How can I overcome spiritual apathy?

Spiritual apathy is a feeling of indifference or even coldness to the things of God. It can affect any Christian, even one who is fully sincere in his/her faith. This numbing of one's emotions takes the place of the former passion and zeal that were directed toward God. If you recognize that you have become spiritually apathetic, you must take the steps to overcome it if you wish to thrive in your walk with the Lord.

When you become aware of your spiritual apathy, first affirm that you are a child of God (Acts 16:31; 1 John 5:13; Romans 8:16). Once you have that settled, ask yourself, "What has caused this spiritual apathy to come into my life?" If you have unrepentant sin issues in your life or do not know how to invest in a personal relationship with Jesus, these could both be open doors that allow apathy to creep into your heart.

We all sin and fall short of God's perfection (Romans 3:23), but God's grace and the power of His Spirit enable us to say no to habitual sinning (Titus 2:11–12). If we fall into a consistent pattern of sin, we are distancing ourselves from God without initially realizing it. This will lead to spiritual apathy, because we are submitting ourselves to the power of Satan rather than the power of God (1 John 3:8–10). We can cry out to God for renewal and forgiveness as David did in Psalm 51: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. … Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit" (Psalm 51:10, 12). Notice how David equates forgiveness from sin with restored joy in his salvation. When we get rid of sin issues in our lives, God will restore our hearts and we will again find joy in Him.

Another issue that can cause spiritual apathy is allowing our Christianity and our relationship with God to become formulaic. When we allow our spiritual walk with the Lord to become merely about obedience without love or the power of the Spirit attached to it, we have lost the element of power and life within our relationship with God. We can obey God without love, but we will eventually become apathetic. The Ephesian church was praised for their love (Ephesians 1:15–16), but they were later chastised for having lost it: "you have abandoned the love you had at first" (Revelation 2:4). It is important to not just know the teachings of Christ but to live empowered by Him. When our Christian life becomes rote, it becomes boring. Recognize that Christianity is about a living relationship with God—a God whose mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22–23) and a God whose kingdom is already here and is still coming (Psalm 103:19; Matthew 6:9–10; Daniel 2:44; Revelation 11:15).

If you are struggling with spiritual apathy, remember the passion and closeness you have had with God in the past, repent of any sin (1 John 1:9), and partner with Christ to renew your heart and mind (Psalm 51:10; 1 Corinthians 2:16; Titus 3:5). Allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through you so you will have the fruit of the Spirit in your life (Galatians 5:22–23). Get involved in a local Bible-believing church (Hebrews 10:25). As you develop your relationship with God afresh, the joy of relationship with Him will re-enter your life, filling you with fresh energy in your walk with the Lord.

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