Today, we are continuing our efforts to use a little “Jesus Judo” on the enemy of our souls by turning his attacks back against him. This is accomplished when we do the right thing God wants us to do rather than the wrong things that our adversary desires. We have been looking at the Seven Virtues and the corresponding Seven Deadly Sins. Our goal is to always finish on the virtue side. So far we have covered: Chastity & Lust, Temperance & Gluttony, and Charity & Greed. This time we are going to take a brief look at Diligence & Sloth.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
Often times, the above passage is abbreviated to simply say, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him (God).” While this is a great truth, there is a lot more there. When we come to Him, we must believe that He is, AND that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Despite the hordes that appear to be living in some kind of passive faith, we know better – it is an impossibility for the faithful Christian. Faith is not passive, it is ACTIVE.
The Greek word used for diligence in this scripture, is transliterated, ekzētéō. It is defined as “seek out”; “search diligently for anything lost.” In the New Testament, it is used metaphorically to indicate seeking in order to obtain or know. This concept is conveyed in the Old Testement as well:
But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29 (NKJV)
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)
The Apostle Peter referred to the diligence of Old Testament Prophets in his encouragement to the New Testament Church to keep on pressing:
Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 1 Peter 1:10-11 (NKJV)
An easy way to think about Diligence and Sloth, is that Diligence is working hard while Sloth is hardly working. We are plagued by the spirit of Sloth in our modern culture. More and more children grow up to expect their parent’s lifestyle without their parent’s diligent work ethic and application of delayed gratification. One of the areas where this is very obvious is in the area of social networking. A 2012 study revealed that employee abuse of social networking cost employers approximately $650 billion dollars a year. A person would be hard pressed to argue that it is not far worse today.
The Bible is full of warnings about slothfulness. Here are just a few:
The hand of the diligent will rule, But the slack hand will be put to forced labor. Proverbs 12:24 (NASB)
For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NASB)
The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns, But the path of the upright is a highway. Proverbs 15:19 (NASB)
Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks. Ecclesiastes 10:18 (NASB)
I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense. I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down. Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson: 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 24:30-34 (NLT)
In Matthew 25:26: Jesus called the man who hid his talent, a wicked and slothful servant and had him sent to a place where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth (hmm, sounds familiar).
Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Romans 12:11 (NLT)
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8 (NASB)
The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside; I will be killed in the streets!” (Excuses) Proverbs 22:13 (NASB)
Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich. Proverbs 10:4 (NASB)
He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense. Proverbs 12:11 (NASB)
Do not love sleep, or you will become poor; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food. Proverbs 20:13 (NASB)
He also who is slack in his work Is brother to him who destroys. Proverbs 18:9 (NASB)
We were made for diligent work. All the way back in Genesis chapter two – BEFORE the fall – God put man into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The very first commandment to man was to be fruitful and multiply – TO PRODUCE!
Slothfulness / Laziness / Couch Potatoness works against the people we are created to be. It is an insult to God and a waste of the investment He has placed in us. Are you bored? Don’t reach for the remote or app, look for a way to make your world a better place to live for others – and yourself too. Are you working hard or hardly working? It matters.