A great life lesson about our weaknesses, in what Jesus calls our “flesh” (Mark 14:38).
One day a few years ago, I was at my desk at work. I dropped a pen and as I bent over to pick it up, I immediately felt agitated, frustrated, mad? I wasn’t sure which emotion it was or why dropping a pen would evoke such strong negative emotions in me?
During this time, I was learning to depend on God in every part of my life, to not think it strange to hear Him speak to me (My sheep hear My voice) and to trust Him to lead and guide me throughout each day. So in my frustration, I did what any child dependent on the love and wisdom of their ‘daddy’ would do. I asked Him why? Why was I so mad?
The Lord told me it was because of laziness. My first thought was; but I’m not lazy, Lord. He told me that lazy is not my identity, but that I do have moments of laziness. And those moments affect many parts of my life and many of my relationships. Wow! My pride really struggled with that. In the next moment, He said that I also have moments of selfishness. That was something that I was aware of.
You might think that that’s a lot to swallow in one sitting. But as time went by, and I considered that truth (and prayed to be mindful of my ‘grumblings’ that I was now well aware of), the frustrations over the occurrences of everyday living (dropping things, performing unpleasant tasks, etc… ) seemed to slip away. God’s truth/correction does set us free if we desire to listen and be trained by it (Hebrews 12:11).
I’m not sure what those two characteristics – laziness and selfishness mean to you, but God’s Word has a lot to say about both of them. Consider these verses about laziness/the “sluggard”: 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). He also who is slack in his work (responsibilities) is brother to him who destroys (Proverbs 18:9). Laziness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle man will suffer hunger (Proverbs 19:15). Sadly, our half-hearted actions or lack of action (s), have consequences that can reach far beyond our own lives.
Now, when I say this, I hope you aren’t making a mental list of people you know who fit this category. Yes, my mind wandered there too. But God. That’s a whole sentence in my world these days. In Luke 6:41, Jesus asks: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
Selfishness still remains a battle for me until I remember God’s ways. In God’s kingdom, it isn’t until we die (to ourselves) that we come alive. God’s ways are completely contrary to our human ways (our desires/reflexes – our reactions in the “flesh”). In the Kingdom of God, when we die to ourselves (to our self-indulgences, our sinful desires/habits, having to be right, the urge to prove ourselves, wanting our own way, being ruled by our fleeting emotions, thoughts of ‘what’s in it for me’) and seek God first; that’s when we truly live. Jesus tells His disciples in Luke 9: 23-25: “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me, will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose their soul.”
So, laziness and selfishness. Maybe not the crimes/sins of the century. But as a Chinese proverb says (per Wikipedia): “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” In my case, the journey is to the abundant life that Jesus holds out to us.
God bless you.