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Sunday, November 12, 2017 pm

 

PROBLEMS CHRISTIANS FACE
Laziness

 

When we discuss problems we face as Christians, all we need to do is look at society.  Because many of the things we struggle with are the same things those who are not Christians struggle with.  We have emotional and mental struggles, behavioral struggles, questions about our faith & the beliefs of others (i.e. answering religious errors and misconceptions), and struggles with various relationships.

From time to time, I want to address some of the problems we face as Christians in each of these areas (in no particular order).  This year we have begun dealing with some of these things, by studying about discouragement, pride, and worry.  These are mental struggles.  Today, I want to go in a different direction and discuss a behavioral struggle – laziness. 

First, let us notice that not everyone struggles with this, nor do those who struggle with it do so on the same level as others.  In fact, in all of the problems we face and deal with, there are those who do not have problems with a particular issue.  BUT, we all struggle with something, and most of us struggle with MANY things.  These lessons are designed to help us identify some of these issues and learn how to deal with them from God’s word. 

 I.                     The problem of laziness

a.       Defined – one who is unwilling to work or use energy, despite one’s ability to do so.  This would apply either fully or partially (i.e. not giving your full potential).

b.       Words used to describe it, many in scripture – sluggard, complacency, lethargy, slumber, lukewarm, idleness, etc.

c.        A problem in our society - We have a society that in many ways rewards laziness.  It is tolerated among far too many communities, and often even in the workplace, subpar work ethics are either tolerated or at times even rewarded.  Those striving to give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay are often frustrated or discouraged, or sometimes even chided because they make the lazy look bad.

d.       A problem in the church as well.  While laziness is not endorsed per say, how much do we tolerate mediocrity and indifference? 

Neglected tasks – both undone and subpar, failure to grow, etc.   Do we often procrastinate in doing what we should? Do we quit before he finishes a task? Do we make excuses and talk about what we want to do, but it’s all talk?   Often he is full of advice for others.  But his works follow him!
There may be many causes why we are not growing spiritually as we ought to, but I ask – is laziness ONE of them?  We need to each take a look at ourselves and ask if this is something we need to consider.

 II.                   The Bible and laziness

a.       God has always intended that man work – even in the garden, prior to the fall, Adam had work to do.  Proverbs 14:23, “In all labor there is profit…”

b.       The Book of proverbs addresses laziness:

                                                   i.      Proverbs 12:24 – the slothful will be under tribute.  He ends up being a beggar – Prov. 20:4

                                                 ii.      Proverbs 19:15 – it leads to hunger and idleness.  Prov. 10:5 – he who sleeps in harvest causes shame.  Prov. 19:24 – he buries his head in a bowl and won’t even bring the spoon to his mouth

                                                iii.      Proverbs 12:27 – he is often wasteful.  He does not roast what he took in hunting. 

                                                iv.      Proverbs 21:25 – he dreams but does nothing, Prov. 13:4 – he desires, but has nothing.

                                                  v.      Proverbs 10:26 – as vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, is the lazy man to him who sends him.  Prov. 15:19 describes his way as a hedge of thorns.  I think of the one hired to do a job, but he doesn’t do it.  In time, he will be fired or face other consequences.  But he is also despised by his coworkers.  He has no integrity or honor because of his character. 
Proverbs 18:9 – his brother is a great destroyer.

                                                vi.      Proverbs 21:25-26 – while he refuses to labor, he covets what others have.   Think of entitlements.  How many today want to punish or villainize the successful business man.  “He makes so much and is not paying his fair share.”  There may be those who are wealthy who have managed to manipulate the system, but that does NOT give the lazy man the right to envy him or take from him.

                                              vii.      Proverbs 24:30-34 – his property is falling apart.  There is evidence of his sloth.

c.        The New Testament and laziness

                                                   i.      The one talent servant – Matthew 25:26, “You wicked and lazy servant.”

                                                 ii.      Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”  This is the mantra of the Christian and his life.  We have noted on numerous occasions that the life of a Christian is one of excellence and doing, rather than simply getting by. 
Words like endeavoring, abounding, diligence, striving, reaching forward and pressing toward the goal, discipline, temperance, etc. ALL point toward a life that is excellent (which includes the word “excel”). 

                                                iii.      1 Thessalonians 4:10-11, But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.

                                                iv.      2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.

                                                  v.      1 Timothy 5:8, he who fails to provide for his own household, “has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

                                                vi.      1 Timothy 5:13 – concerning younger widows remarrying, “And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.

                                              vii.      Hebrews 6:12, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

d.       Thus we can see that laziness is NOT to be a trait of a Christian. 

 

So what do we do about it?

 III.                 Dealing with laziness

a.       The challenge of this is to overcome laziness requires that we NOT be lazy.  IOW, all the lectures and suggestions in the world require you to do something contrary to laziness.

b.       Realize it is NOT a disability, it is an attitude.  Think MINDSET. 
Sees the reward in hard work – diligence brings wisdom and sweet sleep (Eccl. 5:12);
He gets more done; can feel better about himself, he knows he is doing his best and obeying God, etc.  
He sees the damage of an unproductive and lazy life – see above.

c.        Proverbs and overcoming laziness:

                                                   i.      Proverbs 6:6-11 – go to the ant.  Learn from those who are industrious.  Not many look to the lazy for inspiration.  We look to those who are successful. 

                                                 ii.      Proverbs 14 23 – in all labor there is profit.  Don’t just talk about it – GET TO WORK!
Proverbs 21:25 – there needs to be desire to work. 

                                                iii.      Proverbs 22:13 – says there is a lion in the street – stop making excuses

d.       Diligence – 2 Timothy 2:15, 2 Peter 1:5, etc. Again be reminded that everything about the life of a Christian points toward diligence and giving our best.   Be reminded of our need for self-discipline and self-control.  You’re NOT going to overcome laziness until to GET to work. 

e.       Organization – it’s about management. 
If there is a practical suggestion in this –  find ways to be organized.  Sometimes laziness is the product of being overwhelmed.  We have too many irons in the fire, OR we have let the little things go for so long, they are now monumental tasks. 
Simplify your life – get rid of the clutter (clutter often overwhelms).  Plan your time and what you do.  Ephesians 5:15-16 tells us to redeem the time. 
Be realistic in your goal setting – too easy and it becomes uninspiring, too hard and it becomes overwhelming and discouraging.

 

Laziness is a problem in our society, and it may be a problem with some of us.  But it doesn’t have to stay that way.  If you need to change, get to work.  Think about it.