Monthly Archives: March 2013

Forget Apathy

Apathy is a lack of interest or concern, especially regarding matters of general importance or appeal; indifference.  (Definition provided by The Free Dictionary.)

The Worst Kind of Apathy

If you find yourself in a repeating pattern of apathetic spirituality, it may look like this:

  • You have a house littered with Bibles and you don’t make the time to read Scripture at least once a day
  • You go through an entire day (or more) without thinking once about God’s vision or purpose for your life
  • You use prayer strictly as a vehicle to tell God what you want out of Him

I have found at my worst moments that I viewed God as an entity who served me and my needs rather than me being the one to serve God.  If I didn’t  pick up the Bible, it was because I was too tired, too busy, and I still prayed asking for things I needed without thinking of what God needed of me.  I was apathetic toward God.

Do you fall into that trap?  Do you profess to be a Christian without bearing fruit of a relationship with God?  If you find yourself going through the motions of acting like a Christian without really dedicating your life to God, then please rethink the health of your spiritual life.

Therefore the Lord said:
“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
14 Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work
Among this people,
A marvelous work and a wonder;
For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.” Isaiah 29:13-14  (referenced again in Matthew 15:8)

God does not like it when you draw near with your mouth, honor Him with your lips, but keep your heart far from Him.  This is a false relationship that God does not tolerate:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day,‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:21-23
The great news is that you can change with the help of God.  I did.  I’m still changing for the better.  If you want to sincerely seek after the Lord, just tell Him, and then pursue Him and love Him with everything you have.
“He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

Christians are World-Changers

So what’s next?  If you have a strong relationship with God, then let’s move on to the next step: defeating world apathy.

Do you think Christ was apathetic toward political and social injustices?  He traveled around healing people of their illnesses, speaking against corrupt leaders who abused their subjects, and teaching people that the lawful thing to do was not always the righteous thing to do (see Matthew 5).  John the Baptist spoke against the materialism and greed that is seen in so many of us today in Luke 3.  “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” Luke 3:11

You can’t focus on everything.  That doesn’t mean you can’t stay well informed about important political or social topics.  Never should you say “I just don’t care” or “This doesn’t pertain to me and my life”; anything that has to do with the human experience should speak to you because you are part of the body of Christ.  Realize that you can’t be the Hero of abolishing sexual slavery AND abortion AND racism AND oil spills AND exclusive healthcare.  God didn’t put you on earth to fulfill the needs of every human; that’s Jesus’ job, and Jesus does it way better than you or I ever could.

What you and I are called to do is to live up to Christ’s standards by passionately seeking God and allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us.  Ask God to see the world through His eyes, and the pain and suffering of the world will be revealed to your heart.  God will make our purpose known to us the more we seek after Him.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:-10-11

If your mission in life is clear, pursue it with a godly passion, and support the other worthy causes around you with money, encouragement, or time.

The Crux of Apathy

When you get down to it, apathy is really just a disguised form of selfishness.  Perhaps you find yourself so overwhelmed by the injustice of humanity that you have shielded yourself from the pain by becoming apathetic.  Maybe you’re so keen on finding that perfect job or graduating from college or providing for your spouse and children that you have completely put the needs of the world out of your head.  It is easy to be self-involved, and it is easy to ignore passionate proclamations on Facebook statuses (some should be ignored anyway…).  It is not easy, however, to take up your cross and follow in the footsteps of Christ.

Forget what the world says about putting your needs first.  Put God first:

He [Jesus] answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-27

Love God, love people.  Deny yourself the life you think you ought to have and God will open up to you a life more beautiful and fulfilling than you could ever imagine.

Forget Acceptable Nutrition

What’s the world say about healthy eating?  They recommend it, but no one really believes you can do it unless you’re one of “those” people.  Corporations cater to the fact that you think you’re too busy to really care about what’s in your food.  Do you even know what you’re eating half the time?  Can you pronounce half of the chemicals in your food, let alone contemplate the havoc it’s wreaking on your body?  The world says you shouldn’t care, that you have better things to do with your time, but forget everything you know about acceptable nutrition, and see what God has to say.  If you’ve ever read Leviticus, you know He’s definitely interested in your diet and health!

I’ve got news for you, my friends.  God wants us to be healthy.  He designed our bodies to operate like perfect machines.  Consider a car engine; if you put the right things in, it will work – and you need to take continuous care of it.  If you put regular gas in a premium gas car, you are going to have some engine troubles.  If your brake line is broken, you will crash.  If you don’t replenish your oil or fill up your tires with air, then you’re not going to get very far after a while.  Your car will break down.

Have you ever felt that way about your own body?  Do you find yourself frequently getting headaches or feeling tired?  I once claimed that I had better things to do than spend an hour working out, and that I had no time to do anything but heat up a can of Chunky Chicken Soup or microwave some Bagel Bites, and my body and health suffered for it.  If my body was an engine, I was putting in tar and expecting to run on Premium.  Does this sound familiar in your own life?

Let’s look at some of the ways your body and health can affect your spiritual life:

Your body is a temple: glorify God in your body and in your spirit.

“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

This passage is often only thought of in terms of sexual morality, but it applies to nutrition and diet as well.  A clean diet leads to better health.  Certainly there are some health things we are not in control of, so please don’t think I’m telling you that people with cancer have sinned in some way and brought their disease upon themselves. For most of us, our energy and overall health will improve if we improve our diet.  This directly affects our ability to serve God with our whole hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.  We are to glorify God in both body and spirit.

Lack of discipline in your body can lead to a lack of discipline in your relationships.

“So husbands out to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” Ephesians 5:28-29

Interesting to note: America has one of the highest rates of obesity and divorce.  Could neglect and abuse of our own bodies directly affect our loved ones?  If we cannot discipline and love ourselves at the most basic level, how can we discipline our minds and hearts to love someone more than ourselves?  Again, I’m not saying overweight people are incapable of loving their spouses, but I am drawing an eerie correlation between self-inflicted bad health and broken relationships.

If you are disciplined already, be careful not to let that turn into pride. 

“For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8

“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things.  For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:18-21

On the flip side, if you are experiencing self-obsession with your body image, pray about that.  If you are obsessed with your diet, whether gluttony or some trendy diet you’re proud to follow, pray that God would change your heart.  Do not let your body be your god.  Our bodies are a temple for the One True and Living God.

Let’s get to it!

This year I was convicted to start making myself healthy.  For years I’ve known what I had to do, but I kept putting it off for various reasons.  My loving husband, who’s a real health nut himself, constantly encouraged me and prayed for me to feel internally motivated to work out.  When I started praying God would change my heart toward healthy living, He did.  And He can change you, too.

It took me the better part of 8 years to really embrace this new lifestyle for myself.  Why did I recognize exactly what would make me feel healthier, happier, and stronger, yet ignore it?  This is the great irony of the American way: we have all the resources, all the time, and all the professional advice we could want or ever hope to have, and yet a lot of us ignore it.  If you can improve your health with diet and exercise, what’s holding you back?  Surely your health should be more important to you than your extracurricular activities, your promotion at work, or the new season of your favorite TV show.

If you’re still feeling resistant, get help for it.  Seek out a work out buddy, a partner in prayer, and maybe even a nutrition expert.  You are welcome to comment on this post or email me at thegodfiles@gmail.com if you need any help.  My husband’s favorite hobby is helping people be healthier, and I can give you some encouragement and tips!

Please, my friends, if you’re at the point now where you recognize that your human engine needs to be fixed, then please don’t just read this blog post – do something about it.  You can do it.  God will empower you, internally and externally, if only you ask.

Good health is vital to serve God, good diet and exercise shows discipline, and an overall fit body will make you feel great and give you energy to serve others.  Plus, being fit and humble when so many are either overweight or fit and prideful will make a great witness to the masses, and give encouragement to your brothers and sisters in Christ who are also trying to be healthy.

Remember, forget everything the world tells you about ignoring your health and focus on God.  You’ll be happier and healthier for it.

Forget Everything You Know

God’s determined that the year of 2013 will be my year of health exploration.  As much as he’s been transforming my mind, body, and soul, the main lesson I’m being constantly reminded of is: FORGET EVERYTHING YOU KNOW.

It’s a really big lesson that smacks me in the head just about every day, and here’s why:  the world is wrong.  My decision making paradigm has been focused on what the world tells me is healthy, attractive, successful, and expected.  While it’s gotten me to some good places in life, it has definitely left a strain on my mental and physical health.  Worst of all, my spiritual life was consistently inconsistent.

What’s curious to me is how much I’ve been tricked into believing what the world says is correct, even though I try so hard to ignore worldly advice.  I would say it comes down to the way I process advice.  If I stop to ask myself, “Is this what God wants for my life?”, then I can really cut through the smut a lot faster and focus on what Jesus desires.  The trouble comes when I first accept advice before consulting God, and try to work God around it.

Do you find yourself doing this too?  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I constantly stressed or tired?
  • Is my body physically healthy?
  • Do I get anxious or overwhelmed frequently?
  • Is my career my primary preoccupation to the point where I exclude my family, friends, and hobbies from my life?
  • Do I skip taking a day of rest every week?
  • Am I forgetting to prioritize God’s will for my life?
  • Is there something lacking in my physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual health?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you also need to rewire your brain away from the world.  The world teaches us that these things above are a normal and expected part of a human’s life. We’re taught that being overweight, stressed, and constantly on the go is a natural part of a human’s life, especially a successful one.  American culture in particular tries to cover up these stressors with pills and quick fixes.  While there are those who recommend a healthy diet, exercise, and reading Scripture daily, even the people with the best intentions can inadvertently cause others to focus first on “fixing the problem”, and secondly on God.

What’s the best remedy?  First, rid your mind of everything you think you know: Forget Everything.  Then, completely and absolutely focus your mind on God.  So many people mistakenly try to fit God around what they know rather than letting God shape their hearts, minds, and bodies.  I know I did.  I will be updating based on these topics to share what I’ve learned recently in my own life.  In the meantime, truly think about how you can improve your overall health, and pray that God would give you the wisdom, guidance, and desire to be a healthier you.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2