An injurious attitude under the radar!
It goes without saying that the believers in Christ should have the right attitude towards God. That is how it should be. But it is not always so as we live in a world that is far from the ideal.
People often speak of right and wrong attitudes. Such talk may sound reasonable or even welcomed until you realise that “right” and “wrong” are value judgements. Such judgements presuppose a standard. In our world, there are many standards of right and wrong. Some of these standards are even in opposition or direct conflict.
Believers should rejoice that unlike the world around them they have only one standard that is stable and does not change. That standard is the word of God, the Holy Scripture. We are thankful that we have the unchanging Word of God as the anchor for our souls. And it is to that word we turn as we speak about attitudes.
Attitudes are things of the heart. The heart of man can shelter almost an infinite combination of attitudes. However, in our discussion in this writeup / video, we shall focus on just one attitude. This is because, in addition to being quite come and difficult to detect, it has serious consequences for its possessor.
The attitude we are talking about is “indifference.”
And so, the title of this writeup / video is “Indifference is dangerous, get rid of it!”
Here are a few questions to get us started.
Briefly ponder these questions
- What do you understand by indifference?
- Are you indifferent?
- Are you proud of your neutrality?
- Do you claim to be tolerant of all shades of opinion?
- Do you realise that if you are so spineless as to stand for nothing that you will fall for anything?
Indifference to God is dangerous
Indifference toward another human being is bad enough, but please we are speaking of indifference to God, a worse situation that is better imagined than be involved in.
The indifference which is the neutral attitude to God. It is the absence of compulsion toward God.
It is expected that believers in God will reference and desire to engage in meaningful service to God. Hence, when a believer becomes indifferent to God it is a serious issue. Perhaps you are surprised that someone who claims to belong to God can be indifferent to God. But it is quite a common attitude amongst believers.
The reason the attitude of indifference is bad and indeed dangerous is because God views it as rejection of His love. It is also a refusal to acknowledge the needs of others and therefore not render help where and when needed.
The thinking of the indifferent person is that it does not matter one way or another, it is of no importance or value one way or another. The indifferent person is thus marked by a lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern for God and the things of God. Such a one seems unable to make a distinction between what between what is valuable and should be defended and what is not.
The word of God is our guide.
Indifference is one sign of a “once-upon-a-time love for God” that has gone cold. The fire seems to have gone out. You are no more as excited or enthusiastic about the things of God as you used to be. You have gone on top of the dividing fence but refuse to come down on either side.
Yes, you are indeed lukewarm (Rev 3:15-17).
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Rev 3:15-17).
This passage tells us the heart of the one who is indifferent to God.
The one speaking: The Lord Jesus Christ. He owns the church for He purchased the church with His own blood. The church is in His service and is accountable to Him. He is all-knowing and nothing can be hidden from Him. He knew their deeds. They claimed they were serving Him.
The one spoken to: The church in Laodicea. Part of the body of Christ and therefore accountable to Him. He spoke to the church as a group and to the individual members.
The Lord examined and Indicted them: The Lord’s examination of them resulted in their indictment: You are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot. False claims because of blindness to their true situation
Imminent judgement: To spue (spit) them out of His mouth. Sin will not be overlooked in them or in any believer in Christ. Though the Lord is merciful, He will not overlook sin found amongst His people. They must follow the process He prescribed for them to be reconciled to Him.
What They thought: I am rich and have become wealthy. Have need of nothing. They were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked but they did not know. They thought wrongly. This was the situation of their heart that gave rise to their lukewarmness.
The Lord told them what to do: Repent to forestall impending judgement. This was an offer made from love. Though He loved them he would not and was not going to overlook their sin.
The lord said to them: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Rev 3:19).
Remember, the church in Laodicea was made up of individual believers in Christ.
God judges indifference severely!
They had what the doctor would call “loss of insight” one of the symptoms of a major psychotic illness like manic Psychosis and Schizophrenia. Put another way, they were seriously sick spiritually but lacked the understanding that they were sick.
They were self-deceived. Because of lack of insight they would not seek help. If someone were to tell them they needed help they will not only refuse but ridicule such a person claiming they were wealthy. They would do anything they could to reject much needed help, and possibly point to their material wealthy as a sign of the Lord’s approval of and blessing them.
To be lukewarm is to lack conviction. The person is half-hearted lacking heart, spirit, or interest. You still consider yourself a believer, but your idea of the faith has become foggy and vague because of persistent neglect. You are comfortable as you feel you are rich and comfortable enough. You do not want anything that will upset current situation. So, you stopped feeding on nutritious spiritual food some time ago. Now your spirit is suffering from malnutrition because of unrelenting supply of unspiritual junk food.
Yes, you cannot see your pathetic situation as you just want to be left alone!
Remember, no excuse is good enough to prevent the sin of indifference from judgement. Loss of insight, ignorance, or refusal to acknowledge lukewarmness or indifference does not prevent judgement.
Only repentance can.
Indifference is a costly sin!
But being indifferent or lukewarm is not only a costly but is a dangerous sin! You might think by being indifferent or neutral you are making yourself a friend to everyone. Nothing can be further from the truth. Commonly, people will prefer you stand for something, that you have an opinion and be known for it than to have none. If you are indifferent it is as if you have a placard across your forehead with the screaming headline: unreliable and undependable. And everyone that comes across you know straight away what to expect.
Some of the reasons given for being indifferent.
There are various reasons given by those who care to admit to indifference in their relationship with God.
- Weariness because of repeated battles with sin.
- Constant encounter with the ungodly who continuously flaunts his sinful lifestyle without apparent sanction from God. Remember Lot in Sodom?
- Incessant challenges and problems that seem intractable and with no apparent resolution.
- Confusion about the love of God because of some unpleasant experience with a church leader or church group.
- The person who is indifferent has reached the stage that he says, “Whatever happens I cannot be bothered anymore!”
Questions to help you focus.
Here are some questions to help you focus and see if the Lord is already indicting you for the sin of indifference towards Him:
- Believer in Christ:
- Do you consider neutrality a virtue and pride yourself as the consummate fence sitter? If so, you are only saying that God is not important to you.
- Is your love for the Lord still as hot as it was at the beginning?
- What happened to your first love for God?
- Why are you indifferent to the Lord now?
- Are you afraid of persecution?
- Are you becoming weary from frequent brushes with sin?
- Is the lifestyle of the ungodly around you beginning to look attractive and oppressively tempting?
- Is the desire to gain or obtain something you consider to be of great value to you, but which has proved elusive thus far beginning to deflate and demotivate and deactivate you?
- Are you beginning to think God is too slow or does not care?
Even amongst humans, indifference is frowned upon.
You will not think well of a friend decides to treat you with indifference. Neither will you take kindly to a loved one becoming indifferent to you. Anyone who decides to ignore or behave as if you do not exist will not be in your good book.
- So why would you do something that even humans including you will not tolerate from anyone to the Lord?
- Are you confused about the love of God because of some unpleasant experience with a church leader, church group or individual believer?
Remember again, in the view of God indifference is a neutral attitude that is as dangerous as hostility. It is condemned as rejection of God’s love. And God judges it severely.
Manifestations of indifference
Indifference can be directly to God or to things related to or associated with God.
Indifference towards God and towards things of God manifests in numerous ways. We shall look at few to which you will be able to add others as you reflect on the word of God.
Here are a few examples:
There is no desire to seek God.
The person with the attitude of indifference towards God has no desire to seek God. He feels secure in his situation and is unconcerned about God. There is a lack of effort to want to know as it is as if what is already known sufficient for purpose. Such a one fits what Scripture described thus,
“O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:” (Jer. 5:21).
“Seeing many things, but thou observest not; Opening the ears, but he heareth not.” (Isa 42:20).
Thus the problem is not physical inability but a warped perception. The Lord seem to have given one cause for this when He said,
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Mat 24:12).
Perhaps because sin has become so commonplace many might think God was no longer going to punish sin. They think God has become slack concerning sin. it is true God has promised that the wicked will not go unpunished. But He does not work according to the timing of humans (2Pet 3:9). Since they think God is slow, they became weary of it all.
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Pet 3:9).
The indifferent person will refuse to heed the word of God.
The indifferent person does not differentiate between the holy and the profane. As such does not see why he should obey anyone, not even God. he thus would not listen to or obey the words of God.
To such a one God might as well not exist and there is no need to countenance anything said to be from God. King Zedekiah and his servants did not listen to the word of God spoke by prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 37:1-2).
And since God is not punishing the ungodly as they think He should they see no reason to obey the word of God anymore. He can no longer take pride in God. And so, to him the word of God is more of a reproach and he does not have any delight in it (Jer. 6:10).
“To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.” (Jer. 6:10).
The indifferent person will therefore not obey the word of God.
Rejection of the discipline of God.
God disciplines His children to correct them and bring them back to the right path (1Cor 11:32; Heb. 12:7-8).
“But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (1Cor 11:32).
“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Heb. 12:7-8).
But the indifferent person rather than humbly accepting God’s discipline and mending his ways will usually refuse God’s discipline so that he might continue in his chosen path.
This is like the behaviour of the people of Judah in the days of prophet Jeremiah. The people while claiming to be worshipping God continued to swear falsely and though disciplined by God, they continued in their ungodly living:
“And though they say, The Lord liveth; surely they swear falsely. O Lord, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.” (Jer. 5:2-3).
Such ones when under God’s discipline will point to the devil or some other enemy as responsible for their situation. The last place they would look is at themselves since they see themselves pleasing God.
Whoever tries to point out their ungodly attitude may be accused of being judgemental or not loving. Their thinking seems to be that they are so righteous that no one, not even God can accuse them of wrongdoing (cf. Jer. 32:33). They usually seem to be so full of themselves that the only person that they can see and that matters is themselves!
“And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction.” (Jer. 32:33).
Indifference can be global or selective.
Indifference to God may be global or selective. It is global when it affects every area of the believer’s relationship with God. The person is cold and unenthusiastic about any and everything God and about God.
This is akin to the situation of the church in Sardis that the Lord spoke to:
“I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain that are ready to die: for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.” (Rev 3:1-3).
As the Lord commanded, the only remedy is to remember where you have fallen from and repent.
In this situation, the indifference to God affects only certain areas or occurs only in certain situations. Though still believing and serving God, this person does not embrace everything but selects according to some self-made rules or preferences independent of the commands of God.
Here are a few examples:
A person may be ignoring a declared intention of God.
The intentions of God are clear concerning many things. Circumstances may conspire to want to make a believer not to want to conform. God looked for someone to stand before Him for Israel and found none.
“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” (Ezek. 22:30).
Are you available for God’s use were He to require you for a special purpose?
Indifference to true leaders of the church.
There are believers in Christ that the Lord has appointed as genuine human leaders of His earthly church. This is speaking about true leaders of the church. That presupposes that you know the qualifications and quality of those that are to occupy leadership positions in the church.
Becoming a leader in the church or choosing a leader to follow should not be based on sentiments or emotions as such decision has eternal consequences for both the leader and the one following the leader.
The Holy Scripture states clearly the qualifications of those who aspire to or are appointed to the leadership of the church (cf. 1Tim 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9). We are also not left in doubt as to their fruits too.
Granted no one is perfect. But that should not be an excuse to accept or appoint or follow just anyone with a title.
- Do you see yourself as a leader in the church?
- Are you conforming to the leadership qualities laid down in Holy Scripture?
- Does the one you follow as your leader fulfil the conditions for the leadership of the church?
- What fruits are you producing?
- What fruits is your leader producing?
- If a large proportion of the church were to be like you or your leader what would the church look like?
- Would such a church bear a true reflection of the church of Christ?
False leaders and brethren
Ezekiel described a people:
“And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.” (Ezek. 33:31-32).
There are still people like this in the church today. They give the appearance of being believers in Christ, but their attitude and activities show they are only paying lip service to and do not believe the word of God.
Understand this is not about popular opinion or material wealth There are also many false leaders who have appointed themselves or been appointed by others. Observing what is happening in the world today, it is obvious that there are numerous false churches and false church leaders out there.
God repeatedly warned His people about the existence and appearance of them (cf. Ezek. 34:2-4; John 10:12-13). It is the responsibility of the true child of God to discern by the word of God and the Holy Spirit as to who such God-appointed leaders are as opposed to the false leaders.
“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.” (Ezek. 34:2-4).
“But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.” (John 10:12-13).
True leaders of the church are to be respected, be supported, and be obeyed in the Lord (1Cor 9:7-14. Gal 6:6; 1Tim 5:17).
Indifferent to the need of someone.
Believers are to be interested in the needs of others and to make efforts to meet those needs as they are able. But becoming weary of well-doing is possible (Gal 6:9).
- The chief butler was indifferent to the plight of Joseph after Pharaoh restored him to his previous position (Gen 40:23).
- The Lord condemned the indifference to the needs of the needy (Mat 25:41-45).
- The priest and the Levite were indifferent to the plight of the man attacked by thieves (Luke 10:30-32).
- The rich man apparently was indifferent to the needs of Lazarus (Luke 16:19-21).
- It is indifference when instead of meeting a need that is within your means you only wish the person well (Jam 2:15-16).
- How easy is it for you to continue to help someone who does not seem to be making effort to improve himself/herself?
- How about the unbeliever who derides you and seems to flaunt his wealth and love of pleasure around you?
You could get to the point of being indifferent and thus become cold or even hostile towards such a person. Indifference can make you to quickly consign the unbeliever unto the heap of condemnation. It can also occur in the opposite direction: Someone you believe has the means to help you but who repeatedly refuses to. You could become indifferent, even resentful and stop praying for such a person. But you should not!
However, ignoring God is the same as rebelling against God.
There is no hiding the fact that being indifferent towards God is as good as rebelling against Him. When you are indifferent, you ignore and thus consider God of no consequence (cf. Jer.2:19; Ezek. 12:2). That is what the rebellious does.
“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” (Jer. 2:19).
“Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.” (Ezek. 12:2).
And God hates rebellion especially from those who profess to be His people. Remember the experience of the rebellious ones amongst the Israelites during their journey to the promised land.
Those who are indifferent to God are in danger.
When a person is indifferent to God that person is simply saying “I have no need for God for I want to leave my life as I want.” That is another way of telling God, “Hands-off!” that is dangerous as we see in the life of the churches in Sardis (Rev 3:1-3) and in Laodicea (Rev 3:15-17).
And should God step aside from your life, the devil will step in at the first opportunity. Remember the case of Job. Though Job was living right with God and was even commended by God, the devil stepped in at the first opportunity!
It is even worse for the unbeliever. Because there is no salvation apart from God as He says,
“I, even I, am the LORD; And beside me there is no saviour.” (Isa 43:11).
For those who are unsaved and are ignoring the salvation of God there is no hope. Here is an appropriate Scripture description of such ones,
“But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.” (Jer. 7:24).
Hence, they are in mortal danger literarily! Christ made it truly clear when He said,
“He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” (Mat 12:30).
This is because only the Lord Jesus Christ alone is both Saviour and Lord,
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
No excuse whatsoever!
Whatever the case may be and whatever excuse any person may give, indifference to God is tantamount to hostility and rebellion to God. It is one manifestation of the refusal to accept the sovereignty of God over His creation. It is utterly sinful before God.
“For the vile person will speak villany, And his heart will work iniquity, To practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, To make empty the soul of the hungry, And he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.” (Isa 32:6).
Indifference is an attitude of the mind, develops slowly and may therefore be difficult to detect. Being aware of the possibility will go in some way to help you detect it as you do your self-examination regularly and according to the word of God.
Remember, the judgement of the church in Laodicea was to the church as a group, and to the individuals that made up the church: The Lord spat them out of His mouth as He said, “I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev 3:15).
The Lord still loves you. Therefore He has granted you the grace to watch this video, “Indifference is Dangerous, Get Rid of It!” He is calling you to wake up from your lethargy now and become hot for Him once again.
The lord said to them:
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Rev 3:19).
The Lord is saying the same thing to you NOW!
You are being given the opportunity to repent and be restored so you can be zealous for the Lord once again.
Remember, God cannot be mocked:
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal 6:7).
The Lord knows everything. Do not be indifferent to God. Do not be indifferent to your fellow human beings. It is dangerous! So repent.
Please do not be complacent in your relationship with the Lord. Take needed due diligence every day to ensure you are doing your utmost to prioritise the Lord above all others.
May the LORD draw your attention to areas of your walk of faith needing improvement and grant you the means to effect needed change. May indifference be far from you. And may the grace of God be sufficient for you in every situation in Jesus’ Name, Amen.