A Pandemic of Spiritual Laziness.
“As a door swings back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed.” – Proverbs 26:14 NLT
“I’m too tired.”
“I just don’t have enough time.”
“I had to get up early to go to work.”
“The baby was up all night.”
“I’ll do it tomorrow.”
Excuses. We all make them. And as Christians, we tend to make a lot of them when it comes to have our “quiet time” or daily devotionals. We inherently know we’re supposed to read our Bible and spend time in prayer, but we just keep putting it off. In those rare moments when we do set aside a few minutes for reading the Scriptures, we discover it’s tough going. We don’t know where to begin and aren’t sure what we’ve read when we’re done. And if we attempt to pray, we find our minds wandering all over the place and spend more time thinking about what we have to do that day than actually talking to God. The whole experience is less than enjoyable, so it makes it even harder to conjure up the will power to attempt it the next day. That’s when the excuses come in. And we can get very clever with them. But the excuses are simply a cover-up for our own spiritual lethargy and laziness. We don’t want to spend time with God, so we come up with all kinds of reasons to justify our inaction. And we justify our laziness with busyness.
The Book of Proverbs has a lot to say about laziness, and while it doesn’t necessarily deal with it from the spiritual stand point, it most certainly applies. I am certain there are those of us who are lazy when it comes to work, chores, paying the bills, cleaning the house, maintaining our cars, doing our homework, and a myriad of other day-to-day responsibilities, far more of us struggle with spiritual laziness. Think about what Solomon records in this chapter.
“The lazy person claims, ‘There’s a lion on the road! Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!'” (Proverbs 26:13 NLT).
This is a far-fetched, desperate kind of excuse that justifies inaction due to inherent danger. It seems ridiculous and hard to believe. But to the one making the excuse, it is all he or she needs to keep them from doing what they need to do. They conjure up all kinds of reasons for not meeting their obligations. We do the same thing with our spiritual lives. We can come up with all kinds of pathetic, unrealistic excuses for not spending time with God. And after a while, we can begin to convince ourselves they’re true.
“Lazy people take food in their hand but don’t even lift it to their mouth” (Proverbs 26:15 NLT).
This is really pathetic. This pictures a person so lazy they don’t even have the energy to feed themselves. But think about that image when it comes to our spiritual well-being. We have access to the Word of God, all kinds of spiritual tools and resources at our disposal, Bible studies galore, and yet we can’t muster up enough energy to feed ourselves spiritually. So we starve to death spiritually surrounded by everything we need to grow and mature.
“Lazy people consider themselves smarter than seven wise counselors” (Proverbs 26:16 NLT).
When someone is spiritually lazy, you can’t get them to listen to reason. They have bought into their own excuses and will refuse to listen to any counsel that suggests they’re wrong. You can tell them about the importance of spending time with God. You can give them helpful tips on how to study God’s Word more effectively. But they won’t listen. Because the reality is that they don’t want to study God’s Word. They find it difficult to do, so they rationalize away any responsibility on their part. They’re lazy and unteachable.
“As a door swing back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed” (Proverbs 26:14 NLT).
We hit the snooze alarm. We grant ourselves a few more minutes of precious, well-deserved sleep. We roll over in bed and squander any time we might have spent in God’s Word. We’ll get up early to go on vacation, hit the gym, go for a run, head into the office, or a hundred other activities we WANT to do. But we can make up all kinds of excuses to avoid spending time with God. And our laziness results in spiritual lethargy and anemia. We find ourselves low on spiritual energy and our minds devoid of spiritual understanding. We operate on fumes and go through our days lacking the spiritual vitality to deal with the struggles of life. Back in chapter 24, Solomon warns us of the danger of spiritual apathy and laziness. It does have consequences.
“A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber” (Proverbs 24:33 NLT).
We need to wake up, get up, and get into God’s Word. We need to stop making excuses and start making time for God. Spiritual laziness is killing us. It’s leaving us spiritual impoverished and easy pickings for the enemy. We are too weak to defend ourselves against the assault of the enemy and too spiritually malnourished to survive the daily onslaught of the spiritual battle in which we find ourselves.
Father, wake us up. Help us get rid of all our excuses and get into Your Word on a daily basis. Forgive us of our spiritual laziness. Replace it with a zeal for You and a desire to spend time in Your Word so that we might learn Your ways and be equipped to fight Your battle as members of Your spiritual army. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men