Just a cursory flip through Living Waters evangelism YouTube videos, you see one of the great viruses that plague our nation – apathy. Not that we don’t care about things. It’s painfully obvious in “outrage”, “cancel”, and various other cultural terms, we care quite a lot. Unfortunately, while some occasions for care are legitimate, we get so consumed in temporal pursuits that we are almost totally absent of care for the eternal.
I wish I could say that once you become a believer you are no longer a participant of this soul sucking and life wasting sin, but I find myself melting into a puddle of apathy on a regular basis. This may take the form of procrastination in personal study of God’s word, eventually leading to falling asleep during quiet time – or even skipping it all together, not seeking to serve my community and brothers and sisters in the Lord, not actively sharing the hope that I have – seeking to make Christ known, making disciples of my children and neighbors, not taking the care to put others’ needs before my own in service that points to the glory of Christ, and the list could go on. Not only do I miss a grand opportunity to obey in these ways, but my apathy seeps down further and quenches my desire for these things. It leaves me with a smouldered flame of a past love for the Lord, that I just can’t seem to revive.
I know I’m not alone in this. I know that the culture at large is dealing with one of the greatest rates of suicide we’ve seen since WW2. I don’t find this statistic’s origin far removed from the apathetic state we find ourselves in. One way apathy can be made manifest is when we aren’t ordering our life the way we ought – with Christ’s kingdom first. Sadly, our felt need to escape a tumultuous existence, in this sin riddled world, combined with disordered affections (or the feeling of having none at all) leaves many without hope and seeking to “save” themselves from a meaningless and painful life.
Yes, apathy can drag us that far. It can blind us to the realities of eternity with the vanity of our daily grind. It can numb us to the real urgency we should possess in having a right standing with God, who we all must give an account. And it can ensnare us to not care for the eternities of those perishing around us.
Do yourself the duty to complete a quick google search of current Christian matrys – they are nearing genocide numbers. These are believers that have been spared the sin of apathy, because their life is lived in the pursuit of Christ, with all else (including their own lives) counted as rubbish. They have not held on to any earthly comforts that would invade their hearts and spawn apathetic feelings. They have their treasure in Heaven – Christ. These are the types of lives we should be living too. Sold out for Christ, serving our King, spreading the Gospel.
So, is it the same for you as it is for me? We sit comfortably fattened from our holiday meals, warmed in our homes, surrounded by the luxuries of the typical American life, and once quietly with our own thoughts, something feels heavy. The apathy we feel and vanity of life we participate in, are flooded to the forefront of our minds.
But in that moment I want to speak to you and speak to me. I want to first speak to the unbeliever: you are lost. Not in a wandering sense but in a sinful and hellbound sense. The feelings of meaninglessness are real because you have only seen and loved the world that is passing away. But God has given his son, Jesus, so that you may have life and life abundantly. Abundant life in full service to him, dying to self, risking everything because He gave everything on the cross for your sin. Abundant life eternally, with no pain, sin, or brokenness. He paid in full, the penalty for your sin, if you believe in him alone for your righteousness before God. However, if you reject this free gift, you are saddled with the payment in full and you will be called to the judgement seat to pay with your very eternal life. Until that judgement day comes, you will have to find your own temporal meaning that is fleeting and failing. I pray that you see it’s failures and come to rest in the eternal, lasting hope you can have in Christ alone.
Believers, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and myself: Walk in the manner of your calling. See what a great gift you possess, the talents that God has entrusted you with, and deal wisely with them – God will call you before Himself to assess the work you have done with his assets. Know that this is not a time to be at peace. Yes you have peace with God, but on this Earth you are fighting a spiritual battle in the name of your King. He has given you His Spirit and He hasn’t left you. Despite your apathy toward His mercy, kindness, love, and blessings, He remains with you and will see you through. This doesn’t mean that you are helpless. You are empowered by the Spirit to follow the commands he has given you: love God, love neighbor, make disciples. He has gifted you with the high calling of being an ambassador of Christ while on Earth. Make much of this opportunity. Work as though for the Lord, because you are. Enjoy the fruits of your labors that God has blessed and trust him with the growth of fruit you have yet to see. Trust that He is ever working in your heart and for your good. Cry out to Him for a heart that worships and is in service to Him for all your days. Read His word that He’s given you, because in it is the Gospel. And the Gospel will fuel you to obey and think rightly.
Finally, I’m praying for you and myself in this struggle. We don’t get to waste our lives when such a gift has been given. Don’t lose the love that you had at the beginning. Repent and believe the Gospel, see your ever present need for the Spirit’s application of God’s truth in your life. Rely not on your own strength, but on Christ. And have hope in the future life to come in eternity.
“a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice”