A Christian perspective on the issue of apathy examines the profound difference between laziness and apathy. According to Proverbs 13:4, “A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied,” laziness is the reluctance to exert energy or perform tasks when the capacity to do so exists. Scripture speaks unequivocally against slothfulness, encouraging followers of God to be diligent, reflecting Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
Yet, apathy, while related, is distinct from laziness. It represents an indifference towards issues that matter to God, a sort of spiritual desensitization. This desensitization is not unlike the metaphor my mother would frequently use when I was a child, that of ‘poop in the brownie.’ This metaphor, although crude, perfectly encapsulates our tendency to become numb to the presence of evil and corruption, justifying minor immoralities as inconsequential. But Romans 12:2 reminds us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
As Christians, we are called to be sensitive to what grieves the heart of God, yet we risk becoming desensitized due to overexposure to worldly influences. This desensitization, much like the formation of callouses on our hands from repeated friction, numbs us to the spiritual friction we ought to feel when we stray from God’s path. The heart, like our hands, can grow calloused to the Holy Spirit’s conviction when we persist in sin, leading to a diminished sensitivity to sin.
Remembering the first time we sinned after becoming believers, the Holy Spirit gently nudged us, making us aware that our actions were inappropriate for a follower of Christ. However, if we repeatedly ignore this spiritual friction, our hearts can become calloused to the Holy Spirit’s conviction, leading to spiritual apathy.
Imagine a television show you’ve been engrossed in for seasons, then suddenly, it introduces explicit content. Or a song you enjoy for its rhythm and beat, only to realize the lyrics are contrary to God’s word. Or even video games filled with violence and inappropriate language. These are scenarios where we face a choice to either remain engrossed in worldly content or to prioritize our souls over temporal pleasures.
As Christians, we should not be looking for ways to incorporate worldly trends into the church in an attempt to avoid offending the world. Instead, we should be guided by the words of James 4:4, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
God’s call to us is to resist the temptation to become desensitized or apathetic to the world’s ways. Instead, let us strive to remain sensitive to His Spirit, continually renewing our minds and hearts, and focusing on what is pleasing to Him.
Watch the full sermon here: https://youtu.be/6bWE5665xZ4