Devotional: The Lifelong Fight Against Apathy

This week, worship team leader Austin Chandler reflects on the battle with apathy in our lives.

“The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope.”

An anecdote that I’m sure is true but will absolutely never test for myself is if you place a living frog in boiling water, it will try to escape in pain, but if you boil the water with the frog already swimming in it, he will hardly notice before it is too late.

Two years ago in the span of two or three months, I went through a breakup, my parents got divorced, I was denied acceptance into OU, and my closest friends and I were doing that fun, passive-aggressive thing that friends do — and so we weren’t really speaking. When all of this was going down, I knew I was in the boiling water. I had been dropped in it, suddenly and without warning, and while it took me awhile to leap out of it, it was never for lack of trying.

While the most difficult times might not be easy to overcome, it is usually easy to discern that we are in them. These are the times that we are hurting and broken within. It’s easier to pray when you’re already lying on the ground.

It’s far harder to seek God when you’re the second frog. The one who thinks the water is still nice and cold and yeah maybe it’s gotten a little bit warmer, but so what? It’s the middle of the semester, everyone gets overwhelmed sometimes. When life is good, or at least okay, our sin becomes much more deadly because it also becomes nearly imperceptible.

In C.S. Lewis’ somewhat dense and stupidly profound The Screwtape Letters, a skilled demon writes letters to his nephew and apprentice detailing how exactly he should ensnare a human known only as “the patient.” One overarching theme of the book is that the best way for a demon to take a human soul is by making him unaware. Unaware of sin, unaware of doubt, unaware entirely, to the point of crippling apathy.

As Revelation 3:16 says, “Because you are neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Screwtape (the demon) proclaims, “It’s funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”

These things that the demons want to keep out are the fruits of the spirit, which many of us have heard but many of us (myself wholly included) often do not even fight to keep alive. We all know that we should be patient, kind, joyful, etc., but it is so easy to completely disregard them in the day to day.

Colossians 3:23 reads, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

This popular verse includes the work that is crucial to a relationship with God.

Today, take time to sit down with the Lord. Pray for forgiveness for any apathy in your heart, and for restoration from that. Pray that you would have the strength to put in the work and fight daily, and for the wisdom to be able to discern the parts of you that do not bear fruit; the parts that have been kept stagnant by the world.

Follow Austin on Instagram and Twitter.