- But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 29: 7-9)
- And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. (Matthew 24:4-5,24-25)
- Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:1-6)
- See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
- Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 )
Every Christian should consider the Biblical call to avoid laziness and overcome it. Now laziness is not the same thing as resting after a hard days work. Laziness is rather idleness and the quality of being unwilling to work or use effort and energy. For some unwitting people a holiday means a time to be lazy and avoid all work including house work, while others just carry their work (via a laptop or smartphone) together with them. Now this doesn’t mean each Christian ought to avoid holidays or be a workaholic who works until he or she is completely drained out. That would be too extreme, isn’t it?
The key to a balanced Christian life would be to live a life consistent with the principles of the Bible. Now there are four areas of life where a Christian can and must avoid laziness, which are as follows:
1. The Spiritual life.
2. The Emotional life.
3. The Physical life.
4. The Financial life.
I’ll explain what each of them mean and what can be done to avoid laziness in them but first let’s get to know a few Bible verses about laziness. Here’s the first one:
How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:9-11)
Plus here are a few more Bible verses about laziness to consider:
* A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. (Proverbs 10:4)
* Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger. (Proverbs 19:15)
* The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing. (Proverbs 20:4)
From the above verses you’d notice that laziness can bring in eventual poverty, hunger and lack. At the same time diligence can make you rich. What would you prefer? For those who want to not be in poverty, hunger and lack which come due to lack of action in the right direction, there’s where the teachings of the Bible come to use. I’ll now explain the four key areas in detail:-
1. The Spiritual life
This is the most important area of life a man, woman or child could ever have. Whatever you do in your present spiritual life can have dramatic consequences in the after life. The problem is that some people are very busy in all areas of their life except that of the spirit. They neglect their prayers unto God, forget to give thanks to the Lord, and even avoid doing good works. The usual excuse is that they are too busy or don’t have time. But whatever be the reason, if you be lazy in your spiritual life then do not expect a good commendation from the Lord God. A few verses to reflect and act upon:
1. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16)
2. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22)
3. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. (Romans 12:11)
4. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17
2. The Emotional life
Your emotional life is the next most important area. Many people make life changing decisions based on their impulses instead of wisdom. This causes them a lot of hardship later on while it may be possible they might enjoy themselves temporarily. Because people are too lazy to cultivate and safeguard their emotions they easily break in the face of adversity. The people of God are called to be vigilant and wise instead. It’s wise to know your current emotional state towards yourself and the Lord God and even your fellow human beings and animals and so on. This can give you the opportunity to either groom or correct your emotions. A few verses to ponder and work upon:
1. So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
2. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
3. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and the evil out of the evil brings forth that which is evil. For out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)
4. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)
3. The Physical life
There are people who are very good in their spiritual and emotional life but are lacking in their physical life. Then you hear that such people are finding difficulty in walking or running or climbing and so on. I wish they work on their physical frame as well. So what is the physical life I speak of? It’s basically the physical well-being of the body in terms of nutrition and exercise. While I do agree that it’s given to man to die once and then comes the resurrection of the just (and the unjust for those who die in their sin) it does not mean we neglect our physical bodies in the mean time. The Bible never tells us to neglect our body once we get saved, in fact we are told that we who believe in Christ Jesus are nothing less than the temple of the Holy Spirit. Read the following Bible verses and use them to your benefit:
1. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own (1 Corinthians 6:19)
2. For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)
3. A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might (Proverbs 24:5)
4. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong (Proverbs 31:17)
4. The Financial life
The area of finance is something that people give way too much importance to. However the areas of spirit, emotions and physical life should not be neglected while working on the area of finance. Some get into debt because they sleep or laze around instead of working when it’s the time to work. There are others who awake enough to earn their living but asleep enough to not check their overspending or even getting into debts that they can easily avoid. As a result there is a lot of strain in terms of money in their life which affects their families too. So don’t love money at all but instead be diligent in earning it and saving it and only spend it wisely. A few verses in this area that you can act upon:
1. He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame. (Proverbs 10:5)
2. In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23)
3. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. (2 Thessalonians 3:11-12)
4. But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:26-30)
It’s common knowledge that there are lots of books printed so far. Some books are very useful such as cook books, car manuals, grooming books etc. These are quite objective in their approach and to the point. However not everything is worth reading as there are other books that are filled with foolishness that you must avoid.
There are certain books that are superficially considered as works of artistic grandeur. On closer inspection you’d realize that they contain moral or spiritual gibberish at best. You must do you best to discern what is really good for you to glean on when reading such things.
Some people love poems while some love novels. There are people who relish classic literary works, while some revel in the contemporary. No problem in such hobbies as long they are not harmful. For instance gardening is no sin unless you are growing poisonous plants to harm others or yourself. Likewise, when reading various books they induce thoughts in the garden of your mind. You need to remove weeds of impure thoughts lest they choke the beautiful thoughts of piety, respect, gracefulness etc. The garden of your mind must be well watered with the word of God and never any substitute.
The wisdom of the world in some books can be shaky. They teach you that you are not took keep whining about your sorry situation but do something positive about it. You are encouraged to help yourself. While a worldly book teaches self-reliance it might also teach you to not help people in trouble as they are expected to help themselves. Such teaching on self-reliance is out of balance. I’d say that avoid such books that teach you not to help others. While its true that some people are way too lazy to help themselves, there are some who are too depressed to figure out how to get out of trouble. Not every self-help book is bad but that which teaches foolishness like not helping others is surely a bad one.
Take care what emotions are prominent in worldly books. As certain authors put in their own bitterness in their writings. Some are obsessed with suicide in their works and receive critical acclaim for that. However, the same critics get horrified when the author whom they praised actually committed suicide maybe due to divorce or loss of a fortune. What a tragedy at many levels? Three levels that immediately came to my mind. First, for the author’s life that got lost in gloom forever. Secondly, that the audience and critics celebrated suicide that people usually commit out of hopelessness. Thirdly, that such works that promote despair and suicide are still in vogue even after people came to know that the author wrote them not in the objective sense but out of their own grief which they tried to hide behind.
There are certain books that encourage you to feel helpless just because you are of a particular country, race or gender. Such things only promote you to believe in falsehood that you cannot breakout of worldly stereotypes. Keep away from such books.
Some authors are highly obsessed with sexual immorality. They portray love what is vulgar and hypocritical. They are more concerned with sinful please rather than right living. Nowadays in works of art even a bank robber is glorified if he has a relationship with an adulterous woman as long as he robs the rich and gives to the poor. The Bible doesn’t teach us to rob the rich and give to the poor.
There are certain books what promote unbelief. They will try to make you doubt if God exists. They will say lots of evil things about Jesus Christ. These are to be shunned outright. Because atheism and blasphemy are not in line with the Christian faith.
If you call yourself a believer in Christ then remember that is pointless to keep reading such books. Read what is wise and good and keep away what is sinful and vain. Moreover, read the Bible because it contains God’s message to us which leads us on to the right path.
A few scripture verses to reflect on:
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8)
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.(1 Timothy 6:20-21)
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.(2 Timothy 2:22)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.(1 John 2:15-16)
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing (Psalm 100:2)
Do you serve the Lord with gladness? Do you feel that serving God is something that you need to do legalistically or freely?
Never get into a legalistic mode when serving God. Because your will power and disciple will get affected in the course of time. You are not a robot!
The Christian faith goes beyond religion because it concentrates not on rituals but on relation. Not any ordinary relation but a relationship with God through Jesus Christ his Son. So keep ritualistic attitudes outside and far away from your relationship with God.
It may be possible to show your gladness externally like smiling, singing when preaching the Gospel to unbelievers. But sometimes you can’t actually do this in instances of praying for a person who is suffering from cancer and is in pain. The point is that the expression of gladness must always be there in your inner being. You can be happy in your heart that Christ gives you salvation even in the midst of pain and suffering that you encounter either in yourself and others. Even Moses said in Exodus 15:2 that; The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
Getting your mind right can dramatically affect your will power and discipline in doing the works of God. You will need to be very familiar with the word of God for this and put it to action.
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:7-10)
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22)
A sure sign of faith that is disciplined is that you do not empower the flesh nature but rather you focus on the desires of the Spirit.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:16-17)
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6)
We must encourage each other to hold on the to word of Christ. Never force anyone but rather do it in freedom and respect. We do not condone sin but we exhort each other to be holy for God.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:1-12)
Accept the discipline of God because he loves you. God loves you as his child. No good parent will like to see his child eat stale food. If a child still tries to eat stale food then the good parent will surely try to correct the child. This is because the parent is aware of what is beneficial to the child and what is not.
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:11-12)
Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage (Psalm 94:12-14)
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:5-6)
Never mistake the correction (or chastisement) of God as punishment. Because if you were to be punished he would have done so already. Correction is so that you improve while punishment comes due to lack of repentance.
Correction may come in form of preaching, teaching and examples in real life. Most of the while the Lord God will speak through your conscience about whether you are making a wrong move or walking on the right path. Sometimes godly people will approach you and try to get you on the right track. Never get confused between false accusers and those who truly are trying to help. Check the facts for yourself with the Bible as your guide. Because skepticism is not a substitute for discernment.
The difference between correction and punishment must be clear to you. Otherwise you might simply be bitter over nothing. Suppose you are speeding in your car and your dad is in your car too and he yells at you to slow down, he is not punishing you. He is only correcting you. However, if he makes you stop because you refused to slow down and then bans you for a month from driving then that is punishment.
You are to remain disciplined even as you commend others to godliness. If you train people to be holy but yourself commit robbery, you are in danger of hell fire.
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27)
You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2: 23-24)
Have your will power and discipline for the Lord God not out of compulsion but out a free and thankful heart. This way you will truly give glory to God through Jesus Christ his Son. God be with you!