“One of the most common reasons for spiritual apathy is a sense of familiarity that leads to indifference.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 30, 2023
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1, ESV
As human beings, we can be engaged in an activity yet entirely disconnected from it at the same time.
Who among us hasn’t found themselves reading a book, only to realize they have no clue what the last few pages said? Or, perhaps you have sat through a lecture, pen in hand and notebook at the ready, yet simply could not keep your brain focused on the topic at hand. Similarly, we can do two things at once, especially when one is a familiar routine. To give but one example, have you ever started to load a dishwasher and then found your mind swept away in thought, perhaps reflecting upon a moment from earlier in the day or thinking about a hard conversation that you have to have the next morning, and before you know it the dishwasher is loaded, seemingly without any attention or focus from you?
Of course, all of the examples above are fairly trivial and mundane, yet the same principle applies to matters of eternal significance, such as our life with God. More often than I care to admit, I have found myself in church on a Sunday, in the presence of almighty God, even singing a hymn, while at the same time wondering if my soccer team had pulled out a victory in that morning’s game, or silently debating where we should go for lunch once the service was over. Physically present, yet mentally absent.
At a broader level, the western world is saturated with a cultural understanding of the Christian faith. Especially where I live, in the American South, it is virtually impossible to escape the visible signs of a Christian society and culture. Yet here I’m reminded of the oft-quoted words of Flannery O’Connor, who once noted “that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.” With very little effort, one can live their days Christ-haunted, perhaps even Christ-adjacent or Christ-friendly, but to be Christ-centered, as we read today in Hebrews 2, “we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard.”
One of the most common reasons for spiritual apathy I have observed is a sense of familiarity that leads to indifference. With very little effort or exploration, people assume they know all there is to be known about Christ and his church, and therefore believe it to be an outdated or exhausted message. Or one may feel sentimental and nostalgic about elements of the faith and believe it to have a few helpful points on how to live a good life, but not worthy of whole-hearted, unwavering devotion, and certainly not the foundation upon which every other part of your life is built.
Yet if we can assume a posture of great humility and daily approach the good news of Jesus Christ with open ears and expectant hearts, we will find an inexhaustible well of living water, one that is able to quench every thirst and revive even the weariest of souls.
Temptations toward indifference and inattentiveness abound, yet as we press in and pay closer attention, we will hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, who says to us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Father, help us to pay closer attention to the good news of your gospel, and give us the strength to daily return to you with all our hearts, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Is your life Christ-haunted or Christ-centered?
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