To love God and love others is the heart of Christianity. Because of this, apathy (the opposite of love), is something that is very toxic to our faith. Apathy sets in when we close our hearts off to the things God cares about (and calls us to care about). We must seek to overcome these apathetic tendencies by opening our hearts to the people we encounter and allowing ourselves to be moved to action to meet their needs. Our journey toward greater passion begins with passionate prayer.
Revelation 3:14-15 - These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
Apathy is something that affects all people from time to time. Why do you think people grow apathetic? What are the excuses we hide behind?
The root of our English word passion is “suffering” (Latin), while apathy means “without suffering” (Greek). How does love cause us to suffer? Why is apathy such an inviting option? Discuss the idea of suffering as it relates to passion and apathy.
Looking at Scripture:
Read Luke 18:1-8.
In Jesus’ day, a widow would automatically have been assumed to be poor, defenseless, with very little going for her. So she would be an easy target for those looking to take advantage of her financially or in other ways. We don’t know what this particular (fictional) widow was experiencing, except that she was facing injustice and needed help that only the judge could provide. Put yourself in her position. As you asked (and kept asking) the judge to grant you justice, what range of emotions/thoughts would you experience?
Have you ever prayed for something in such a way that you experienced those emotions?
This parable can be confusing, but Luke gives us the meaning before he tells the story. According to verse 1, what is the point Jesus is trying to make? How is this widow an example for us of how to pray?
How do you think apathy in prayer and apathy in action are related? Which do you think comes first in our lives? How do you think we can use prayer to “jumpstart” our passion?
Review the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. What excuses do you think the Priest and Levite made as to why they couldn’t help the man in trouble? How are these similar to the excuses we make for our own apathy?
There are millions of needs in this world – good causes, individuals, etc. There is no way one person or church can meet all of them. How can we know which ones we are called to meet? Is there a healthy way to see a need but truly not feel called to meet it?
Do you think apathy is a problem in our church right now? Where do you see us struggling? Where are we passionate? How can we get better? How can you contribute?
On a separate sheet of paper (or using the Apathy Worksheet given out on Sunday and available online), list out some areas where you are struggling with apathy. For each, write out:
· A confession of how you have failed to love God/others in that area
· A passage of Scripture that reinforces the need to be passionate in that area
· A prayer that expresses passion in that area
· Any action steps God brings to mind that you need to take