Countering Spiritual Laziness
We’ve all seen it. In the worlds of sports, business, and academics, less gifted individuals often go further than those with greater abilities due to one trait: diligence. Such people are willing to take seriously the challenge of laziness and do what they must to overcome its allure. You likely either are one of those people or aspire and work to be one.
But, if we’re honest with ourselves, this same diligence is often lacking in our spiritual lives.
If you and I are to counter spiritual laziness, we’re in need of an assessment of sorts: Do we have any indication of how we’re doing? When we reflect on the past year, have we made any progress? Have we done any Bible memorization recently? Have we used “idle moments” to read or meditate on the word or to pray to our Lord? Or has laziness caused us to do what is easy rather than what is best and prevented us from storing the word of God within our hearts?
When asked to take part in Christian service, how do we respond? Maybe it’s not an outright refusal, but even a hint of reluctance is a dangerous sign. What about in hearing the word of God when it’s preached, when it comes home with power and impact and we know that it demands application and change? Do we take action as doers of the word and not as hearers only (James 1:22)?
Your answers to such questions can help you press on and avoid the slow drip-drip of laziness (a lie-in instead of a morning devotional here, a boxset instead of a prayer meeting or a sports match rather than a conversation about Jesus there), which leads to spiritual poverty. Do not become a master of unfinished spiritual business and unfulfilled good intentions. Often, all the started plans and kind notes, and the many words of repentance and petitions for help, die in our minds while we turn on our beds “as a door turns on its hinges” (Proverbs 26:14). Flee from this behavior and instead run to Christ, asking Him to stir your heart and make you into a man or woman of action.
Do you want to be useful to God? Do you long to make a difference: to reach people on the seas of life in all their trouble and emptiness and to be part of the means by which God builds His church? Do not neglect your souls by giving room to laziness. Without diligence in your relationship with God, you will grow no true fruit in your life. “Tomorrow” is the devil’s favorite word. “Now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2, emphasis added). Be useful to God now.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
27Prepare your work outside;
get everything ready for yourself in the field,
and after that build your house.
28Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause,
and do not deceive with your lips.
29Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me;
I will pay the man back for what he has done.”
30I passed by the field of a sluggard,
by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
31and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
32Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction.
33A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
34and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
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