The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly.
Laziness is a sign of pride, evidence that we see ourselves above others, superior to those around us. To work hard is evidence of humility and a commitment to an important task.
Laziness in spiritual matters reveals either ignorance about the method of God in our lives, how He transforms us – it is not without our personal effort – or simple spiritual pride. Spiritual pride guarantees that we will be spiritually lukewarm, and on the cooler side of it at that. We will be quick to criticize others, quick to judge their ideas as inferior to ours, quick to dismiss them as second rate, when in reality we are the ones who stand in greater spiritual need.
Go to the prisons of the world and there you will meet plenty of men who feel superior to others, whose pride has blinded them to their true condition. They felt work was beneath them, they were smarter than all others they assumed, so they were cynical and rejected opportunities to truly better themselves, choosing instead the path of inner pride, anger, and judging. There you find unrepentant individuals who only want to be wise in their own eyes, not truly wise in fact, just in their feelings.
But if we look in the world of leadership – military, industry, political, religious, or any other – we will even there find some men and women of a similar spirit, who have chosen pride over humility and secured their own downfall. Those who lead effectively are humble in their hearts, realizing their need for advice and their personal limitations. Humility betters an individual but pride sets us up for failure.
The method of God for our maturity is not by hypnosis. This “let go and let God” mentality of some misrepresents the Scripture. We are called to study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen who need not be ashamed (2 Tim. 2:15). We are to work for Christ now in the daylight for the night comes when no one can work (John 9:4). We are to do everything in sincere excellent effort and doing our best in all and anything we set our hands to (Eccl. 9:10). We are to make the most of every opportunity for Christ, walking in the fullness of the Spirit (Eph. 5:15-18). “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward” (Col. 3:23).
Victory belongs to the Lord, no question about that, and “unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Amen! But this teaches us that we do not labor alone, nor do we by ourselves alone choose what we will do for God. He leads and directs us, but in obedience we can and should make personal effort, expecting His blessing. Paul said of Epaphras, “I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis” (Col 4:13), and in the passage Paul seemed to mostly be referring to his prayer life. The Lord renews the strength of those who wait upon Him and that strength will be seen in humble service, sincere prayer, and personal effort to grow and serve as the Lord enables us.
Have you been tempted with pride? Have you felt superior to others? Have you neglected spiritual devotions and study? Have you sat motionless when you could have been serving in the power of the Spirit? Have you let opportunities for Christ go past you? Have you put less than your best effort before the Master for Him to use? Put your heart and life back into His hands. Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up!