What is apathy? Someone told me a story about a discouraged Young People’s leader who wrote the word “APATHY” on a chalkboard just prior to one of their meetings. As the young people began to straggle into the room, one young person slumped into his chair, stared at the chalkboard with a puzzled face, and then said to the person slumping to his right, “Hey man, what does APATHY mean?” The person responded with, “Hey, I don’t know and who cares anyway?” Well, I hope you care, and please read on!
Can you imagine if our Father in Heaven was apathetic towards His people? We would truly have no comfort in this life nor the life to come. Man would have been already wiped off the face of this earth and surely would not receive eternal glory. We take great comfort in knowing that our Father careth about all of His creation and that “the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (exact opposite of apathy)!
Obviously we all care about things, but what things do we care about and how much do we care? What causes us to be excited about cars, boys or girls, being popular; and what causes us to be apathetic towards Bible study, church, devotions and witnessing? We all know what makes us excited about the things of this world—great self-love; and we all know what makes us lax about spiritual things—lack of love for God and our neighbor. When we emphasize spiritual things, we are greatly de-emphasizing self-love. We don’t like to be called miserable sinners and we even hate to be disliked by the world because of the things the world has to offer our sinful flesh. We are like the church of Laodicea who was “rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked” (Rev. 3). You must “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him: for he careth for you.” (I Pet. 5:6, 7).
What are the consequences of our spiritual apathy? First of all, we are cheating ourselves out of that great joy and peace when we do not lead sanctified lives: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith” (Gal. 5:22). Of course, being a “Christian” is miserable and boring when we don’t lead a sanctified life, but a sanctified Christian becomes excited and filled with awe when he dwells on God’s creation, sovereignty, perfection and matchless love. Being spiritually apathetic is foolishness when we compare the meager sinful pleasures to spiritual riches. Secondly, we are causing others to sin when we encourage others to join in our spiritual apathy through peer pressure and lack of witness. Jesus commanded you to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Ultimately, the most severe consequence is the “wrath of hell”, which would be a conclusion each individual would have to draw about him or herself if they do not possess the “fruits of the spirit”!
If you have spiritual apathy but are a child of God, then let me suggest some remedies to cure that horrible disease. The two most important things you can do are pray and read God’s Word so that the Holy Spirit will cause you to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24). Jesus commanded us saying, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me…For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed” (Luke 9). So, young people, do your devotions daily and have Christ on your mind always. If Christ is on your mind, you shouldn’t be ashamed of God’s Word and should care less about peer pressure and other worldly matters. You will also care more about others.
If someone wants to know what spiritual APATHY means, tell them it stands for A Pathetic Attitude Toward Helping You and myself serve Christ. Then tell them you like the word CARE better and that it stands for Christ Always Reigns Everywhere in my life.