What is laziness and what causes it? Is it our fault when we give in to laziness or is it something else? Could it be a self-esteem issue? How and when does laziness show up in your life and mine? In the physical area? With mental pursuits? Or maybe with spiritual things? And what is the cost of laziness?
2 Kings 3 & 4
The Cost of Laziness
“A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things” (NLT).
I googled the word laziness and, not surprisingly, found articles declaring that laziness is a myth and that it’s just critical people who put that label on others.
I, certainly, want to acknowledge that there can be times when excessive fatigue, sadness, and other emotions can rob us of motivation and energy. The result can look a lot like laziness. So we need to be careful when judging other people. But even then, we must call on the strength of God to help us fulfill our responsibilities.
But since God addresses the subject in His Word, we need to be concerned enough to examine ourselves for signs of laziness. So let’s take a closer look.
Wikipedia had this to say:
Laziness is a habit rather than a mental health issue. It may reflect a lack of self-esteem, a lack of positive recognition by others, a lack of discipline stemming from low self-confidence, or a lack of interest in the activity or belief in its efficacy. Laziness may manifest as procrastination or vacillation. Studies of motivation suggest that laziness may be caused by a decreased level of motivation, which in turn can be caused by over-stimulation or excessive impulses or distractions.
I certainly agree that laziness can become a habit. God made us as habitual beings. If we didn’t have the ability to form habits, we would waste a lot of time trying to remember how and when to do a lot of mundane things.
It’s a good thing that we habitually brush our teeth, take a shower, lock the front door without thinking much about it, and know how to get to work in the morning while mentally going over our to-do list. Habits can save us a lot of time and energy.
The problem is … we form bad habits along with good ones. It’s a bad habit to constantly criticize others, to yell when things don’t go our way, to give others the silent treatment, or to buy everything that catches our eye. It’s also a bad habit to be lazy and avoid every bit of extra work we can.
Scripture tells us that we are to put off the habits that come from our sinful nature and put on new habits that will help us to become more like Christ (Eph. 4.22-24).
But what about the idea that laziness can be a self-esteem issue?
Self-esteem is a big subject, one that I’m not going to spend much time on today, but let me just say that I don’t believe God wants us to focus on all our inadequacies (low self-esteem) or to have a puffed up view of ourselves (high self-esteem). Rather we are to see ourselves as God sees us, with strengths and weakness, creatures made in His image, creatures in constant need of contemplating Christ and praying for His help to become more like His Son, creatures that while fallen, are redeemable and capable of growing and changing.
What about the idea that laziness stems from a lack of positive recognition from others?
It goes without saying that God has called us to be encouragers. We should build one another up in the faith, but it’s a dangerous habit to be dependent on the encouragement of others. The Bible calls that the “fear of man.”
The “fear of man” is being more dependent on what people think than what God thinks. It’s trying to get from others what only God can provide.
Proverbs 29.25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.”
Instead, as believers in Christ, we are to pray and cultivate the habit of pleasing God with our thought, words, actions, and ultimately, our habits.
It’s been credited to a number of people, but may have first come from a man named Frank Outlaw:
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
What do we want our character and, ultimately, our destiny to be? It starts with our thoughts, words, and actions, including the choice to work hard at whatever the Lord gives us to do (Col. 3.23; 1 Thess. 4.11; Tit. 2.5).
The Cost of Laziness
Proverbs 12.27 says a lazy man does not even roast his own prey. He has hunted for it, but now he won’t finish the job, by cleaning and cooking it. In modern terms, we may have been forced to work, but we’re wasteful with our earnings, spending them on fast food, entertainment, and pleasure, instead of using our resources wisely.
Proverbs 19.15 says laziness casts into a deep sleep. It makes a person increasingly more lethargic and steals the joy of accomplishment. The result is hunger and lack.
Jesus called the lazy man in Matthew 25 wicked (Matt 25.26). Laziness is displeasing to the Lord. It hinders our prayer life and our relationship with Him, and ultimately, our testimony.
So what is the cost of laziness? It’s the loss of our financial well being and the confidence that our needs will be met. It’s the loss of the joy of a job well done. And ultimately, it’s the loss of our peace with God and the spiritual well-being that goes with it.
Today’s Other Readings:
2 Kings 3 & 4:
Sacrificing our Children
Chapter 3.27, speaking about the king of Moab, says:
“Then he took his eldest son who would have reigned in his place, and offered him as a burnt offering upon the wall …”
What an unbelievable response to apparent defeat in battle!
The devil may be less obvious today, but no less demanding and the results are the same. Sadly, many children are being sacrificed today to their parents’ gods of drugs and alcohol, sexual immorality and personal gain. These gods demand their loyalty, and then they don’t even deliver what they promise.
Pray that, “God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” And keep offering the “salt” and the “light.”
Declare His Wondrous Works
17 O God, You have taught me from my youth;
And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.
18 Now also when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come.
Whether we are young or old we are to be about our Father’s business—declaring His wondrous works and His strength and power to those around us and to the next generation!
The Lord’s Prayer for Us
Here in this chapter Jesus prayed for his disciples and for those of us who would come to saving faith through the teachings of Scripture, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word …”
Go back and study John 17. Meditate on His prayer for us—for you. Among other things He prayed that we would have the joy of the Lord, that we would be sanctified and set apart for Himself, that we would be one in Christ, and that we would behold His glory!
What about You? Questions to Ponder or Journal:
How and when does laziness show up in your life? In the physical area? Is it with mental pursuits? Or maybe with spiritual things? How does God want you to change? Pray and ask for His help to do all He’s called you to do.
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