I hope everyone reading this is have an AMAZING Sunday, and if you aren’t then I hope everyone reading this will send you wonderful prayers of encouragement!
Please, if you’re reading this and are having an AMAZING weekend then please pray for those that are struggling.
Now, to the point of this article I’m trying to write, and I hope it turns out well, but I was thinking the other day about what I titles this article:
“Is Not Caring Considered a DEADLY SIN?”
In John 15, Jesus reminds His disciples that in order to bear fruit, they must remain in him. Acedia is the refusal to do the things necessary to abide. It is the lack of care that causes the slow fade.
What Acedia Means in the Bible
While the Greek term never appears in the New Testament, the concept derives from biblical teaching. In the Garden of Gethsemane, when tempted in the time of despair, Jesus sets the example for his disciples. The Son goes off to pray to the Father in his time of need, while challenging his followers to stand watch. After some time, Jesus returns to find the disciples sleeping out of exhaustion from sorrow (Luke 22:45). The Messiah rebukes his followers and asks them to get up and pray so they will not fall into temptation.
In Revelation, the church of Laodicea is rebuked for its lack of spiritual zeal. Their self-sufficiency and lack of confession caused them to lack fellowship with Christ and neglect the needs of others. As a result, their presence was sickening to the Lord (Revelation 3:14-18). The cure for their condition was repentance and acceptance of Christ’s invitation of rebuke, discipline, and fellowship.
What Are the Symptoms of Acedia?
How do we know if we struggle with acedia? In the parable of the talents, the good and faithful servants were the ones who, while the Master was away, utilized what had been entrusted to them to produce more for the Master. The unwise servant, out of faithlessness, fear, and sloth, did nothing with what he was given. In return, the talent was taken from him and given to another (Matthew 25:14-30). Using the parable as an example, acedia exists when we allow our misunderstandings about ourselves or Christ to impede us from the kingdom work to which he calls us—showing faithful love to God and others. The symptoms can range from a failure of repentance to failure to adhere to the needs of others. The primary characteristic is a lack of care within our priority and superiority of Christ.
How to Overcome the Sin of Acedia
Like the Laodiceans, we struggle with presumed self-sufficiency and succumbing to the pressure of the culture war. Our jobs, (Or for me my college courses) families, and social obligations begin to dictate our schedules. Before we realize, fellowship with the Father has become a forgotten pastime, or something we think happens only at a spiritual retreat. So how do we overcome the temptation to give up our first love in moments of weakness?
1 – Develop and Practice Spiritual Disciplines
Many times, people argue against spiritual disciplines because they do not want to appear legalistic in their religion. Understanding that some spiritual disciplines help develop a love relationship can soften hearts to the study of God’s Word, prayer, and worship. A marital relationship does not stay exciting by simply living in the same house. The couple must communicate regularly, oftentimes scheduling time together. Calendaring out time for God physically places Him as a priority on our calendars.
2 – Continue to Reset and Re-evaluate our Focus
I have often had a focus verse to help guide me through the quarter or through the year. This has helped me focus on how I felt God was leading me for a particular season. Proverbs 29:18 states that where there is no vision, the people perish, but happy and blessed is he who keeps the law of God. When we pray for focus on the promises and purposes God has for us, we can center our plans around that key purpose.
3 – Remember your identity in Christ
We give in to the temptation of acedia when we allow ourselves to be distracted by the circumstances around us and forget who we are in Christ. When Jesus returned to his disciples at the Garden of Gethsemane after they had fallen asleep, he reminded them that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). In Christ, we are a new creation. We have received the Holy Spirit who helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26).
The next time I decide to live in my sweatpants and on my couch while being too lazy to study for my nursing classes (and my chemistry clases which I really do not love as much as I wish I did) , I think I am going to evaluate the purpose behind my decision. Am I tempted to give in to the meaningless or mundane rather than pursuing the purpose God has called me to passionately pursue in Christ? As believers, we are called to run the race with perseverance, keeping our eyes on Christ Jesus our Lord. When we consider him, we will not grow weary and lose heart.
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