Perhaps the greatest danger for many Christians, churches and ministries is something other than gross immorality or theological liberalism or direct rebellion against the plans of God. Dangerous as these things are, the greatest danger for many followers of Christ is something more insidious. This danger is subtle. It is not so easily recognized. But it just as deadly. This terrible danger is apathy.
Apathy (and her cohort, procrastination) is the antithesis of godly passion. Passion is the natural result of the gospel. The book of Acts is replete with it. The early church preached with passion, witnessed with passion, prayed with passion and lived with passion. Believers were passionate about the things of God. They were passionately thankful for their salvation and passionately intentional about sharing the gospel.
Apathy creeps carefully into our lives and ministries and churches. She tiptoes into our worship centers and bible studies. Her goal is to replace compassion with unconcern. She wants a dynamic relationship with God replaced with empty religion and ritual. She encourages the followers of Jesus to calm down about the gospel and to set aside the things of God. “Wait for a more convenient time”, she whispers when we consider our devotions and prayer. “Don’t get too worked up over this”, she warns as we consider our service or our witness.
But apathy (and don’t forget her sister, procrastination) has a deadly enemy of her own. Intentionality is the antidote to apathy’s poison. When we are intentional about reading the bible we overcome the lure of waiting for a better time and we read. Being intentional about prayer means we make time and plans and we pray. An intentional witness looks for opportunities to share the faith and actively pursues them. Apathy cannot stand against intentional, committed purpose.
When we live our spiritual life on purpose we are no longer slaves to our feelings or time constraints or comforts. We participate in spiritual disciplines because we love our Lord and these things benefit our walk with him. We serve out of a deep love for God and, therefore, a deep love for others. We don’t just know the truth of God but, through intentionality, we live out the results of the truth of God.
God is too great, the gospel too wonderful and grace too amazing for an apathetic response. Be intentional about daily bible reading, prayer and personal witness. Ignite passion once again in your spiritual life. Don’t wait and don’t put it off. Begin and engage. And know that apathy doesn’t stand a chance against a godly life lived on purpose.