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July 21, 2022 2:00 am
Wishing you cared more about your faith? Uche Anizor gets it. He dialogues about the nuts and bolts of overcoming apathy and morphing from lethargy to zeal.
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So I don't know if it ever told you about this but when I was coaching high school football back in Michigan. I had this one kid this one year on the team who is this outspoken Christian. Now I don't even know this you're gnawing at that house. I actually am pretty sure his dad was a pastor but here's what happened at the same time he was the laziest most apathetic and I member I confronted him one day about that because you know I'm like dude you know you show up late. You don't care you don't work. I said to my Lily said these words I said don't tell anybody you're a Christian that's what I said no I didn't mean it exactly as it came out but what I meant is if you're going to call yourself a Christian and you can be a lazy I don't care. You are not representing the heart of God. Welcome to family life today or we want to help you pursue the relationship and I'm Dave Wilson and you can find firstname.lastname@example.org or on our family life, family life today.
Apathy, a mindset about I don't really care about my life and my actions and even how I play, or how I work is not the heart of God and sorted out about that today we got JN's are in the in the studio with this first time ever on thing like today welcome to Philip today from me on this is great that you sent over there :-) because you've written a book called overcoming apathy.
I don't know if I've ever read a book about apathy, especially in your subtitle is perfect its gospel hope for those who struggle to care. I'm thinking of the parents there listening there thinking dentist describe my child care in angry it's not an easy thing to deal with but also, even to live with. So, your professor of theology at Abiola PhD from Wheaton.
You are a schooled intelligent man school desk and a husband and a dad, three kids of all the things to write about, you know your thinking professor theology seminary levels going to write about theology you write about apathy. Who cares why would you write about that. Even though Prof., human know them first of all I meant and I have a desire to live a Christian life that is honoring the Lord. I questioned no really, really early, my Christian life. Why I didn't feel as passionate about things that I knew I shouldn't passionate about. So Brenda quickly got involved with Specific Christ my first day on campus University campus Crusade booth. I got plugged there like roots of what really early on, I started to notice that like there were several people around me that seem to be more fully committed to the things that Crusade is all about vandalism should resume a world wind villain when build trains that I knew they were all good things, and I was committed to them intellectually and even commit is my will. My will was committed to it, but my passions weren't as strong. So you're kind of comparing yourself to other people around you wondering what to do with me. In particular, you remember this from how long those that I was 19, 20 little yeah so you felt that early in your Christian walk had some of the typical revenue Christian zeal for God stuff you know I was always in Scripture. I went out my faith regularly but a lot of this was just mean knowing what was good and what was right and me wanting to honor the Lord and pursue what was good and right and so it wasn't that I was, not doing anything. It was more an issue of why does my heart like lag behind my actions speak of personality now. Tell Harry that you're saying is more than I knew was more than that. Glycol the Buffalo Bills family bill lost for people in a row. I was very emotional and very passionate about it so it wasn't personality something more. As you dove into that what you what you find out at the time II had no answers and so I either just classify myself as apathetic Christian or maybe depressed Christian or something. I don't know what the deal is. So I put a little like my mind it's okay to come back to this question sometime later my life I want to answer the question of how can I be a Christian but also be apathetic. Later in my life as a theology professor starts interact with tons of college students mentoring several caught college students and while they have some common issues in your young men struggling with a variety of issues and whatnot for patients and Asians you know the one thing that stood out to me that was common to all of them. Although most of them was just a hard time caring about the things of the spirit hard time carrying things of God struck me.
Here I am at a Christian university with kids who are getting excellent Christian education there taking 10 Bible classes, the got chapels and opportunity after opportunity and yet still there, like yeah you know struggling to like to spend time on the word or pray, or do all these other baseline Christian things and so it just struck me think about this some more and write something about the you are watching young men and women express anything you experience last and so it's 20 some years later and nothing's changed. So where did you go to dig this answer out. I just okay. I will write a book on this and I don't know where the books, go out. I don't know what the answers are not an expert on apathy theologian by training. I'm an expert on psychology are all kinds of things but I just want to try my best to try to get my mind around myself and so most of my thinking on it is just me thinking about what are the various causes one of the things that are said about him pulling me toward have pulled me toward apathy and so in the course of studying it like I can cancel a number of different conclusions. A lot of our listeners be included would be like okay I am relating to a lot of what Jay saying in terms of like the zealous fire that maybe was there early. Doesn't seem to be is hot, maybe even warm to cold. You can even ask this question. Like I'm so much more excited to watch that new Netflix shell and I am to open the Bible. I have a lot of people could relate to that and the same thing happens in our marriages.
You know, we have an infatuation and newlyweds season that's just hot and heavy and here we are your 25 to 40 years later were just apathetic. So defining force. Do you have a how do I know if I'm the guy you're talking about. I think every person, every Christian could identify season in your life whether it is a really short-lived season like a day or two, or whatever, where they felt what you love God with love God.
I will return to be in the strict service I only want to read my Bible and think it is common to be human, to being a Christian. So let's talk about apathy, you must talk about the momentary lapses talk about more like a pervasive sense of not being motivated to do the things that we know are called to do so. If it's more of a pervasive prolonged bout with something I feel like this characterizes my orientation towards all things spiritual. Getting up. Yes, so if I am again listening on okay on their it's been three months it's been three years I would hear you and go To come sooner. I would be the classic definition met apathetic. Obviously the next question is okay headway how I did get out of this. What's the problem why am I feeling that because I would think you had to face that when you were in that situation, so the number of things that sort of bring apathy about their lives and I don't claim to know all the causes and the cause is complicated and mingled together and all that stuff. However, we do have a responsibility to try to figure out okay so me as a unique person.
One of the things that worry me causing me to slide into the sort of blog source data being what I think about my my Christian life and love the things that stands out to me is I've struggled with Delta various points of life and during those those belts without sometime during their long boats so intellectual does there there there were a variety of kinds of doubt that linked out motivation for the things of God brought us together, go away right because I'm questioning the very things was to be most passionate about questioning Izzy out there if you pick the exact God that I am. I believe what Jesus and the resurrection of these kinds of questions about and every now and again billable rise up my mind create these doubts will have a real effect. So I had to reckon with my own doubts and try to identify words with my Dell coming from the intellectual of the otherwise and then I relate to that one look at it and think it's even try relate as much to the doubt.
One I've struggled saying what you said okay you ever wants while some will pop up as like I'm doing great Nelson. For whatever reason, even recently in my life in Alaska. I think a lot of people maybe resonate with this. Some of my doubts were theological rose were behaviors like, how can people call themselves followers of Christ and treat me or treat others like this. So it was, I think that there's a generation walking away from the church not always because a doctor at the all right, but because if that's how Christians behave. I'm out, and it might've been a person ahead, zealous fire, and it goes away. So for me with my doubts which often are theological.
I have to go back to fundamental to biblical theological truths and remind myself and I by myself digging back.
Are you saying like I'm the same way I always go back to one thing and one thing alone for the resurrection of Jesus Chris.
I go back there all the time. Jesus Christ, I believe so. Alright so that I can work my way up from the resurrection, you know, but it takes a while I'm not alone honey like that downtime me.
I do the exact same thing you have to dig back out here saying this amazing is this is here with Dr. in theology who teaches at a seminary level theology saying that sometimes you still doubt encouraged by that, but also you're saying, which I don't always connect the dots. What you just did that affects your apathy that affects your fire and you gotta go back to the source is okay to deal with this so that the fire comes back that's not the only one so others I think about things like being inundated by trivial things all the time right so everyone bemoans social media in our phones and things like that and a lot of that is warranted right.
I grew up in a dry, I watched way too much to be right so I grabbed my Christian home I watched a lot of TV show. But I did want to watch and nowadays it's at every moment of every day someone is trying to tell me about something trivial is meaningful and I can imagine that being inundated with meaningless things that people are telling me are so meaningful.
You know like what the celebrity doing was, that's what would Lebron James always been like they matter but not really excellent. Once I was told that these things are more meaningful. You should really care what ends up happening is up over the course of time.
We don't just not care about meaningful things we become to treat everything the same right so if everything is important. Nothing important right now. Until, at last, what I think you know my triviality again and for some reason we put a higher value on things that really like you said that significant.
I mean I've seen and I'd love to say I never did this, but I did it to. I've seen people get more passion about fantasy football or whatever. Then they ever do about Christ and you can find yourself just immersing that and so you're saying when that happens, the things that really matter often get pushed aside the things that don't become the thing were zealous about or at some point we just all. Nothing really really matters and we become numb to everything. Cannot slip into depression like how would you know when that apathy has gone into depression. Those blue things I try to tackle it because they overlap significantly. Apathy can be a symptom of depression but depression doesn't necessarily still the same thing as apathy right so depressive is have a more pervasive sense of like meaninglessness in the lives of their suicidal ideation. There's been a sense of I'm motivated to do anything. Apathy tends to be a psychologist not an expert. Apathy tends to be more selective and so with Christians.
The things that were apathetic about are the things that are closest to the core of our being things that define us. The depressed person tends to be oftentimes just like I can't get motivated about things that matter don't matter between I just cannot get motivated apathy, sickness tends to be my understanding is, as I speak about spirituality tends to be selective latches onto the things that we value most. We talked about doubt can cause to be apathetic distractions and get involved in things that aren't as important, I want to ask about this for my sin because I know that in my own life. I love to say have a friend who this is a friend. This is me when I'm struggling with the sin let's say pornography or some kind of thing. That's like a secret hidden I can walk in a church service where people arms are raised in worship of God MSN that's the only indicator of a zealous passion walk with God vacant you can feel something is happening there really are ascribing worth. They are there fully and and I'm standing there like a can't feel what they're feeling and I think a lot of us because I've got a secret going on and nobody here knows about you feel like that ain't when you had struggle with that and that's why bring it out as like if semi looked at me, they would know I can go through the motions. I could probably even get up on stage and give a testimony and fake everybody out. Even though I have this private little thing going on, but in terms of fervor in my heart.
Yet Jesus is not there, it may look like I have it just because I want them to think I had it, but it's dead inside and it's in some ways it's because I'm not willing to repent of this sin is that is pretty real. That seems intuitively correct right so were responsible to have our mindset on the things of the spirit were responsible to feed the spiritual and so if were not engaging with the spiritual not to be actively engaging in spirited discipline for both swords or if not actively dealing with with God rightly member in my early crusade to talk about keeping short accounts, guessing that God is real stuff.
Yeah, it's Christianity 101 want to maintain a zeal for God. Zeal comes in relationship with the person in real engagement with the person. So if my engagement. The person is being stunted by sin and really dark similar dealing with shouldn't be surprised.
My heart is becoming colder and colder and colder. Two things of God is God himself. Do you feel the same thing is true in a marriage absolutely no so in a marriage.
If you're going through the motions and you're not trying to pluck about it from intimate with one another, not not willing to own sin, and confess your sins to one another. Seems like a law of the universe that grow cold, you might look good to outsiders might be a wonderful professional married couple, but in terms of like the fire in the zeal for one another for me as I'm listening to them thinking all the things you said about how our fire goes away with our walk we got are also true in America's relational if I'm doubting her love for me is right, I'm doubting she's committed. If I get distracted by all the things that are not put in attention. My marriage earlier sin. I mean, there can be no fire that married couple that since there may look good in church, but you know deep down side we've lost our love. So talk to Mary couple talk to this the Christian okay I'm there I got a get out. Where do I start.
We start with the recognition that our struggle with apathy is just one struggle among many other kinds of things that Christians have to struggle with what Christians do with the struggles that they recognizably have a God who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love that God actually is. We don't want to trip apathy as apathy is something wholly unique and wholly other sinful orientations were gone, but it's not more sinful than other sorts of things and so we need to do is recognize that God is for us, and that God is going to be the answer for apathy that God is engaged with us even as we were, like I don't give a rip about God. He's engaged with us. His spirit is engaged with us and use a variety of ways to try to pull us out of it apathy, maybe even an interview like this. We recognize that God is for us. Were not pulling from our own resources were not trying to sort like get to God.
God is Artie with us, then we have to like recognizing God's grace is not ever in vain that God gives us grace and grace empowers us to actually engage in a battle and so apathy in dealing with apathy is going to be a battle is not to be one with one knockout blow. Is that how you sigh and dealt with it back in college meaning when you went on staff the crew ascending even notice that like these guys are these Dallas passionate so as you take yourself back to that time. Walk through your whole process of what happened during that time if I'm being honest, I didn't deal with it right so I just struggled through it and just felt a lot of a little shame is the right word but just felt really inadequate as a staff member like my time with crew was almost entirely positive. There is not one element of me feeling like man I just think I'm just not where these people arrived and so to be honest I don't really deal with it back then.
I think the process of doing with it just became over time and I wasn't in particular battling apathy like as a thing I was trying to grow in my Christian life. Yeah. So now if you have a college student that your mentoring you can see he's just not passionate walk with God.
He wants to.
Many think it is just not going on how to use coaching and mentoring him that Steven and Wilson with Jay and his door on family life will hear Poochie's response in just a minute know if you have kids like I do, but don't miss this tip as your kids are getting older.
Keep them talking you want to be the go to person for the hard stuff with your kids so pry open the conversations that matter and we got your back with a resource called passport to purity weekend just for you and your preteen to talk about things like body changes, peer pressure and even dating. If you have teens passport to identity can help your son or daughter learn how to make their faith, their own uncover their calling and take responsibility start the conversation with passport to purity, or for teens passport to identity is now 25% off with the code passport for a limited email@example.com right now, back to Dave and Anne's conversation with Jay and his door and how to mentor a young person can't get motivated about the things of God to diagnose the issue and typically will do so last questions and the questions are really basic questions how you spend your time. So how much time are you devoting to playing video games yeah how much time are you devoting to other loves of the things that you really love and then how much time you devoting to the things of the spirit and it is a warning on what motivated to do things with spiritual us when the time to save all the math is pretty simple. If you don't do the basic things that keep you connected to God then you're not going to be connected to God, to feel your connection to God cold in your feelings towards God. Yeah, that's apathy.
So we have to diagnose at first, but sadly the diagnosis is pretty straightforward. It's people are not engaging with God. God will call to God.
Just like in a marriage. If you're not engaging with your spouse you can say what everyone I still love her. I still love him and you do, do it. If there is not that daily connection. It's going to grow your heart going to grow cold.
It's unnatural. It having a couple we said that we can remember marriage get away for life you always drift toward isolation.
You have to work to stay one is no different with our walk with God think that's right. Well it's interesting, I see the top right took a sponge that was an old crusty dry spines and I cut it out in the shape of heart and I said this is our heart and if we don't saturate that sponge with God, with his word with community the church where were pouring into it, our heart, and I could take a finger down just crusty.
Nobody can hear it's great yes get to the point where he can even band the sponge anymore and I said, and sometimes I can get used to think, even when I felt like I was apathetic. I just spent some time in Word today so that was great but it still wasn't enough that consistent pouring into because whatever we pour into that heart is going to come out as I would take water and just drink it, saying, what would it look like and ranch our hearts, and at spines became so saturated it just starts dripping out water passing. That's what I long for, but it also takes that discipline out and even analyzing wearing right now. What have I been pouring into my heart and the discipline of and I get to spend time with God like this happens at the beginning when your hearts hard, you do it like okay I did it, but the more we do it, the more we want to do it that it takes away a little bit wise it's like Elise is what I'm thinking right now is like put yourself under the fountain. You know it's I who said it.
We've all uses quote you know if you're far from God.
Guess who moved you know one of those because they guided move yeah I think they're somewhat true to that is like I've been under this ticket a bit of the source of living water, and I'm just not going back there enough and when I do it again. It's not like a legalistic. I gotta do my daily Devo guy, but when you do meet with them and talk with them and listen through his word and listen to the spirit. It may start really small but he starts to warm your heart and a more we plug in the warmer I guess not.
But it's never going to get cold again it will like is today today you need to say okay got them come back. That's right start right here. I think maybe a danger younger generation might have over an older generation is not that one generation does apathy another generation doesn't right right. However, one of the differences might be that younger generation won't just got it out and if not feeling it.
They may not be as willing to just do what they know they need to do to get out of apathy because not feeling it in part of the aim of all of life for certain generations is to live authentically so if I'm not being real or my passion for God is real, engaging my quiet time because I should or shouldn't go. It's not real, but I think that's a huge mistake. I think if we are generation can just latch onto this reality that a lot of times you're not going to fuel stuff life is not driven by feelings.
Feelings really do matter and your emotions toward God really do matter alike is not driven by these emotions. Often times we have to make consistent choices in the consistent choices will build the kind of feeling that we want, but oftentimes in this instant generation what the feelings immediately.
So if I asked the young Christian.
So how was your quiet time today will say I'm getting so I can get anything out of it typically means I expected an event to happen or experience to happen the Bible. Macbeth is likely not the case will happen is like laying some groundwork for nation foundations your building actual relationship and malicious are all about how you have the highs, all eyes will building a lasting deep meaningful relation of the symptoms doesn't have spectacular if I only with the gym when I felt like it. I rarely would go that's exactly right when I go because I know I should and I want the results. I usually get in my car in a way home and go. I was a good choice that I'm actually feeling that I look amazing to me even listening to Dave and Anne's conversation with Kate and his door on family life is book is called overcoming apathy gospel hope for those who struggle to care. You can get a copy of family life in a.com or by calling 800-358-6329.
That's 800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today. You know anyone who needs to hear today's conversation. Be sure to share it from wherever you get your podcasting while you're there a simple way you can help more people discover God's plan for families is by leaving a rating review for family life tomorrow. David Amo's and will continue their conversation with Jay and his door about overcoming doubt and taking actions to rediscover yourself on behalf of David Amo's and I'm shall be added will see that next time for another edition of family life today. Family life today is of family life crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most