Someone knocking on your door? Are you an uninvolved, apathetic Christian too busy to do something substantial with your faith?
The time is coming quickly when the Judge of the universe is going to evaluate and examine us all. Will He know you (yes, YOU) when He sees you, or will He say, Depart from Me. I never knew you!? Now theres a thought to stir up your comfort zone...its hard to be apathetic about that.