I am a Millennial. Which means I am lazy, live in my parents’ basement, can’t pay my own bills, have a sense of entitlement, embrace all things immoral, and am addicted to technology. Did I miss anything? I’m sure I did. It depends on who you ask, of course.
The point is, we are a corrupt generation, right? I mean look at all the terrible things that are happening in the world. So, it’s no wonder that a great man of God said, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” You are probably familiar with this man of God – he is one of the most famous. His given name is Peter and he was quoted saying this in approximately 33 A.D. on the day of Pentecost.
Every generation seems to think the one following them is the worst. Socrates is quoted as saying, “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.” That was in approximately 450 A.D.
Throughout history, you can find countless accounts of someone hating on the younger generation. So, fear not Millennials, the generation after us is destined to be far worse. But, as I read Peter’s words in Acts 2:40, I had to wonder, are we really a more corrupt world today than in the time of Peter? Is there anything happening today that didn’t happen two-thousand years ago? I doubt it. The Bible even says in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.”
And yet, I hear it all the time. People grumbling about the state of society these days. I find myself joining the party. In fact, just the other day I was complaining about an air freshener commercial that lauded how wonderful it would be to have “a man for every room.” I mean, to think that there is a wide audience out there of women that would find that appealing made me a little nauseous. And yet, only in the last few hundred years (and even then only in primarily Western societies) has it become inappropriate or illegal to practice polygamy. Is there really any difference?
But after spending some time studying and meditating, I did find something that I believe to be a significant difference. It’s a difficult difference to pinpoint because it’s not something that is as easily definable in societies throughout history, but I believe society today has a large abundance of spiritual apathy. Perhaps, so that I’m not speaking of things I don’t understand, I should limit that to say American society seems to be spiritually apathetic.
And before anyone gets all high and mighty, this label is just as much for the average Christian as it is for anyone else. Because going to church doesn’t make you spiritual. Just do a search on spiritual apathy and you will find countless results for sermons, articles, blog posts, etc. discussing the apathetic church. But I’m not here to pass judgement or throw guilt, I’m here to ask why.
Why have we pushed our spiritual selves down so deeply that we have forgotten they exist? We have neglected them to the point where they no longer have the strength to rise up in us and make themselves known.
If a person neglected their physical body, others would be concerned. If they stopped eating, exercising, maintaining personal hygiene, society as a whole would notice. We’d label it even: anorexic, depressed. Loved ones would most likely try to intervene. They would talk to them, maybe send them to therapy or rehab. A mother might go out of her way to make her child’s favorite food every day for a week to encourage him to eat. We wouldn’t just let them wither away and die.
But that’s what we’re doing to our spiritual bodies. We’re letting them die. Or we’re giving them just enough substance to eek out an existence on life support. We can’t see our spiritual selves, but as a Christian we have to realize that our spirit is so much more important than our physical bodies. And yet, don’t we spend hours every week grocery shopping, preparing meals, and working out? Is there ever a single day that goes by that you don’t do something to help restore your physical body?
Try focusing just a fraction of that attention on your spirit. Let your mind connect with your spirit. And if you see a friend, a family member, a co-worker letting their spirit die, try gently encouraging them to nourish their own spirit. After all, it is our spirit that will live on eternally. It is our spirit that connects with our Savior. It is our spirit that deserves our attention.