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January 04, 2020
5 Signs of Spiritual Apathy
By Grace Church

Is spiritual apathy creeping into your life? Here are five indicators that it may be time to startle your soul awake.


There’s a term in the art and film industry called “visual lethargy” to describe the process of becoming desensitized to the same sight. You’ve probably experienced it. The first time you see the view from a vacation rental, you’re stunned. You drink in every detail, filled with awe and gratitude. By day five you scarcely notice the view, and really, you just wish the kids would quit fighting so you could hear yourself think. Heaven knows, if you were to buy the vacation rental, the view would become so commonplace it’d be virtually invisible. 

So it goes with the things of God. The grace that once left us breathless can feel humdrum over time. Scripture that brought us to our knees sounds hollow and rote. “Yeah, I can do all things through Christ…what else is new?” When this happens—when the sacred becomes common—Princeton professor B.B. Warfield writes, “God forgive you, you are in danger of becoming weary of God!”

Familiarity is a powerful force. It can drive us to intimacy or apathy. Just as a married couple must strive to rekindle their affection, so believers must strive to recapture their awe of God. To sit before Him in silence. To worship without an agenda. To taste His goodness and drink of His presence again and again.


Jon Bloom defines boredom not as the opposite of busyness, but as the opposite of interest. Everyone feels disinterested from time to time, but pervasive disinterest could be a sign of spiritual apathy. G.K. Chesterton said, “There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.” If you can’t muster up any interest in what your pastor says, or your spouse says, or your child, friend, boss, or coworker says, it’s worth getting curious about your boredom. 

Bloom writes, “Listen carefully to your boredom. It’s telling you something important. It’s a hunger for happiness. Don’t just feed it the junk food of easy entertainment and stimulation or the malnourishing diet of selfish pursuits. If you heed boredom’s warning, it will show you your broken joy cisterns. If you accept its invitation, it will lead you to where the true fountains of joy are found.”


Another indicator of spiritual apathy is the acceptance of mediocrity. Ordinariness and mediocrity are not the same thing. Living an ordinary life with extraordinary faithfulness is an inspiring hallmark of Christianity. God hasn’t called us to fanfare, but He has called us to excellence: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23).

Where has mediocrity crept into your life? Are you satisfied with a cursory five minutes in God’s Word so you can invest fifteen hours at work? Do you pursue purity with mediocre conviction? When it comes to serving, giving, loving, or leading, are you the person who does the bare minimum? Christian blogger Neal Samudre writes, “Mediocrity is the sum of all the times we choose to take the easy path with our faith.”


With the dawn of the digital age, disconnection is a real danger for all of us. Carey Nieuwhof writes, “We live in a world where you can have five hundred friends and still feel isolated and abandoned. Solitude is a gift from God. Isolation is not—it’s a tool of the Enemy. As a culture, the more connected we’ve become, the more isolated we’ve grown. This is our strange twenty-first-century paradox: we’re connected to more people than ever before and we’ve never felt more alone.”

The trouble with disconnection isn’t merely social or emotional, but spiritual. We were designed by God to live and thrive in community—with accountability, encouragement, and genuine relationships (Genesis 2:18, Ecclesiastes 4:10, Hebrews 10:25). It should come as no surprise that apathy feeds off isolation. The fastest way to shine a light on apathy is to let another believer into your life. Tell them what’s really going on. Confess the ways you’ve embraced mediocrity. Explore the source of your boredom. If it feels uncomfortable, you’re on the right track.


In general, the antidote to apathy is action. In 2009 Kevin DeYoung wrote a book aptly titled Just Do Something. In it he writes, “Some Christians need encouragement to think before they act. Others need encouragement to act after they think.” 

If you sense the Holy Spirit convicting you of apathy, don’t be passive any longer. Do something. Take one action, one next step toward Christ. Have an honest conversation with a spiritual mentor. Join a Grace Community. Tell your wife you’ll give counseling a try. Turn off your phone for a whole day. Sign up to serve at your campus. Say “yes” to that thing you’ve been meaning to do, or “no” to that thing you really shouldn’t do. Just do something. Take one step, today, to stir your soul to life.


  1. Favour Nahum


  2. Karissa Richner

    Wow, to actually put a name to how I’ve been feeling lately 🤯 I’ve been stuck in such a rut and have had no idea how to get out of it, this helps! I now know it’s coming from not having been able to serve in church for months (because of CoVid), and not talking to like minded people who love the Lord since we just moved to a new state a couple months ago and haven’t been able to join a good community group! That should be changing early next month so, fingers crossed I can break out of this! It feels yucky and feels like there’s something wrong with me. I don’t like it, I just wanna feel excited to spend time with God!

    • Jina Lopez

      Your courage to directly call out and face it, along with honesty, is the first step to overcoming it. God is with and will lead you to where he needs you to be. Be in prayer, worship and in the Word, let the Spirit of God minister to you during the times you cannot be a part of church due to COVID. Join an online church service if possible and small group meeting. Reach out and ask for prayers even from where you used to live. I’m
      Sure you would have some people you are still connected to from your previous town/city you lived in. 😊 May the Lord Bless you and keep you ALWAYS. He is the great I AM & your deliverer💖

  3. Angela Adler

    Great article! Thanks for posting.I totally agree with everything you said. God bless.

  4. Sophy

    Beautiful article. I’ve been looking up apathy , anomie, (another sin), lethargy, boredom, and now disconnection as well as the 2 mortal sins, and with stress and isolation it all makes Covid sense
    I need my spiritual community

    • Evon Ogal Akech

      Thank you, i have been feeling very hopeless

  5. Shevonne Miller

    I was just thinking to myself yesturday how bored I was in my Christian life. Then God lead me to this website today
    And they, [the ungodly in their spiritual apathy], having become callous and unfeeling, have given themselves over [as prey] to unbridled sensuality, eagerly craving the practice of every kind of impurity [that their desires may demand].
    Ephesians 4:19
    The last time I backslide it was due to spiritual apathy, Im just realizing this now. Im isolated, dont have many christian friends and dont go to church. All i did is bible study watch hgtv sleep work out and work from home. This is so dangerous. Ty for the article and thank God. I am the christian who needs to be encouraged to act after I think.

  6. Joanne Frias

    Love this its been very helpful. But where are the true cisterns of joy?

  7. MMA

    I feel as though the not being able to talk to like ml-minded people is it for me and possible isolation …I know I love the Lord with all of my heart , mind and soul just like the word talks about . Yet, for the past 4 week I’ve dealt with the strong sense of feeling alone , lack of interest in doing what I know to do and even what I love to do.. I’ve been fighting to get back focused . The crazy thing is I listened to a podcast on spiritual apathy back in November . I had never heard of it before . I thought it was extremely interesting and at the time , I wasn’t experiencing it . Quiet interesting to be here at this point now . Thank you for the article

  8. Robin J.

    Great article.

  9. S Austin

    I believe this is what is going on with me. I am not feeling anything. Something is wrong. Apathy I believe is the problem and by your article I can now understand how I got here.


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