As believers in Jesus Christ we are not only created in the image of God–the first worker–but also redeemed by Him in order to reflect the glory of God as that damaged image is renewed through the work of the Holy Spirit through the gospel (Col 3:10). One particular way in which we reflect this renewed image of Christ is by being diligent workers. The apostle calls us to this lifestyle in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
On this subject, Adam Embry has written a very helpful booklet that addresses a subject Christians tend to excuse or ignore: laziness. HELP! I Can’t Get Motivated is a biblical assessment of the problem of laziness, its origins, characteristics, and solution. In the second chapter, after explaining the two most common excuses for being an un-motivated person provided in the book of Proverbs, Embry further develops 5 consequences of laziness.
- Violent poverty (Prov 6:11)
- Loss of friendship (Prov 10:26)
- Unfinished tasks (Prov 12:27; compared with 19:24)
- Unfulfilled desires (Prov 13:4)
- Death (Prov 21:25)
These five consequences can be viewed from a different angle, as laziness negatively impacts our relationships with others (annoying/unhelpful), our well-being (poverty, unfinished tasks, unfulfilled desires), and our eternal destiny (death). the lazy individual’s excuses epitomize an obsessive, selfish care for him- or herself, a disregard for others, and disobedience toward God. “Idleness,” Spurgeon preached, “is selfishness, and this is not consistent with the love of neighbor, nor with any high degree of virtue.” Laziness, then, is a sin that dominates all of life and reflects disobedience to God’s law. It’s a curse we bring upon ourselves and our relationships that will ultimately kill us.
Slothfulness, like all other sins, is deceptive. We never think its consequences are catastrophic. It offers us ease and comfort, but it fails to deliver. Augustine noted this when he said, “Sloth poses as the love of peace: yet what certain peace is there besides the Lord?” The solution to fighting laziness is the good news of salvation the Lord brings.
Laziness is a very neglected sin among Christians. For that reason, I commend Adam’s study to you for personal and small-group use.