Dear Brown Girl,
I sat in my chair and listened as Reno preached. The more I listened, the more I started to think about Spiritual Apathy. Apathy or being apathetic means that you lack interest, enthusiasm or concern and if we are showing detachment to God, why are we really here in church? What are we doing here?
We know what the bible says about us being the Laodecia church. Are we really satisfied with being lukewarm? With just going with the flow? Are we happy with just going through the motions? We are not all for God yet we claim not to be of the world. So where do you stand Brown Girl? Are you with the Lord or do you resist him and stand against him? You can not be in both camps. It does not work like that. In Revelation 3:14-22, Laodecia is the seventh and final church that John was instructed to write to by Christ. The message was one of judgement with a call to repentance which is what we all need to do. Repent. How many of us who are only coming to church because we have to? Are we just consumer churches who show up, sit in the chairs/pews, say amen and then at the end of the day just go home not really understanding the message? Brown Girl, how many do not repent? How many times do you not repent?
Reno spoke of the 8 signs of Spiritual Apathy that we need to see and acknowledge because if we being honest, may apply to us. These are the things that you need to check yourself on so that you don’t fall into the trap of just going with the motions. Don’t stray from the path we are supposed to be on, Brown Girl.
Number 1: You have lost your first love.
Just like the church Ephuses in Revelation 2:1-7, have we forsaken our first love? Have we just been doing God’s work out of obligation? I want you to reflect and question yourself on why you come to church. This sign especially applies to you if you only come to church because you have to not because you want to. This is when you show up to church because someone or something is making you come to church rather than you coming because you want to learn more about God and His love. I don’t want you to do God’s work without the love of God.
Number 2: Church services bore you.
The church is not a place for you to go and catch some sleep at! You have a whole week to sleep! Church services last 2-3 hours max and if you can’t even keep your eyes open, you need to seriously rearrange your life. Prioritise the things that are truly important.
In Romans 10:17 it speaks of Faith coming from hearing the message and that the message is heard through the word of Christ. How in the world are you suppose to be hearing the word of God if you’re dead to the world? If you can’t even listen to His word during church service, how are you suppose to strengthen your faith? The church is not somewhere you go if you always want to be comfortable. Some messages are just a little harder than most to swallow. A church doesn’t always cater to the crowd and sometimes we don’t always hear what we want to hear. Sometimes the things we need to hear needs to hit us a bit harder so that we actually comprehend it. This does not mean that we should tune out, walk out or stop listening. It means that we need to sit there, open our ears and our heart and swallow our pride. Brown Girl, I know that some people have found it hard to hear the message and have left the ministry but I hope that we never make the same mistake. Remember, whether it is 3 or three hundred, preach your hardest.
Number 3: You have no interest in saving souls.
If you do not have any interest in saving souls for Christ, Brown Girl, then why are you here? One of the things that you are called to do as a Christian is to bring others to God, to be a light for others so that they may see His love within you. If you’re only here at Church so that others see you and think about what a nice Christian girl you are, then you are here for the wrong reason.
You are here by the Grace of God, Brown Girl. It would do you good to remember that. Someone had enough love for you, a complete stranger, to share the message with you. Bringing souls to Christ does not mean you need to be down at the shopping mall preaching and being loud. Sometimes it means sharing with one person. It could be over a hot chocolate and spending time with someone who you really feel compelled to bring to Christ. It could be a small group who you have a connection with a bible study group. It could even be a co-worker who you share with bit by bit. Winning souls for Christ doesn’t mean you have to baptise fifty people at one time. Remember that you do not need to push people. You put in the work and God shall do the rest.
Number 4: Worldly things attract you more than spiritual things.
The world is a distracting and messy place that we somehow get caught up within. It is flashy and pretty, yet when you get underneath it all, there is nothing but destruction and chaos. The world was created to draw us away from God and all that he offers. So if you are in church and your mind is elsewhere, you need to check yourself. Brown Girl, sort out your priorities. Put God first. Put Him above all else and you will prosper.
Don’t get distracted. I know the offers a ‘Good Time’ and as a young person, it is tempting. We have seen so many youths who we have grown up with within the Seventh Day Adventist faith leave because of those promises of wealth or prosperity that look so flashy. I do not want you to be one of them. Look deep within yourself and see what truly matters to you. Is a good (but fleeting) time now really worth your chance at eternal life?
Number 5: You are fooling yourself about your spiritual condition.
When we think we are okay, we put ourselves in Spiritual Danger. We need to review our spiritual condition each and every day and always remind ourselves that God is an almighty God who loves us unconditionally. We need two always remember to put God first and to daily seek his presence.
In Psalm 51:10 where it says “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me”, we need to always remind ourselves to ask God to create a new and clean heart within ourselves. This doesn’t mean that we just come to Him when we need help and for Him to help us. Now, this is a daily ritual. It is a struggle and I understand. Under the pressure of so many other things like work, school, and family, we tend to forget to pray to God to renew our heart. Then we start getting comfortable. We start thinking that we don’t need to renew our hearts daily and that you can do it every second day but then every second day turns into every third day. It then turns in to every other day and so on and so forth until you don’t end up doing it at all. Stop fooling yourself that you are doing okay because one day you will get to a point where you won’t even realise what you are doing is wrong.
Number 6: By failing to do what we know we should do.
We need to start with ourselves. Why do we not do the things that we know we should be doing? Is it a lack of courage? Do we feel that we are not enough? Or is it because we are just plain lazy? We belong to a church family. We belong to the Wellington City Seventh Day Adventist Church (W.C.S.D.A.C.C.). We are a community, a family. When the family is strong, the church is strong.
James 1:22 says “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”. Let’s not just hear it but put it into action. The word of God speaks of so much and there are so many things for us to do. Share his word, help those who need it, love one another, keep His commandments and yet we still struggle with the simplest things. Things like watching what we say seem so hard. Watching our tongue has got to be one of the biggest things people struggle with. Let us be doers of His word. Let’s start doing the things we know we should be doing.
Number 7: Frequent absences from church services.
If you’re not even bothering to come to church, can you really say that your faith is strong? Brown Girl, I know that sometimes it is a struggle to get to church and we are late majority of the time but let me tell you this. If you don’t go to church, your faith will weaken.
This doesn’t mean that you make sure that you get to church and that you’re present. Be accountable for other members of your church family. If you see someone starting to withdraw from Church, hit them up and let them know that you care. That you have noticed their absence and love them enough to give them a bit of your time and to check up on them to see if they’re okay. It does not mean you judge them for not being there at church and start saying that they are a bad Christian. No! It means that you think of someone else and you show them that you care. Being a part of a church family means that you are also accountable for each other. It means you walk forward together, not leaving anyone behind. Hebrews 10:24,25 reads “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Number 8: The story of the cross no longer moves you.
Last but not least, the last sign of Spiritual Apathy as Reno said is if you no longer feel anything when you hear of Jesus’ story and of His great sacrifice on the cross. The story of how He gave His life in order for us to have eternal life. If you get to that point, Brown Girl, I pray that you ask God to renew in you a new hear and a righteous spirit.
Let me tell you this. God gave up His only son to die on the cross for you. He loved you so much that He let His Son die so that through His death we may live. How many people do you know would be willing to sacrifice their son or daughter for complete strangers? Would your parents ever be willing to do such a thing for such ungrateful people like us? We are so undeserving of His grace and mercy and I pray that we never reach a day that we are not thankful for the second chance that we have been blessed with.
“Your Church is your family”
As he ended his sermon, he spoke of Ernest Hemmingway who was challenged to write a story in 6 words. The result? “For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn” How can such 6 simple words draw such vivid imagery and evoke such strong and sad emotions? Six words yet we can see clearly the heartbreak of a mother, the silent tears of a father. You can sense the loss this person must have felt when they put up the advertisement and you instantly feel the need to provide comfort. As we listened intently, Reno then asked us “What is your 6-word story?”
“For God so loved the world…”
Brown Girl, may this message that you received be one that helps you in your daily walk with Christ. Never lose yourself and I pray that you never stray from this path. He is with you always.