“Is Your Christianity Just a Veneer?” June 15

 

Just a Christian Veneer? - How deep is your Christianity? Is it just a Christian veneer or is it who you are? How do you respond to God's dealings with you? Do you pray and read your Bible only when the heat is on and stop once the pressure is off? Have you added a little "Christianity" to your life without truly making Jesus Lord?How deep is your Christianity? Is it just a Christian veneer or is it who you are? How do you respond to God’s dealings with you? Do you pray and read your Bible only when the heat is on and stop once the pressure is off? Have you added a little “Christianity” to your life without truly making Jesus Lord?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 17 & 18
Ps. 74.1-8
Prov. 18.22-24
Acts 1.1-26

 

Is Your Christianity Just a Veneer?

 

End of Divine Patience

2 Kings 17 & 18:

 

In chapter 17 we see what John MacArthur calls “divine patience” come to an end concerning the Northern Kingdom. Their continued idolatry and disobedience to God’s commands brought the judgment of captivity.

God has not changed (Heb. 13.8). While He is patient and merciful with us, His patience will not on go forever. As a nation and as individuals, if we continue in disobedience to the clear commands of Scripture, if we practice idolatry or if we worship God half-heartedly, we will eventually suffer the consequences of our choices, as well.

 

What is Idolatry?

 

Someone asked me, what is “idolatry”? We usually think of bowing down to some statue or image, but that is not the only form of idolatry. Ezekiel 14.1-8 talks about idolatry of the heart. Anytime we put other things, other people, or other relationships above loving, serving, and pleasing God, we have placed that person or that thing on the throne of our hearts in place of God.

 

We Practice Idolatry When … 

Continue reading

“How Do You Respond to Criticism?” June 14

 

How Do You Respond to Criticism? - Criticism, anger, sarcasm: Words have an effect on our lives and the lives of those around us. How should we use our words and how should we respond when someone criticizes us?

Criticism, anger, sarcasm: Words have an effect on our lives and the lives of those around us. How we speak says more about what’s going on in our hearts than the other person’s!
And what about when someone criticizes us? Does how we respond reveal things about us, as well? Can we respond in ways that allow us to benefit from even the most unfair criticism?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 15 & 16
Psalm 73.21-28
Proverbs 18.20-21
John 21.1-25

 

How Do You Respond to Criticism?

 

Responding Well to Criticism

2 Kings 15 & 16:

 

Chapter 15 summarizes the reigns of Azariah, also called Uzziah, and his son Jothan. The Scripture says they did what was right in the sight of the Lord in many ways, although both tolerated the idolatrous practices of the people.

But then … verse 5:

“Then the LORD struck the king, so that he was a leper until the day of his death …”

What happened?

The parallel passage in 2 Chronicles gives us some insight. After serving the Lord well and seeing God prosper his efforts, Uzziah (Azariah) got puffed up with pride and tried to usurp the priestly role by going into the temple to burn incense on the altar of incense, something only the priest was to do. But even then, God didn’t strike him with leprosy until he refused to listen to the High Priest when rebuked (2 Chron. 26.16-23).

This is a great reminder to us to heed God’s Word and listen to wise counsel. And when we are rebuked, corrected, or criticized, we need to consider it carefully and prayerfully. Even when it seems unfair, we should ask the Lord if there is even a nugget of truth in what was said.

 

This is a great reminder to us to heed God’s Word and listen to wise counsel. And when we are rebuked, corrected, or criticized, we need to consider it carefully and prayerfully. Even when it seems unfair, we should ask the Lord if there is even a nugget of truth in what was said.

 

A great little booklet about how to receive criticism is called Words That Cut. It’s available through Peacemaker Ministries. If you’re not familiar with their ministry and materials, you might want to check out their website.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

God Our Strength and Portion Forever

Psalm 73.21-28:

 

After all his complaining the psalmist turns his attention to God. Verses 21-26:

21 Thus my heart was grieved,
And I was vexed in my mind.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
24 You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
26 My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

The psalmist was convicted over his own sinful attitude (vvs. 21-24), but also aware of God’s grace, “Nevertheless I am continually with You …”  Continue reading

“Family Feuds, Sissies & Spiritual Ditches” June 13

 

Family Feuds, Sissies & Spiritual Ditches - Fighting and disagreements within a family can be some of the most difficult to settle, but God places a high priority on unity and peace within our biological families and within the family of God. Sadly, very few have the strength of character to do what is required in the midst of family feuds, spiritual or biological.Fighting and disagreements within a family can be some of the most difficult to settle, but God places a high priority on unity and peace within our biological families and within the family of God. Sadly, very few have the strength of character to do what is required in the midst of family feuds, spiritual or biological.


Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 14
Psalm 73.10-20
Proverbs 18.18-19
John 20.1-31

 

Family Feuds, Sissies & Spiritual Ditches

 

Family Feuds

Proverbs 18.18-19:

 

Verse 19, “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle.”

If you have ever seen or been a part of a family feud, you know they can last for years, partly because of the intensity of the emotional ties. So we must seek to avoid unnecessary conflict within our families.

Family feuds are often over money, favoritism, or failure to take responsibilities seriously.

Favoritism can be real or imagined, but the sovereignty of God must always be kept in mind. If God has allowed some mistreatment or lack of favor, what character quality (Gal. 5.22-23) might He be developing in your life and how does God want you to respond?

When it comes to responsibility, whether it’s children taking responsibility for themselves or siblings taking responsibility to care for aging parents, we are accountable for ourselves regardless of what someone else does or doesn’t do. Remember God rewards those who do right with the right heart attitude.

And when it comes to money, Jesus makes it clear how Christians should respond:

 

Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! (1 Cor. 6).

When we feel we are being cheated (not repaid for a debt or not given what we are due), God says to forgive and let it go. How we respond when it comes to money reveals a lot about our attitude toward God. Matthew 6:

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money].

Verses 14-15 warn us to forgive those who wrong us:

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matt. 6).

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16.26).

Of course, avoiding conflict must be balanced with other biblical truths. We cannot use obeying God in one area to excuse our sin in another. We can’t use peace with our parents, for instance, as an excuse for a lack of submission to our husbands. We can’t allow what our family will think or whether they will be offended, to excuse drunkenness, gossip or any other sin. Romans 12.2 tells us:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” And 12.18 says, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”

“If it is possible …” At times, even though we refrain from arguing, being self-righteous or unnecessarily contentious, there are those who do not want to be at peace with us, even in our own families. We are to be salt and light. Salt sometimes stings and light always exposes darkness. And sometimes that brings anger and rejection from others.

hands reconciliationBut while family feuds can be challenging and emotions can run high, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all we can to reconcile those relationships. Jesus said in Matthew 5.23-24:

23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

God puts a high priority on unity and reconciliation and we should do all we can to be at peace within our biological families and within the family of God.

Is doesn’t matter who is more in the right. “The one who knows goes!”

James 4.17, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

 

God puts a high priority on unity and reconciliation and we should do all we can to be at peace within our biological families and within the family of God.

 

Family Feuds & Sissies - Fighting and disagreements within a family can be some of the most difficult to settle, but God places a high priority on unity and peace within our biological families and within the family of God. Sadly, very few have the strength of character to do what is required in the midst of family feuds, spiritual or biological.“But you don’t know what they did to me!” No, maybe not, but Jesus does. Matthew 5:  Continue reading

“Why Bother Doing What is Right!?!” June 12

 

Why Bother Doing What Is Right? - Do you ever feel that way when you look around and see evil people doing fine ... even prospering? Those were the Psalmist's thoughts. But things are not always as they seem … Also, read about a grandmother so wicked she had her own grandchildren killed and the foolishness of judging when you only hear one side of the story.Why bother doing what is right? Do you ever feel that way when you look around and see evil people doing fine … even prospering? Those were the Psalmist’s thoughts. But things are not always as they seem …

Also, read about a grandmother so wicked she had her own grandchildren killed and the foolishness of judging when you only hear one side of the story.

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 11-13
Psalm 73.1-9
Proverbs 18.16-17
John 19.23-42

 

Why Bother Doing What Is Right!?!

 

Envious of the Wicked?

Psalm 73.1-9:

 

Verses 1-3, “Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”

Even though the Psalmist knew the truth, that God is good to His children, he got his eyes off God and His promises. Instead, he got into self-pity, thinking how much easier life is for those who are not following God.

How like us! Who among us has not asked, “Why bother doing what is right? Look at so and so, she isn’t even trying to live right and she has a great husband, a nice home …!” But, as we’ll see in tomorrow’s reading, things aren’t always the way they appear on the surface.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

God is Faithful

2 Kings 11-13:

 

Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, had been her son’s counselor (2 Chron. 22.3-4), leading him in the worship of Baal. After his death she was anxious to grab power and see to it that Baal worship continued in Judah. So much so, that she was willing to kill her own grandchildren!

Athaliah didn’t just want Baal worship allowed, she wanted it sanctioned by the one in control … her.

As I listen to the news and hear the homosexual, gay-marriage, pro-abortion and other anti-God proponents, it is easy to see that, like Athaliah, they are not happy to be allowed the freedom to make their personal choices. They want the sanction of government and society, in general. Continue reading

Handling Depression Biblically – Part 2 + LINKUP

 

Handling Depression Biblically - Part 2 - Depression, if you’ve ever suffered with it, you know it can be a dark, discouraging place to be. At its worst, it’s been called the “dark night of the soul.” But there is hope for those experiencing discouragement, depression, and hopelessness.

Did people in biblical times experience feelings of depression? Is so, what can we learn from their lives and God’s interaction with them?

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

We’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” Previously we covered how to handle anger in God honoring ways. You can click the link above to read those posts.

Last week we began discussing depression, in particular, the different definitions of depression: the medical definition, the cultural and the biblical.

 

Handling Depression Biblically – Part 2

 

Last week I said that no one is immune to feelings of depression. For some it’s a mild sense of sadness, for others it can feel debilitating. Today we’re going to look at the biblical definition again and how it compares to discouragement. We’ll, also, look at Elijah’s and Jeremiah’s lives and how they responded to these feelings.

 

Depression or Discouragement?

 

The feelings involved in both depression and discouragement are much the same. They can be extremely painful and difficult and can tempt us to give in to them. The depressed person responds by shutting down. He or she stops functioning in some or all areas of life.

She may stop going to work, quit cleaning the house, avoid people, or refuse to get out of bed altogether. But when a person is discouraged, as I’m defining it here, he or she keeps going, keeps handling life, in spite of their feelings to the contrary.

So, I would define depression as, “a debilitating mood, feeling or attitude of hopelessness which becomes a person’s reason for not handling the most important issues of life.”

The difference between discouragement and depression is immobility. With depression there is an almost total reliance on feelings and those feelings become the basis for their action or inaction.

Numerous people in the Bible experienced feelings of discouragement and/or depression, including: Elijah, David, Jonah, Jeremiah, and Cain.

Today we’ll look at a two of the prophets, Elijah and Jeremiah, and next week we’ll talk about David, Jonah, and Cain.  Continue reading

“Hope When the Pressure Seems Too Much” June 11

 

Hope When the Pressure Seems Too Much - When we lose hope even small problems can seem insurmountable. How do we find hope and learn to trust God in difficult circumstances?

Also, how should we respond when someone speaks to us in unbiblical ways or threatens us foolishly? What can we learn from Jesus’ responses to Pilate?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 9 & 10
Psalm 72.17-20
Proverbs 18.14-15
John 19.1-22

 

Hope When the Pressure Seems Too Much

 

Who Can Bear a Broken Spirit?

Proverbs 18.14-15:

 

Verse 14, “The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit?”

As human beings, we are able to withstand great physical and circumstantial difficulties. And as believers, who better understand how to respond to those difficulties, all the more so.

But when we lose hope (Prov. 13.12) or are undergoing spiritual pressure, even lesser problems can seem too much to bear.

depressionSpiritual pressure can be the enemy’s attempt to get us to quit when we are walking in obedience or stepping out in faith. That’s one reason why Scripture tells us to encourage one another (1 Thess. 5.11) and why we are not to forsake coming together with other believers, including church attendance and fellowship. Hebrews 10.23-25:

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Sometimes that pressure comes from other people, either believers or unbelievers. When it does, it’s important that we respond in Christlike ways:

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

We can meditate on and follow Jesus’ example:

22 “Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously (1 Pet. 2.22-23).

Spiritual pressure can also come from God Himself as He deals with us regarding sin.  Continue reading

“I Would Never ___________!” June 10

 

"I Would Never _______!" - God’s Word has much to say about pride, humility, and wise living. When we heed its counsel, it can help us avoid many of the pitfalls that lead to embarrassment, humiliation, or disaster. Even within Jesus' inner circle, prideful, self-confident Peter had told Jesus he would never deny Him. Yet, three denials later, as he heard that rooster crow, he must have experienced the worst grief and humiliation of his life!God’s Word has much to say about pride, humility, and wise living. When we heed its counsel, it can help us avoid many of the pitfalls that lead to embarrassment, humiliation, or disaster.

Even within Jesus’ inner circle, prideful, self-confident Peter had told Jesus he would never deny Him. Yet, three denials later, as he heard that rooster crow, he must have experienced the worst grief and humiliation of his life!

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 7 & 8
Psalm 72.8-16
Proverbs 18.12-13
John 18.19-40

 

I Would Never ___________!

 

Three Denials Later

John 18.19-40:

 

rooster

I couldn’t help thinking about today’s passage from proverbs when I read John 18 about Peter’s denial. Prideful, self-confident Peter had told Jesus he would never deny Him (Jn. 13.37).

Jesus had answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times” (Jn. 13.38).

Now here in chapter 18 Jesus has been arrested:

15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. 16 But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. 17 Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?”

He said, “I am not.”

Verse 25:

25 Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?”

He denied it and said, “I am not!”

26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” 27 Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.

Can you imagine, three denials later, when he heard that rooster crow and the words of Jesus came flooding back? The heartbreak Peter must have felt! The shame!

In our pride, we too, often think we could never sin in “such and such” a way, so we let down the guardrails, pridefully thinking we can handle “it.”

So we start having lunch with a co-worker of the opposite sex, because … we’re just friends.

We contact an old flame on FaceBook just out of curiosity.

We go out with an unbeliever. After all, we’re not getting married! It’s just a date!  Continue reading

“Living Based on the Hope that is within Us” June 9

 

Living Based on the Hope that is within Us - What if God called you or I to suffer for our faith or to live under some kind of oppression? Would we trust Him and choose to live righteously and show His love to those around us? On the other hand, even under the best of circumstances, sinful thoughts like discontent, envy, criticism and bitterness can cause us to justify all kinds of sinful behaviors. Those sins we think we harbor in our hearts and minds can send us into a downward slide into things we never could have imagined, as we'll see in 2 Kings 6.

 

What if God called you or I to suffer for our faith or to live under some kind of oppression? Would we trust Him and choose to live righteously and show His love to those around us?

On the other hand, even under the best of circumstances, sinful thoughts like discontent, envy, criticism and bitterness can cause us to justify all kinds of sinful behaviors. Those sins we think we harbor in our hearts and minds can send us into a downward slide into things we never could have imagined, as we’ll see in 2 Kings 6.

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 5 & 6
Psalm 72.1-7
Proverbs 18.10-11
John 18.1-18

 

Living Based on the Hope that is within Us

 

2 Kings 5 & 6:

Serving God in Whatever Circumstances

 

Chapter 5.2-3 really amazes me and has a great message for us.

“And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, ‘If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.'”

Here’s a young girl who had been ripped away from her family and life as she knew it, forced to work as a slave, and yet, look at her heart attitude—one of loyalty and concern for the people under whose authority God had placed her.

Why would God allow that to happen to her in the first place?

For the same reason He allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery and carried off to a foreign land—to fulfill His plans and purposes AND to bless those He uses. We need to remember that our good and His glory are always connected.

13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Pet. 3.13-17).

Because of this little servant girl, who lived her life out of “the hope that [was] in [her],” Naaman would come to know the One True God.

 

The Joys and Sorrows of Discipling Others

 

discipleship Bible studyAnother passage that spoke to me was 2 Kings 5.25-26. After Naaman had gone to the Prophet and been healed, he offered Elisha gifts of silver and clothing, but Elisha had refused them. After he left, Elisha’s servant Gehazi followed him, told him that the Prophet had changed his mind, and had greedily taken the gifts.

“Now he went in and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, ‘Where did you go, Gehazi?’ And he said, ‘Your servant did not go anywhere.’ Then he said to him, ‘Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you?’ …”

“Did not my heart go with you …” It’s such a blessing to see those you have led to the Lord or discipled grow and walk in the truth, but painful to see them walk away from the truth.

How Elisha’s heart must have been broken to see Gehazi, who had seen so many of God’s miracles, turn his back on God for monetary gain!

How easily we can get on a downward slide into sin. We first need to realize that we can’t play around with sinful thoughts. Thoughts of discontent, envy and criticism can easily cause us to justify taking what we think we deserve or some other sinful behavior or response.

If not repented of and forsaken one sin leads to another and to another (Rom. 6.19) as we see in 2 Kings 6.

 

Without Shame

 

Chapter 6 recounts a very disturbing story of how the Northern Kingdom’s descent into sin and idolatry had brought them to the depths of human depravity. Samaria was under siege and food had become so scarce that the people were starving. Verses 26-29:

“Then, as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, ‘Help, my lord, O king!’ And he said, ‘If the LORD does not help you, where can I find help for you? From the threshing floor or from the winepress?’ Then the king said to her, ‘What is troubling you?’ And she answered, ‘This woman said to me, “Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.” So we boiled my son, and ate him. And I said to her on the next day, “Give your son, that we may eat him”; but she has hidden her son.'”

Can you imagine this, even under starvation conditions? The first thing that struck me was the woman’s lack of shame! She didn’t mind telling the king what they had done!

But as I thought about this passage and how shocking it is, is it that different from women today who allow their boyfriends to abuse or even kill their babies or children. And others who do so themselves.

Neither should we lose sight of the fact that there is a message in this for us, too. It’s so tempting to get self-righteous and think:  Continue reading

“The Cost of Laziness, Self-Esteem & Habits” June 8

 

Cost of Laziness, Self-Esteem & Habits -

 

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?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 3 & 4
Psalm 71.17-24
Proverbs 18.9
John 17.1-26

 

The Cost of Laziness

 

Proverbs 18.9:

 

“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.” Continue reading