Wielding the Word to Overcome Spiritual Apathy
Apathy. This one single word stopped me dead in my tracks. I couldn’t tell you anything else about the sermon on that particular morning, because after the pastor spoke this word, it was the only thing I heard for the next 45 min. It rang in my ears, and would not let me alone.
Apathy. What does that even mean?
I slid my car into park, pulled my phone out of my purse, and searched Miriam Webster for the definition.
Apathy: the absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement. Lack of interest in, or concern for, things that others find moving. Indifference.
As my eyes pored over the one-paragraph description, I felt my shoulders immediately exchange tension for relief. Finally! A word to accurately describe the spiritual state I had found myself in.
Perhaps you’ve been there too?
Spiritual apathy affects people from all walks of life, during different seasons, and for different reasons. My personal slide into apathy began with a combination of circumstances that left me both disappointed and discouraged. Over time, and unbeknownst to me, I had allowed my disappointment with life to dull my zeal for God.
Knowing “what” I was dealing with was a step in the right direction. But simply understanding the crux of the problem was only half the battle. What was I to do with this revelation? How does a person go to combat with spiritual apathy?
The rain beat hard against my windshield, the slippery drops mirroring the tears that slid down my cheeks. “Lord, help me to find my way back to you,” I prayed from the confines of my car.
Half expecting to be met with silence, I was surprised to hear the still, small voice of Father God whisper back at me, “Start at the beginning.”
At the beginning..
“In the beginning was the Word. And the word was with God. And the word WAS God.” (John 1:1)
The Word of God is our most powerful anecdote against spiritual apathy.
Whenever we find ourselves in a spiritual battle, regardless of the level of warfare, the most important thing we can do is to wield the Word like the weapon that it is.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
Even so, I realize that this is often easier said than done. When suffering from spiritual apathy, the last thing we may “feel” like doing is reading the Bible. A lack of motivation typically accompanies an apathetic state, and very often it requires a significant portion of discipline, effort, and determination, to combat this enemy of the soul.
The Bible is the most resourceful weapon at our fingertips, yet too often we fail to utilize it. If you find yourself wrestling with spiritual apathy, don’t wait until you “feel” like reading the Bible. Start where you are, and let the Word lead you to where you ought to be.
Here are a few steps you can take today to overcome spiritual apathy:
Regardless of how it entered in, to the one who professes Christ, apathy is a sin. Another definition for apathy is indifference. The Bible warns us not to become lukewarm in our faith. Scripture says that it is better to be either hot or cold, than merely indifferent (Revelation 3:15). The word repent means to “turn away from.” If we are to turn away from apathy, we must turn towards repentance.
King David knew the importance of having a clean heart and a right spirit before God. His words have become my own personal prayer.
“Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:9-10).”
The Lord strongly rebuked the church of Ephesus, for having abandoned their first love (Revelation 2:4). Their fervor had turned to indifference. Their passion replaced by complacency. Their initial sense of wonder and excitement had grown stale and cold. The Lord admonished the Ephesians then, to return to their first love. I believe He is encouraging the church today, to do the same.
The following scripture has become the meditation of my heart this past week, as I have wrestled hard against the spirit of apathy.
“Oh God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1).”
Our faith should never be boring or dull. Walking with the Lord is meant to be an adventure. Vibrant. AWEsome. And fresh. Scripture tells us to fan into flame the gift of God, which is IN you (2 Timothy 1:6). The gift of God is His indwelling Holy Spirit. And a life that is full of the Spirit, should never be empty or void.
I once heard a pastor counsel a couple whose marriage had become stagnant by advising the couple to think back and remember why they fell in love in the first place. Is it possible that to rekindle our relationship with Jesus, we need to do the same?
No other book best depicts the goodness, faithfulness, and the promises of God like His holy Word. The Bible is God’s love letter to us. When we read it, He invites us into a relationship with Him. We must not neglect to enter in.
Pray this scripture with me:
“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple (Psalm 27:4).”
If finding time to read the Bible daily is a struggle, here are a few helpful tips for you:
- My mind is most attentive in the morning, therefore, it’s often my favorite time to dive into God’s Word. Add a cup of coffee? Yes please! That being said, there are days when I find myself rushing to “get it over with” because heaven knows there are a million things vying for my attention. For this reason, I always like to have a back-up plan for spending time in The Word.
- Nothing says that we have to “read” the Word with our eyes. There are many wonderful apps readily available to us that can help make time in God’s Word a success. I often like to spend my hour-long commute to work listening to the scriptures being read. Not only does it help me to spend time with God, but it also helps to prepare my heart for the day.
- Include your family in nighttime devotions. If all else fails, come evening, and I’ve not yet spent any time in the Bible, my children are sure to not let me neglect this most valuable time. If you don’t have children, include your spouse. If unmarried, invite your friends. Set aside a time and a specific chapter or verse to discuss together. Having people in your life who will help hold you accountable, is a gift. And it makes the study of scripture all the more rich!
With a strategy in place, we have a much better success rate at spending time in God’s Word.
Friends, if you are struggling with spiritual apathy, there is nothing more important you can do than to be in the Word. Satan loves apathy. But just as Jesus fought back against the enemy’s taunts, by wielding God’s written Word, so must we.
After the heart-wrenching loss of two of her children, Rachel invites others alongside her to rediscover what it truly means to have hope despite the presence of suffering.
She is a lover of Jesus, coffee, hugs, and nature.
She resides in the rural town of Enumclaw, Washington with her husband, eight children, and a handful of chickens.
As a firm believer in authentic connection, Rachel invites you to connect with her further on her blog, rachelmarielee.com and on her favorite social media sites.
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