Apathy is simply an absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement. It’s a lack of interest in or concern about something. (1) The difficulty with it though is it’s not always easy to recognize in ourselves. Apathy can often be caused by discouragement or depression. Sometimes we slowly fall into apathy because we are filling our hearts and minds with things that are of little consequence and as a result, we entertain ourselves into indifference.
I think one of its main causes is the fact that we are constantly bombarded by problems and we allow ourselves to get so overwhelmed that we no longer have the capacity to care. Given all that we went through the last year and a half, it’s going to be very easy to become apathetic and not even realize it. We have been bombarded with struggles, sickness, corruption, and fear, and a lot of these things seem to be outside of our control; and if we aren’t careful, we will subconsciously go into a kind of self-preservation mode and turn ourselves off from caring even about the things we can do something about.
The Problem With Apathy
The problem with apathy though is that it allows problems to perpetuate. Apathy keeps us from living on mission for God in areas that we can make a difference. Now I’m not saying we need to be social media warriors and “advocates” for every cause that comes across our feed. But that doesn’t mean we can allow ourselves to be lulled into apathy.
God has allowed certain issues to come into your sphere of influence so that you can make a difference in them. He placed you at your place of employment so that glorify him by the way you passionately pursue your career. God has put people into your life so that you can passionately point them to Jesus. Living in apathy sidelines us from the mission of God and it reveals that our hearts are not being driven by the things of God. And God feels pretty strongly about it. Consider his warning to the church at Laodicea.
Revelation 3:15-16 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth.
Apathy Is Not Simply A Lack of Emotional Expression
Write Jon Bloom said “In God’s mind, fervency, zeal, or passion aren’t descriptions of how emotive we are. They’re gauges that display what our heart treasures, and therefore what fuels our lives.” (2)
I can’t excuse apathy, or even a lack of fervency, because I’m an introvert. Zeal and passion are not the same as emotional expression. Apathy is a lack of caring. But I want to paint a different picture. What if instead of becoming so overwhelmed with the problems in our world that we become apathetic; we become so overwhelmed by the power of God’s love that we were moved to action?
So how do we battle Apathy?
Awaken Your Heart To The Fullness of God’s Love
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 tells us it’s the love of Christ that compels us. The love of Christ is not just an emotional support blanket for when we are having a bad day. The love of God and consequently our love for him is something that involves every part of who we are. (Luke 10:27)
Arrested By Love
The Greek word for “compel” means to compress or arrest (a prisoner), to hold together; figuratively, to compel, preoccupy:—constrain, hold, keep in, press, to be taken with. (3)
This is why the Apostle Paul, the writer of 2 Corinthians, described the love of Christ as a compelling force in the life of Christians. The love of Christ controls us, constrains us, animates us, moves us, and drives us into action.
Because of the love of Christ, our sin has been reckoned with and accounted for. His righteousness is given to us and we receive his righteous status because he was made to be sin for us. He takes our sin; he gives us his righteousness. We are connected vitally through our union with Christ because he imputed, he planted within us, his perfect, righteous life of obedience.
Moved Into Action
Christ imputed not only innocence but also righteousness, not only pardon but perfection. He was not only condemned in our place as a punishment bearer; he also stood in our place as law keeper. Jesus not only died the death that we should have died; he also lived the life that we should have lived.
Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 that Christ died for us; and our old unbelieving, rebellious self died in him. Now our new believing selves live. Then in verse 15 comes the aim of all this love of Christ: that we might live for him! So as we meditate on his love, his saving grace, and all he has done for us we will be moved into action so that others might now and experience him. We will be driven by a burning desire that others might see and experience how good our God is! The Holy Spirit will drive us towards living like him and for him.
Every act of obedience, no matter how big or how small, is passionately pursued because it displays the glory and greatness of our God! The more we are captivated by the love of God the more we will be driven to action.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Nick Minerva