Steps to Overcome Spiritual Indifference
Even the most devout of Christians are bound to experience times of doubt and apathy. The Bible, however, adamantly counsels the faithful to overcome spiritual indifference and choose the love of God.
Take, for example, John 19: 23-24, which describes the actions of Roman soldiers in the wake of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ:
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,
“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”
So this is what the soldiers did.
After the gruesome execution of Jesus, the soldiers were merely concerned with dividing Christ’s belongings. They had become accustomed to daily violence, and the crucifixion site, no matter how brutal and cruel, was now commonplace to them. This is the danger of spiritual indifference. It conditions us to accept and ignore both the immense pain and the miraculous goodness that surround us.
Fortunately, there are a variety of techniques to help you cope with spiritual indifference. While different techniques will work best for different people, the four steps below are a great place to start!
Go back to the familiar
Think back to the times that truly defined your commitment to Christ. Relive the events, ceremonies, Scriptures, locations, or activities that made these times special. Sometimes the best way to reset for the future is to look back upon the foundational values that identify us.
Address unconfessed sin
Spiritual indifference may have deep roots in sinful disobedience. If we are unrepentant, unremorseful, or even unaware of sin in our lives, we may find ourselves feeling distant from and disinterested in God. Consider the following words of David in Psalm 32: 3-4:
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night, your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up by the heat of summer.
Due to his silence about his sin, David feels physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. And, as we will see below, spiritual exhaustion makes spiritual action quite difficult.
Focus on doing
As Romans 12:11 dictates, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” The idea here is that we can cultivate spiritual enthusiasm through our willful zealous deeds. For many, the root cause of spiritual indifference is listlessness or laziness. Try volunteering, getting involved with a church group, or otherwise spurring yourself to action.
Try a new book
It may sound overly simple, but if you are feeling spiritually indifferent, you may want to buy yourself a new Bible. Many Bibles come with colorful features that you may not know you’ve been missing. Even better, you may find a particular translation or commentary that speaks profoundly to you. Other books of Christian thought, or even a journal to record your own questions and ideas, might also chase spiritual indifference away.