“Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain…. they are those who hear the word, but
the cares of the world
and the deceitfulness of riches
and the desires for other things
enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”
Mark 4.7, 18-19, ESV
Apathy is dangerous.
It slinks stealthily into our hearts, lulling us into a false sense of security.
It whispers damaging questions like,
“Does it matter if I attend worship regularly?”
“Do I really need to read my bible everyday?”
“Will it hurt me to watch violent, graphic movies?”
It feeds on our busyness:
“Prayer is too hard to find time for,” it presses, “Just say some words over your food and you’re good to go.”
“With all the kids’ activities, I don’t have time for bible studies. I’ll get around to that later…”
“People should be able to take care of themselves. You don’t need to go out of your way to be help this person. They’ve got enough help. Don’t worry about them. Worry about your own problems.”
Apathy is as dangerous as a rip current in the ocean. A person goes for a swim in the glittering ocean, thinking they’re swimming in a particular direction, only to find themselves much farther from the safety of the coastline than they intended. Before they know it, they don’t have enough strength to get back to the coastline. They panic, and often drown.
Apathy is also illustrated well in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower.
The seed sown among the thorns has always grabbed my attention because I feel like this is the one I’m most prone to be. I’m not immune from the cares (worries) of this world. I, too, get dazzled by material wealth. Sometimes I don’t commit my plans to the Lord, and my desire is for something other than him. This is not a new problem, nor is it unique to me or Christians in the United States. It is clear, however, that we allow the word to be choked by these things.
How do we combat apathy?
Renew The Mind. Daily.
Part of this January’s scripture writing plan involved copying the 12th chapter of Romans. The first two verses read:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The entire chapter emphasizes the mindset we must have as a Christian:
- Humility (v.3)
- Sober judgement (v.3)
- An abhorrence of evil & love for what is good (v.9)
- Genuine Love (v.9)
- Joy (v.12)
- Zeal/Diligence (v.11)
A renewed mind spots arrogance within itself.
A renewed mind doesn’t play with evil or tiptoe in it. It abhors it like a pile of sewage.
A renewed mind diligently obeys the Lord, even when their feelings refuse to go with the program.
In order to spot inner arrogance, outer evils, and the need for diligence, it is essential to self-examine ourselves in the mirror of the bible and spend time with the Lord in prayer. These habits are not about checking some religious box, but about drawing closer to our Heavenly Father and following Jesus closely.
Does my attitude reflect someone following Jesus or conforming to the world?
In Mark 2, a young man is paralyzed—unable to walk. He needs to see Jesus for healing. His friends know that if they can just get to Jesus, their friend will walk again because they have likely heard about His power. The crowd is so thick that they cannot get through. They could have shrugged it off and said, “Oh well… we’ll try again next week.” Their faith and determination was such that they hoisted this man up to the roof, removed part of the roof and lowered him down before Jesus.
They persisted in pursuing Jesus. They weren’t going to let anything stop them.
Are we like those men? Do we pursue Jesus? Or do we allow other obligations or other desires get in the way?
Am I skipping certain worship services so I can go on vacation? Sleep in? Work out? Or because I don’t want to worship with all those hypocrites? (People use imperfect people as a HUGE excuse for skipping out on worship!)
Am I refusing to help people because I see myself as more important than they are? Do I allow my interests to get in the way of ministering to others?
Am I serving the members of my own family with Christ-like love or do I get irritated with them and see them as a burden?
When I approach worshipping, studying, praying, or serving, I need to approach it with the same desire as those four men carrying the paralytic. I want to see Jesus. I need Him so I can be renewed, healed, and revived.
Let’s overcome apathy by keeping our minds and hearts fixed on the Lord. Through Him, we can overcome every temptation.