I recently posted on how to prevent pastor burnout. Those who dedicate their time to apologetics also need to be watchful of this danger. There are enough stories of apologists who not only gave up on apologetics but also gave up on the faith to know this is a problem. Here are some tips to consider.
1. Keep your motivation clear. Apologetics should not be done for the love of the argument. Jesus summarized the Law as love for God and love for neighbour. That should be our motivation for apologetics. If love is not the centre, then you are on a dangerous trajectory.
2. Know your limits. As the great philosopher once said: “Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” There are skeptics that would love to suck up all your emotional, spiritual and physical energy. Put forth your argument, clarify any confusion and then let it be. There is no need to go back and forth hundreds of times.
3. Take a break. You do not have to do apologetics all the time. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Spend time with your family. Go see a movie without your heretic-hunting goggles on. When apologetics takes over your life, it will soon lose the joy that it once gave.
4. Remember that it is not all about you. God does call us to be faithful with all that he has given us. We do our homework. We prepare our presentation. We answer questions. But in the end, it is up to God to change hearts. This is not an excuse to be lazy, but it is a relief not to have to shoulder the weight of the world.
5. Read the Bible devotionally. I think this is one of the most important things for apologists. It is easy to read the Bible looking for apologetic evidence or responses. But the Bible is our spiritual food. Read the Bible slowly and deeply. Let God speak through the Word not to the apologist but to the child of God.
Apologetics is fun and rewarding. But apologetics can also wear you out. If apologetics is something that is important to you, I suggest that you take these tips very seriously.