Apathy

Hebrews 3:12 (ISV), “See to it, my brothers, that no evil, unbelieving heart is found in any of you, as shown by your turning away from the living God.”

I have often drifted away from God. Never intentional. Even when I was very angry with Him, blaming Him for some trouble in my life, I still didn’t intentionally turn away from Him. Yet, time and time again, I find myself off the path…in a dry place, with a lack of excitement for the things of God. The true word for this condition is Apathy, and I have had to repent several times in my walk with Him for an apathetic heart.

The definition of apathy is: “The absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.”

No passion. That pretty much sums up the apathetic heart. You can have passion in your life for more than one thing, being cold towards our Lord, doesn’t mean you lack passion in other areas. In fact sometimes the way we drift away is by being too passionate about other things!

Our real enemy, the devil, has one plan. That plan is for us to forsake the Lord. Like Job’s wife, he wants us to “curse God and die.” He tempts us to do wrong, then when we cave, he constantly reminds us of how unworthy we are. He attacks with the most troublesome circumstances, and then whispers that we deserve it, or that God doesn’t really care, and worse yet, that God isn’t able to get us out of the situation. If we believe it and turn our backs on God, then Satan wins. He gets the glory and God doesn’t.

However, if that plan doesn’t work, we continue to profess God as savior no matter how hard life may seem, then Satan has a “plan B”. That plan is to distract us! “From what?” you ask. From our Heavenly Father, from His plan and purpose for us, from His path. In my walk with God, I have often wondered away. Again, not intentionally, but a step here and a step there, until I found myself apathetic. The good news is that no matter how many steps away from God we have taken, it’s always only one step back. That step is repentance. Admitting we have strayed, asking Him to forgive, and turning back to Him. We don’t have to do penance, we just move ahead.

So what is the big deal?

If we allow ourselves to be distracted by things of the world, Satan’s attacks on our bodies, finances, families, churches, whatever, and take our eyes off of Jesus, we aren’t doing what God has purposed for us to do. We weren’t created on accident. God made us, birthed us into this world, (right now, during this time) to do something for Him. We are to Glorify Him, build His Kingdome, and do good works. When we are too focused on our own issues that we can’t see anyone else’s, let alone intercede in prayer, we are distracted. When we believe the doctors report, or the financial advisor, or (God forbid) the media, instead of what God has to say about it, we are distracted. It is just as if Satan has tied us up so that we are paralyzed. We lose our passion for Him, we lose our compassion for others, confusion sets in, and we begin to make bad choices.

If we continue on this path the enemy has led us, it won’t take long before our hearts will be hardened and full of unbelief. Sin. Anything that is not of faith is sin. The only way to please Him is living in faith. Faith in the finished work of the cross, faith in the love of the Father, and the sacrifice of His Son. We have to believe that God is for us! No matter what any other voice tells us. And NEVER, ever perpetuate Satan’s lies. When you repeat the negative doctors report to everyone you meet, when you use the words, “I can’t afford that,” “I am always sick,” “I don’t know what to do anymore,” or any other negative thing that doesn’t line up with God’s word and perfect will, you are giving the enemy the glory that belongs to God alone.

That is a big deal.

Hebrews 2:14-3:1 (NIV), “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.” (Emphasis mine)

Isaiah 50:7 (ESV), “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.”

Fix your eyes on Jesus. Keep a passion and a zeal for Him. No more apathy!

Romans 12:2 (Berean Study Bible), “Do not let your zeal subside; keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

Amen? Amen!

Complacency is My Enemy

t.s.eliot-life-quote[1]

Complacency is My Enemy

Someone who is complacent has become overly content — the junk-food-eating couch potato might be feeling complacent about his health. The literal meaning of this word’s Latin root is “very pleased,” but even though complacent people may seem pleased with themselves, we are rarely pleased with them. They are unconcerned by things that should concern them, and they may neglect their duties. A complacent person might be heard saying, “Ehh, don’t worry about it!” — when there really is something to worry about. (vocabulary.com)

Have you ever felt like you just don’t care? Like you couldn’t work up or fake interest even if your life depended on it? Maybe you grew tired of life, or weary of well-doing. Maybe Satan boxed your ears and you were completely blindsided by the attack. Or, maybe it wasn’t too much bad, but too much good. You finally made it, have the trophy wife, 2.3 children, white picket fence, and that dream job. What else do you need? Right. Maybe it was all of the above and like King Solomon, decided it was all vanity, pointless. Has serving God become too much bother, too much of a chore, or not enough fun?

Consider one of the signs of the last days.

II Timothy 3 (NASB), “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

The word complacency isn’t used here, however… A person stagnant in their spiritual growth, person complacent with their life, exhibits some of those behaviors. When King Solomon allowed complacency and apathy to rule his life, he led his family and a whole nation astray.

Any living thing is a growing thing. When you stop growing, you are dead. Where would you rather go fishing, in a freshwater lake, or the Dead Sea? A stagnant pool isn’t conducive to life, but a spring fed one sure is. It takes a long hard winter to make the trees roots go deeper into the ground to anchor itself. It takes resistance of weights to build up muscle tissue. Sure we all want an easy life. We dream of the day when we don’t have to work so hard. Sometimes getting our flesh to submit is like trying to get wrestle a greased pig. But an easy life doesn’t force us to change, to build up muscle, to rely on God and His strength for us. We stay carnal Christians, or spiritual babies.

James 1:2-15 (NIV), “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

Blessed is the one who perseveres, who battles uphill, who swims upstream, and who allows God to change them, the one who is truly alive in Christ. There is a saying, “any old dead fish can float downstream”. There is only one acceptable form of “death” for a Christian.

Romans 6:11-14, (NIV), “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

One of our Pastors used this example from the Movie “Wall-E”. If you haven’t seen this animated movie, you should! There is so much a Christian could learn from it. In case you haven’t let me just explain a bit. Wall-E is a robot, the last functioning one on earth, which is devoid of all life. His job is garbage duty. Every ancestor from earth is living in space, it’s been hundreds of years. Those humans are all attached to a bed, think of our modern hover-rounds, and look like blobs of flesh. They don’t do anything, but look at their screens, suck fluids out of big cups, and move on their “beds.” No struggle, no stress, everything handed to them and they never lift a finger. The result? A vain existence, or as Solomon said, “Vanity, Vanity.” They were way past complacent, until this little robot sneaks on board to save his love. The chaos that ensues causes them to take a look around them at what they have become.

Trials strengthen us in so many ways. Mostly by building our faith in God, in His loving care for us.

Don’t be complacent, complacency is your enemy

 

God’s Comfort

(Written previously)
Can I be honest? We all have our moments, those days when we wonder why we even got out of bed. When all the news seem bad, at worst, and less than what we hoped for, at best. What do we do with those moments? Usually I have a good cry (I said I was being honest). My day was like that today. Not the whole day, but enough to get the tears flowing. Then when I got home and walked into my kitchen, there was a big piece of paper on my fridge that said:
” But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises Hebrew 6:9-12.”
A message right from the Comforter! Sure, I am the one who printed it off and stuck it on my fridge, but I had originally printed it off for a friend who is facing a challenge this year, but decided “what the heck” and printed an extra copy for myself. God knew I would need it today.
Then my Spurgeon Devotional said, “”Trust in Him at all times.”Psalm 62:8 Faith is as much the rule of temporal as of spiritual life; we ought to have faith in God for our earthly affairs as well as for our heavenly business. It is only as we learn to trust in God for the supply of all our daily need that we shall live above the world. We are not to be idle, that would show we did not trust in God, who worketh hitherto, but in the devil, who is the father of idleness. We are not to be imprudent or rash; that were to trust chance, and not the living God, who is a God of economy and order. Acting in all prudence and uprightness, we are to rely simply and entirely upon the Lord at all times. Let me commend to you a life of trust in God in temporal things. Trusting in God, you will not be compelled to mourn because you have used sinful means to grow rich. Serve God with integrity, and if you achieve no success, at least no sin will lie upon your conscience. Trusting God, you will not be guilty of self-contradiction. He who trusts in craft, sails this way to-day, and that way the next, like a vessel tossed about by the fickle wind; but he that trusteth in the Lord is like a vessel propelled by steam, she cuts through the waves, defies the wind, and makes one bright silvery straightforward track to her destined haven. Be you a man with living principles within; never bow to the varying customs of worldly wisdom. Walk in your path of integrity with steadfast steps, and show that you are invincibly strong in the strength which confidence in God alone can confer. Thus you will be delivered from carking care, you will not be troubled with evil tidings, your heart will be fixed, trusting in the Lord. How pleasant to float along the stream of providence! There is no more blessed way of living than a life of dependence upon a covenant-keeping God. We have no care, for He careth for us; we have no troubles, because we cast our burdens upon the Lord.”
We can’t change some things. Period. But we can change how we react, and how we see things. I’ve had my cry, a short one this time, now I am choosing to see things through the eyes of my loving Father. I choose to accept the comfort of the Holy Spirit, who does His job well. I choose to “rely simply and entirely upon the Lord at all times”, especially those moments that are hard. Amen