Day 17: Obstacle 4 – Who Cares About Apathy?

Day 16: Obstacle 3 – Stand Up or Remain Seated
February 14, 2017
Day 18: Obstacle 5 – Unwillingness to Believe
February 16, 2017

A fourth potential obstacle to personal and national spiritual awakening is apathy. This disease of disinterest has been a nagging, disruptive gadfly to every revival in our nation’s history. Apathy can take one of two forms: either a gradual familiarity with the extraordinary movement of the Holy Spirit or an overt disinterest in undeniable and extraordinary works of God. The first kind takes the form of a subtle comfort that breeds spiritual boredom and fatigue. The second kind is an overt disregard in caring about the obvious.

The first kind of apathy, a kind of spiritual descent of the heart, is one of the chief reasons that, without exception, nearly all revivals in history have never lasted more than a generation. Think of watching a spectacular Fourth of July fireworks display. We are awed by the first colorful explosions, entertained by the new few bursts, but bored by the time it’s over. Though the explosions grow more spectacular and more elaborate, our interest wanes. At first, we think this is the greatest thing we’ve ever witnessed. After a while, when we’ve seen enough, we just want to get back to the car and beat the traffic home.

The second form of apathy is the overt variety that works against revival before spiritual awakening has had a chance to emerge. This kind of apathy erodes people’s openness and anticipation for what God is already beginning to do in our land. More than indifference, apathy has the potential to blossom into true lack of concern, jealousy, and even antagonism. It’s not a big stretch of the imagination to hear these voices speak out against even the mere possibility of a new, uncontained spiritual awakening.

The result of apathy and its cousins, jealousy and antagonism, is that pastors who have been play-acting are going to be brought down. Who will be lifted up? Perhaps humble, spiritually mature pastors and lay leaders who seek God, without pretense, to know His complete forgiveness and unconditional love through humbling conviction and confession, pockets of light reflecting His presence and glory.

1 Peter 4:10 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 

Hebrews 10:24-25 New King James Version (NKJV)
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Romans 15:5-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.


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Phillips, Tom (2016-11-01). Jesus Now: God Is Up to Something Big (Chapter 6 p. 144-146). BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC.

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