Sunday, January 06, 2019

How Apathy Can Destroy Your Relationship With God

I am a prime example of how apathy can destroy the relationship between a born again believer in Christ, and God. I've spent the good part of 5 years becoming more and more apathetic toward my relationship with God and it shows in how my life has changed in just a matter of a few short years. 

As a Christian, apathy is very dangerous because it could potentially destroy your relationship with God. I can tell you first hand that it leads to the shutting down of your emotions. You can be enthusiastic about many areas of your life, but you can also feel apathetic towards those things in your life that you no longer feel you have the strength to deal with. It could be a marriage that's failing or a job you no longer enjoy. It could be a social justice you just can't fight for any more or a video game you've played to death. Apathy doesn't allow you to care enough to even make an effort to salvage that thing which was once so vitally important to you, but now just seems like more of a bother than anything else. Apathy takes the fight out of you. It destroys desire. There's no passion or excitement or concern about what you may have once found to be indispensable. Anything can trigger this apathetic feeling. We've all had times when we've thrown our hands in the air and walked away from something, exasperated. But apathy takes it one step further. Sometimes, as in my case, you just switch off your emotions so you don't have to deal with the pain and grief. The best way I can describe it is to ask you to imagine what depression is, and then take one step backwards. That's apathy. You.just.don't.care.

I was always the believer who pressed onward, always trying to live my life to please God and always striving to reach perfection, always running the good race. I read and studied the word, and I wrote plenty of articles for this web site. The Lord worked through me to create a ministry (Tribulation Harvest) and create evangelistic tools to spread His word. I wore Christian apparel and didn't shy away from confessing that I was a Christian if someone asked me. I went to Bible study and attended weekly services. Even when I lost my job and ended up homeless and on the streets, my faith was strong, in fact it grew stronger through that trial! So what happened?

My growth and maturity in the Lord had exceeded my expectations and there was nowhere to go but up, or so I thought. What I perceived to be a lack of desire on the part of other believers to grow in spiritual maturity and commitment to serving the Lord began to grate on me. I judged their actions to be a reflection of their relationship with God, and although I'm not saying that judgment was in error, what I should have done was love them enough to remain part of the body and set an example in areas where I was strong. I am ashamed to say that I did the exact opposite. I allowed their behavior to affect me to the point where I felt it was best for me if I left the church. I felt it was the only way to protect myself from being overwhelmed with the grief I experienced when I realized how worldly the majority of the church was behaving. I felt that they were were more interested in their own small lives than they were in being active members in the body. They were more interested in what they were going to do after church than they were about actually praising and worshiping God while they were here at church. My assessment was that they desired to live their own lives in their own way instead of drawing closer to Jesus every day in order to become less like themselves and more like Him.

By attempting to solve my predicament by consciously extricating myself from the body of Christ, I erred, so everything else that followed just exacerbated my circumstances, making it more and more difficult to maintain my relationship with God. I had judged my brothers and sisters as being more concerned with their lives than what God wanted for them, but what I didn't realize at the time was that I was doing the same thing by choosing to leave the church rather than to stay and allow God to work through me to make some changes. I was being hypocritical by focusing on my own small life.

After I left that church, I opted to attend a home church that was being organized by some friends of mine who were all family members. I was usually their only attendee. They were friends of mine, and although things went well at first, things began to deteriorate. Soon, family issues cropped up that affected our gatherings on Sundays, and eventually I left the group.

Now I was alone. I began neglecting my reading and prayer time. Eventually, the neglect became a habit. That habit quickly turned into total apathy toward my relationship with God. I still had my faith, but apathy had sunk in to the point where I felt no ambition or motivation to work on my relationship with God or even think of dealing with other so-called Christians. I thanked God for every meal I had in front of me, I prayed for the occasional need, but that's not even close to the relationship that I once had with Him. I came to realize later that when I cut myself off from the body of believers, I cut myself off from God as well. I know now that I can't terminate my relationship with the body and not expect it to adversely affect my relationship with the One who dwells inside each of them. Apathy, and my anemic relationship with God, opened me up to the enemy's attacks which preyed upon the desires of my flesh. It was then that I fell into great sin. 

Although my wife and I have been separated for over 23 years and she lives half way across the country, we never officially divorced each other, so I consider myself still married to some extent. That came into play when I began participating in adultery. Me... an adulterer... who would have even thought it could happen? It would have shocked many of my friends who never would have suspected that I would have done such a thing. Of course, what I did was far worse than just adultery. These occasional trysts were with someone of the same sex. The fact that a certain yearning that I had been able to keep under control for most of my life had suddenly had the opportunity of being fulfilled became more important to me than the desire to serve God.

Fast forward about three years, which included the occasional trysts with a few more individuals, and I found myself asking God what was wrong with me. Why wasn't I freaking out over the fact that I had trashed my relationship with Him? Why, instead of freaking out one day when I felt what I assumed was His presence physically leave, did I immediately turn my focus on planning my next sexual conquest instead of dealing with the huge warning that I had just received? That's true apathy.

I wish I could say that this was all in the past and that everything turned out well. I wish I could say that, but I'm just now getting back on the wagon. I'm just now making the effort to get out of bed and get ready for the day and put God first in my life. I'm still fighting apathy. I'm still fighting those old feelings of not wanting to pray or read. I'm still fighting the desire to just sit back and play video games or watch YouTube videos to fill my time. 

Part of me doesn't want to have to put the effort into living my life for the Lord any more. It's like I want to be able to coast the rest of the way...take my foot off the pedal and just coast over the finish line and still receive the prize. I've been coasting for the past few years, and my flesh is used to it. I've grown lazy and don't want to make the effort. My flesh wants to sit out for the rest of the race and just wait for it to end, but I know that if I don't put the effort in now, everything that the Lord has done through me and for me, and all the effort I've put into my Christian walk in the past, will all be for nothing, as far as my eternity with Him is concerned. 

LordsBook.org
So, I'm now at the point where I have started rejoining the church body. I've joined a few Christian social media sites, like Lord'sBook, and I'm now conversing and sharing the word of God with other born again believers. I'm even providing the occasional counseling to a brother online. I sense those once familiar feelings of self-worth, and accomplishment, that can only come from serving the Lord, but I have a long way to go. It would be too easy to fall back into my old apathetic behavior, which is why I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself that I need to work at being an active member of the body of Christ every day and to ask God for His assistance to continually put more and more distance between me and the the behaviors that define what apathy is in my Christian's walk.

I could have written a polished and self-aggrandizing blog where I portrayed myself as the perfect born again believer, but that would have been a fabrication. Honestly, I'm just a guy who hit a major stumbling block in my life and fell hard. I'm so thankful that the Lord didn't decide to take me out before I was able to reach the other end of the tunnel. I don't want my name blotted out of the Book of Life. I want to spend eternity serving the One True Living God. I've never even thought twice of completely abandoning Him like some others who have backslid in a major way (they sorely need our prayers). I thank God that He has seen something in me that I cannot see in myself... that there is some worth in holding on to me and seeing me through this difficult time. I know that when Jesus says, "Well done, My good and faithful servant," I'll be bowing before Him in total humility because I've done nothing to warrant my entrance into His Kingdom. It's only by His grace, His love, His forgiveness, and His sacrifice that I am able to stand before Him now and in the future. 

Even at this moment, I'm humbled by His love, mercy, and forgiveness. I am thankful beyond words for His intercession for me as my High Priest. I have done so much these past few years that warrant His rejection of me, and although He's let me go my way, He still set boundaries of which He worked diligently to keep me inside. There were many times... many times... when he put up roadblocks in order to steer me clear of the multitude of adulterous affairs that I could have experienced if He wasn't there to prevent them from happening. I know that's what occurred because I could see it in real time as it was happening, or I could reflect upon situations later and see God's hand all over those situations. 

Apathy in the church is dangerous. It quenches the desire to serve God. It quenches the love we have for God. It allows the enemy to walk in unimpeded, to set up shop, and get the ball rolling on his plan to destroy our lives, both physically and spiritually. Apathy is a weapon the enemy uses to disarm us and to relegate us to the compromised Christian section of the church. 

Don't let the enemy kill your relationship with God by destroying your enthusiasm for serving Him. Don't let him drive a wedge between you and your brothers and sisters in the Lord. If you're not reading every day and praying every day, the enemy has already found a way to push you a little further away from the Lord, and he'll keep doing it unless you make the effort to re-establish that day to day, moment to moment relationship with your Creator. 

I hope that this encourages someone out there who may be in the same situation as I have been. It takes a lot of effort to get back out there on the battlefield, but the end results are worth it. I have faith to know that this is true. I'm still slapping myself in the face, metaphorically speaking, to wake up and be a productive member of the body of Christ once again. I don't have anyone to encourage me through this difficult time, but I want to be there for you. If you're reading this and need someone to talk to, just hit me up. I'll be more than happy to talk with you about what you're experiencing and hopefully the Lord will give me the words to encourage you.

Matthew 24:12-13 "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."

Don't let the enemy cause your love for God to turn cold. Get up! Fight! Endure to the end!

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