“18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.” (Ecclesiastes 10:18)
Everybody wants a house but few hands take time to build it. Modern society is plagued with the dreams of success and fortitude. The mantra to “work until you die” is plastered in magazines and television shows and we hear it in song lyrics. Still a thick shroud engulfs our country casting many people into a deep sleep of slothfulness. God has placed a prosperous future before many and yet, people struggle to take the steps to get there, (including me).
As I am writing this blog post to you, it is also a letter to myself. Scripture, as you know, is a double edged sword cutting away at the sins and problems of others. I cannot help but recognize where I have fallen short in my spiritual life. How I pray God uses me as a vessel to instruct those stuck in spiritual quicksand, on how to realign themselves and move forward.
Struggling with laziness or the Bible also calls it slothfulness is an everyday battle. Laziness or slothfulness is a sin. It is the unwillingness to do what needs to be done, so to gratify our desire to please the flesh. The independent, selfish mindset screams out, “I do not feel like it. So I am not going to do it.” In spite of the Holy Spirit urging us, and jumping in the air, waving red and white flares to work. Since time is short.
The Holy Spirit despises laziness for good reasons. What has become a recurring theme in people’s lives is actually a monstrosity in the spiritual realm. If only the blinders could be lifted from our eyes, so we can see truly what the self destructive monster slothfulness is and how it has bamboozled culture into thinking being lazy is acceptable, okay, and a trivial matter.
Are you a dream builder or a fantasy chaser?
The Bible reiterates regularly mankind is put on this Earth to work. The Book of Proverbs are a list of sayings and parables, written by King Solomon, the wisest man on Earth. He wrote these sayings to his son, so he may live a content life based upon these discerned writings. Let us, then as believers apply these wise words to our lives, in
Proverbs 12:11 it says, “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.”
In earlier times marketplaces were not common. Agricultural practices were expected and taught in the home. People worked and tilled their land, so they may have food for their families. Without technological farming equipment, the process of growing food was arduous and time consuming. Food did not magically pop up from the ground, seeds had to be sown and cattle fed. This principle of putting in work and waiting for God’s hand to bless our work still applies today. God cannot bless what has not been done.
Rising in the morning, to drive to work, filling out forms, instructing children are all behaviors the Lord God expects of us. Putting in the work or metaphorical actually working on your land is far more important than fixating our eyes on what someone else is doing. “Their land” can be interpreted as your portion or a person’s responsibilities to carry out in this world. To work whether if it is preaching, teaching, cleaning or being the best janitor all brings glory to God. The Lord God loves it. When He sees His children are not idle with their hands. We’re putting into practice what has been gifted.
On the contrary, sometimes, we dream and fantasize more than we actually do work. I am guilty of this. I have really bad tunnel vision it is easy for me to get lost in my thoughts, and make plans in my head. And guess where those daydreams and plans stay, right there, in my head. This verse clearly shows the distinction between reality and fantasies. Living in an ever expanding technological age, the line is growing fainter and fainter. Social media creates a false space where perception is reality. Ergo, we believe that if we can make our friends and family think we’re making “money moves” or doing great things with our lives, then we’re not chasing fantasies, we’re obviously moving forward. This is why Scripture professes, “those who chase fantasies have no sense.”
Pure foolishness. Idiotic. A person not having a sound mind and unable to make necessary decisions. Chasing fantasies is like chasing a get rich scheme, returning to the same con man giving him your money to invest, expecting different results. Pure insanity.
A con man is a thief, a schemer, and if people are not careful slothfulness steals the day’s opportunities. Time cannot be replaced. We buy the lie that what we put off today can be done tomorrow or within an hour, or after our favorite show.
Don’t let your blessings become a painful lesson
Yet failing to acknowledge the work being put in directly affects the blessings we could receive. One of my favorite verses is Galatians 6:7 it says, “7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
We can deceive our family, our friends, our children, and even ourselves. But we cannot deceive or mock God. The Lord God is the reader of all hearts and minds. Our default is to blame Him if we do not get the promotion or the house, but what about examining our methods? Did we really set aside time to talk to the house owners? My advice is to check your crop.
A tiny crop reflects the lack of good seeds planted in our own lives. We ask God to bless our finances but are we applying for jobs, and paying our tithes. We ask God to bless our academics, but are we taking the time out to study for our classes. We ask God to bless our relationships and marriages, but are we setting time aside to communicate our needs and listen to the other person’s issues. Each wise or unwise action, we commit has a consequence, and it is up to us examine hearts, and be honest about the work and effort we’re putting forth. The truth is in the crop. Everything you do has consequences, and we will reap the consequences of what we sow, good or bad.
Be wary as well, the blessings God has for His children may pass unto someone else. Although I do not believe every blessing given to us from heaven God intends to take away, if we are not good stewards of them. But God, being the master of wisdom and direction can teach us the value of hard work, if we fail to take care of our responsibilities.
God’s not going to bless a person with a new job if the person is a bad employee at the current job. God desires good stewards and lazy people are terrible stewards of blessings. If you cannot take care of what you have or be content in your circumstances, then how can you take of more. Always remember a blessing for you is a blessing for others. You are put in your place to help others and show the glory of Christ. God cannot use a sluggard to do His Will. A sluggard is a person who is habitually lazy or inactive. There is no sense of urgency in a sluggard; urgency means alertness, an eagerness to do a job and do it well. Lazy people see tasks as mountains and obstacles there is no rhyme or reason to them. Only a problem blocking their wants, and they are unwilling to get through it. Lazy people believe in self discipline, often seeing its fabulous results in people’s lives around them. This motivates slothful people but the pain of delaying self gratification is too great for them. This mindset is dangerously problematic.
All Christians should concede and reinforce the truth to themselves where believers are here to please God. God’s Will comes before our pleasures. The Lord God always puts spiritual growth before happiness, and if circumstances are falling apart, then trusting in God’s heart is the answer, not giving up.
Self Discipline Molds Character
Perseverance is the game. However, a common trait among lazy people is giving up. There is no resilience or fight in a slothful person. They’re quick to give up to maintain their desired level of comfort. A satisfied spirit, cozy and at ease, instead of a spirit seeking every opportunity to further its good deeds. Convenience over change is the sluggard’s motto. Paul warns Christians not to seek earthly comforts. They’re distractions. He urges believers to run the race, to live fiercely for Christ. He says,
“24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
When Christians are lazy, Christians disqualify themselves out of the competition. The Christian life is both a race and a marathon. Our paths intertwine with other believers, people teaching principles of Christianity and lessons needed along the journey. There is also our personal walk with Jesus. The walk only we can walk, the walk designed just for us. Disciplined runners win races. If a runner knows they have a competition to win; they take the time to eat fruits and vegetables. Food which supplies the runner with energy. Next the runner creates a strict regime to train their body, whether if it is adding in regular cardio times or muscle reps. The point is the runner’s life alters to meet the goal of winning the prize. How is your life changing to meet your prize? Jesus has the award; the unperishable crown of life for each Christian.
There is a rhyme and reason of why we train and strike our bodies. The body is to be submissive to the mind not our minds a slave to the body. How can I, a teacher preach to you about slothfulness and self discipline? If I refuse to grade papers, clean my room, or spend time with God. Then I am not leading by example; I call my maturity in Christ into question. Striking the body does not mean self mortification or the act of harming oneself. What Paul means is firmness, saying “no” as our flesh screams out “yes,” for an extra piece of cake, “yes,” to more TV, or “yes,” to sex outside of marriage.
Romans 6:16 says, “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?”
There is an old saying in education, which rings true today, give kids an inch and they will run a mile. This means allow the smallest infraction or behavior and students will see how far they can get their way before its too late. The flesh works along the same principle. If people surrender their will to the flesh in the smallest of things. Finally, when bigger issues arrive the pressure is greater and the backbone to resist is weak. Do not give sin the opportunity or slothfulness a foot in the door. Say “no,” resist early on, before the temptation becomes too great.
Beating our flesh detours slothfulness from taking control. The flesh is impulsive and lustful. And if we do not curb our fleshly appetites we’re doomed to follow and satisfy it. Self discipline does not feel good. Self discipline’s purpose teaches believers how to concede to pain, embracing delayed satisfaction to profit from future permanent spiritual growth. Maturity in Jesus Christ is the reward. While earthly things and activities are perishable, spiritual growth is perpetual.
Slothfulness is a Mindset
The reward, often is character shaping. Self discipline shapes and molds the spirit. It delays self gratification but in a world consistently professing, “You deserve this,” and “You deserve to be happy,” what is taught instead is entitlement. Life says, blessings are to always be given and not earned, so slumming it and becoming complacent is acceptable.
Slothfulness or laziness is a poisonous mindset. Laziness substitutes “God” and puts, “I”. Slothfulness disregards Christ’s death on the Cross, and His resurrection. The truth is a Christian does not own themselves after accepting the gift of salvation. The rights of ownership belong to Jesus Christ and we become His servants on the Earth. For the life Jesus lived on Earth compels believers to live the surrendered life, today. Laziness, however inverts this beautiful and life changing dynamic. God’s ordinances become secondary to our miserable demands. We take charge of what we want in our lives, based upon how we feel. A sense of entitlement is bred with our spirits, instead of obeying Christ’s commands, we question them.
Inquiring if, the Holy Spirit’s orders fits into our schedule and if we feel it. Then we’ll do. Emotions regulate our obedience, not obedience regulates our emotions.
In all such ways, the most condemning element about laziness is its ability to damage our relationship with God and others. Jesus Christ is the source of our strength, peace, and wisdom. Laziness deprives Christians experiencing the abundant life. Countless conversations with God are lost to time and broken opportunities, because TV shows, social media and meaningless activities have stolen our attention. Investment in our relationship with God automatically creates growth whether if it is increased intimacy with prayer, acts of service, or repenting of sin.
Plus, time with God is never wasted. How we live for God directly affects our communication and treatment towards our spouses and children. If we’re not our best for God, then the people we love the most are missing the best from us.
R.C Sproul writes, “Here then, is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.”
We’re lazy, ladies and gentlemen. We’re neck deep in quick sand and too defensive to admit we’re lazy. At the end of the day, slothfulness is destructive. It is sin. Laziness is unreasonable. It cannot be bribed or rationalized. This sin seeks domination. Absolute rule and authority over our thought life and its sedative is making us feel good.
So tell me, how do you feel?
Copyright © 2018 by A Meeting at the Well