Monday, October 26, 2015

Walk of Repentance: Laziness

I'm doing a series of Bible studies on specific sin or issues and focusing on turning away from those things as the Lord and the Scripture commands. These posts will mostly be short, simple, and full of Scripture. The idea is to meditate on the verses and apply them through turning from sin and turning to God.

Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14

Lazy people should be and must be warned about their lives, their lifestyles, and their character. We are commanded to address laziness in the church. We are commanded to address laziness in our lives.

6 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. 7 For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. 8 We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. 10 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”

11 Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. 12 We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. 13 As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.

14 Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. 15 Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister.

16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

17 HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL. I DO THIS IN ALL MY LETTERS TO PROVE THEY ARE FROM ME.

18 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-18

Paul commands believers to stay away from, shun, or avoid all believers who live idle or lazy lives. People who do not work should not eat, or should not survive. Paul refers to his own example, which we are to follow. He worked hard day and night with the specific purpose of providing for himself and his team. He refused to live off of donations or handouts. It would not have been sin for him to live off of the other believers. He had the right to live as a fully funded minister of the gospel. He refused that right because the example of hard work was so important to him. Paul repeats himself, stating that this is a regular part of his teaching. We are commanded to work and work hard.

Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Romans 12:11

Another command from the New Testament prohibits laziness and commands us to both work hard and serve the Lord with enthusiasm or joy. Those who do not have work to do, should serve the Lord with the time and energy that they have.

Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. Ezekiel 16:49

Sodom is known for sodomy. The gross immorality of homosexual gang rape present in Sodom made their name famous. God's judgment on their city also makes Sodom stand out. They were destroyed for their sin. Yet Ezekiel does not mention their violent sexual immorality. Instead he emphasizes the attributes present in their hearts and lifestyle: pride, gluttony, and laziness at the expense of the poor. Laziness is one of the qualities and one of the sins that opens the door for even more gross immorality in our lives. Sodom's evil behavior was in part because of their laziness. We must address laziness in our lives or more obvious sins will follow.

The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion on the road!
    Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!”
14 As a door swings back and forth on its hinges,
    so the lazy person turns over in bed.
15 Lazy people take food in their hand
    but don’t even lift it to their mouth.
16 Lazy people consider themselves smarter
    than seven wise counselors.
Proverbs 26:13-16

Proverbs contains a number of passages describing the downfall or destruction of the lazy. In this passage laziness is connected to pride. The lazy are arrogant. They believe that they can live without working as hard as others because they are smarter than others.

I walked by the field of a lazy person,
    the vineyard of one with no common sense.
31 I saw that it was overgrown with nettles.
    It was covered with weeds,
    and its walls were broken down.
32 Then, as I looked and thought about it,
    I learned this lesson:
33 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
34 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
    scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
Proverbs 24:30-34

Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work.
Proverbs 21:25

It doesn't matter if you want to work hard, want to prosper, want to succeed, want to be a blessing, want to please God, if you don't work, if you don't DO, you will come to ruin despite your desires.

Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at the harvest.
Proverbs 20:4

It may not seem like you need to work hard now, but the future will reveal your lack of hard work and lack of faithfulness.

A lazy person is as bad as
    someone who destroys things.
Proverbs 18:8-10

Laziness is destructive to your life, community, and society.

A lazy person’s way is blocked with briers,
    but the path of the upright is an open highway.
Proverbs 15:19

Lazy people want much but get little,
    but those who work hard will prosper.
Proverbs 13:4

Work hard and become a leader;
    be lazy and become a slave.
Proverbs 12:24

Laziness leads to slavery in our lives. Economic slavery, physical slavery (to health issues), and spiritual slavery. Laziness is a sin. Those who work hard will be successful examples. They will be leaders. Those who are lazy will be slaves in this life.

Father, I ask that these warnings against laziness would penetrate my heart. I can think of many times when I have not worked hard. I sleep so much and am distracted by so many things. I confess my laziness to you, Lord. I want to be free. I want to be free from laziness. I want to be a hard worker for you and please you. Father, I turn from laziness. I repent. I leave that lax and idle behavior behind and I turn towards You and towards Your service. I want to be like Paul. I want to be like Jesus. I want to work day and night to serve You and Your body. I want to put others first. I don't want to sleep too much. I don't want to procrastinate. I don't want to waste time with leisure and entertainment. I want to spend my life and energy on things with meaning. Lead me and guide me into right work and hard work for Your glory. I turn from this sin and I turn to you and partake of Your nature. In Jesus name, Amen.

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