Spiritual apathy

Look down from heaven and see from Your lofty dwelling place, holy and glorious.
Where are Your zeal and Your mighty acts [Your miracles which you did for Your people]?
The stirring of Your heart and Your compassion are restrained and withheld from me. – Isaiah 63:15

The Lord looks down upon us in tenderness and mercy. Spiritual judgments are more to be dreaded than any other calamities; and we should most carefully avoid those sins which justly provoke the Lord to leave men to themselves and to their deceiver. Our Redeemer from everlasting is thy name; thy people have always looked upon thee as the God to whom they might appeal. The Lord will hear the prayers of those who belong to him, and deliver them from those not called by his name. – Matthew Henry

In New Testament terms, this thought might best be exemplified in the Lord’s message to the church at Laodicea. The believers at Laodicea were faithful to attend church, act the part of being a Christian but had no real passion for God. They were in a state of spiritual apathy, believing they needed nothing from God, not seeing the truth of their condition.  They needed a good dose of spiritual awakening like Isaiah experienced. They needed a fresh vision of the holiness of God that would allow them to see their tepid faith. The believers at  Laodicea were not dead but neither were they on fire for God. They just existed, having a faith that revealed no proof of a love for God, a dependency upon God, or a concern about godly things. Christ reprimanded and encouraged the church.  They were to be passionate about living a life that was holy and sensitive to the truth of sin in their lives. Their lives were to be lives of gratitude zealous to live exactly as God desired of them. Paul rehearsed with Titus the gift of salvation and the goal of the Christian life based upon Christ’s gift.

One of the key passages exemplifying for us how to pray for revival is Isaiah 63:15-64:12.  The nation of Israel was in dire need of revival as it had come under the strong discipline of God for spiritual apathy, apostasy, and adultery.  The prophet’s prayer is very instructive for us. – Ben Simpson

Desertion is the Lord’s withdrawal of the normal influences of His Spirit.  It is of the greatest importance to know that it is the Lord who, in the state of desertion, withdraws His normal operation, infusion of grace, illumination, and comfort. In the Word of God this is represented with a variety of expressions, each of which are expressive of a specific manner of desertion, and here it is exemplified by being “restrained.” – Velore Seun

Most blessedly is this represented to us in, “My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him” (Song 5:4). Here the door of the heart (Act 16:14), or more specifically, the “door of faith” (Act 14:27), is seen shut against Christ, and the object of His love loath and unwilling to rise and open to Him. But, though unwelcome, His love cannot be quenched, and He gently enters (He does not burst the door open!) uninvited. His “hand,” opening the “door,” is a figure of His efficacious grace removing every obstacle in the heart of His elect (cf. Act 11:21), and winning it to Himself. The effect of His gracious entry, by His Spirit, is seen in the, “and my bowels were moved for him,” which is a figure of the stirring of the affections after Him (cf. Isa 63:15; Phile 1:12). For the thoughts of this paragraph, we are indebted to the incomparable commentary of John Gill (1697-1679) on the Song of Solomon. – Arthur Pink


3 Keys to Fighting Spiritual Apathy

Reverence in the Local Assembly


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