Apathetic God? How God’s view of himself helps us resist apathy

“I have a very strong feeling that the opposite of love is not hate – it’s apathy.

It’s not giving a damn.”

Author Leo Buscaglia

It happens.

There are times when we won’t desire God.

It’s not just you. It’s me too. And I’m a pastor. Apathy is to pastor what incompetence is to teacher is what Keanu Reeves is to acting. They shouldn’t go together. But sometimes they do. And that’s unfortunate.

Apathy (a – without/not, pathos – emotion) is literally translated “without feeling.”

apathy-300x187Picture God in your mind. What do you see? And what’s your response to what you see? Apathy responds with a disinterested “meh.” There’s no excitement, no joy, no love, no feeling, no nothing.

In such moments, what do we do?

Before answering that question, consider this: God has never been apathetic toward himself.

Have you ever thought about that?

God’s thoughts about himself always result in passion and joy. In all eternity past, he’s always had strong feelings of love for himself. He’s never been without passion for who he is.

It’s remarkable.

How different I am. It’s easy to be apathetic about some part of me. My thoughts? Meh. My looks? Meh. My heart? Meh. My choices? Meh.

Is that ever true about how you view yourself?

But it’s never true of God.

Nor is any person of the triune Godhead ever without passion (i.e. apathetic) for the others. This means the Father has never once tired of loving the Son. And the Son has never wearied in loving the Father. There’s never been a time when God the Spirit has grumbled toward Father or Son. There’s been no apathy. Ever.

And it’s not just that God has loving feelings about himself. It’s that God is love.

To be God is to be passionate. He is strong desire. He is feeling. Love is who he is deep within his character.

So it seems accurate to contrast God and apathy. They appear to be polar opposites just like the opening quote suggests.

What does this mean for us? If it’s inevitable that we’ll feel “meh” towards God, what should we do?

#1 – Recognize God for who he is. God knows himself perfectly and there is ZERO apathy. God is love. He is not without feeling. He is never apathetic about himself.

#2 – See his passion for you. What do they call the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross? The passion of the Christ! God has not been “without feeling” in expressing his love for us.

#3 – There is more of God for us to know. We must see, acknowledge, feel, experience, desire, appreciate, and worship. Look at his character of love. Look at his passion on the cross. Keep looking. Keep seeking.

Why?

Because if we seek him, he promises us that we’ll find him. And when we do, we will not find apathy but love.

Questions: What do you think? Is any of this helpful? How do you fight apathy in your relationship with God?

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Posted on by Cor in FAITH

5 Responses to Apathetic God? How God’s view of himself helps us resist apathy

  1. Laura

    Great post, Cor! It hit homes these days. I’ve found myself fighting the temptation to believe I’ve become a ‘bad Christian.’ To fight, many times it has been asking God to change my heart. Repenting of my lack of desire for him and reminding myself of the gospel and the promises of my identity in Christ. Then discipling myself to read my Bible even when I don’t feel like it, knowing truth and promises from Him trumps how I’ll always feel.

    • Cor

      Yeah. I’m a believer in reading the Good Book whether I feel like it or not. Often I leave the Word with renewed hope and passion that I didn’t have before.

  2. Brian Maciasek

    Dear Cor,

    Great topic to discuss. From my personal experience with bipolar disorder I can relate to your message here. I can go from caring way too much about things/people, to not giving a darn about anything. From all-out passion to absolutely no passion. Falling somewhere in the middle would be key; and in so doing, I’d most likely make more sense to people–myself included. It’s a prayer that’s slowly coming true, thank God.

    God bless ya Cor…

    And what a gift to have: You organize thoughts VERY WELL for this generation…

    • Cor

      I’ve experienced that pendulum. I know what you’re talking about. I’ve seen how personal circumstances often cause it to swing from one end to the other. And I don’t want that to be the case. I want God to rule and reign regardless of circumstances!

  3. Rob

    This is quite relevant to me. The big thing I’d like to point out that when apathy seeps in, Piper’s ‘When I Don’t Desire God’ is more real than ever. If there’s no desire, then there’s no effort. While I know the right things to do, I simply don’t care to do them. Apathy is usually debilitating. With that, I’ve found having community and gospel friendships are needed for support and prayer.

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