Sunday, 26 July 2015

Is apathy preventing God from fulfilling His purpose in your life? – Part 1

God deserves the very best of us. Let us pray that we are not lukewarm as this is a key symptom of apathy

If a person is passionate about something you will notice that when they talk they are enthusiastic, excitable and really alive. An analogy I have heard a number of times in Church is the passion shown by people for their team at a football match.  I had the privilege of attending a (Football) Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in 2001 which was attended by over 70,000 fans.  The atmosphere, even before kick-off was electric.  Men, Women and Children of all ages were singing their hearts out to support their team and due to their enthusiasm they clearly did not give a thought for what people thought of them. Just imagine what could happen if we could transfer that passion to supporting Jesus! 

Jesus laid down His life for us; 1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters, so surely He deserves everything from us?  Should we not be singing His praises and giving Him thanks with at least the same passion as the football fans described above? Psalm 66:1-4 Shout for joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious. Say to God, 'How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name'. This scripture has really challenged me to ask myself if I really am giving my Father everything I have or am I possibly taking everything that God has done and continues to do for me in my life for granted and if so have I become apathetic? 

There are a number of different dictionary definitions for apathy which all follow the same theme, 'a lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting' or an 'absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement'. It is so sad when Churches, congregations and individuals display these types of characteristics because by being apathetic we are denying God the glory and praise that He so rightfully deserves and in fact we are displaying the characteristics of the Church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:15-16; I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. God deserves the very best of us. Let us pray that we are not lukewarm as this is a key symptom of apathy.   Let us always be reminded of the love and mercy that has been shown to us through the suffering, crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  

Having written the above part of this article at the end of a day I intended to complete the remainder during the course of the following day.  In the meantime God gave me Romans 11:13 where the Apostle Paul is preaching in Rome and emphasising that the day of salvation is near; And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. If we are apathetic in any way we are in slumber and if we are in slumber we risk suffering the same fate as the five virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 who did not have oil ready for their lamps and missed the arrival of the Bridegroom. We need to be vigilant at all times and even though life will undoubtedly continue to throw challenges at us we need to be ready because just like the ten virgins in Matthew 25 we do not know when Jesus will return for us!  Mark 13:32-33 But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.

In life it is so easy to slip into a routine lifestyle and it is sometimes human nature to take things for granted.  We then, often without realising, start to become apathetic, which is true in our personal lives and in our relationship with our Father.  We need to be aware of when we are becoming apathetic and God is challenging us today to think about all aspects of our lives and in particular our relationship with Him. Have we started to slumber?  Have we become lukewarm? Have we started to take our relationship with our Father for granted?  Are we holding back from allowing God to fulfil His purpose in our lives? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we have become apathetic and we need to give praise to God, to glorify and worship Him and to thank Him for his incredible grace and mercy in our lives.  We need to make Christ first in our lives and by doing this we are collecting oil for our lamps so when the Bridegroom returns for us we will be ready. Praise God!

The second part of this article will consider some practical ways which can help us to identify and to deal with apathy in our lives.

Author: Gary O’Neill 

May God bless and enrich your life

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