20 September 2011

An Idle Soul

Proverbs 19:15 Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

The Bible (and the book of Proverbs in particular) has a lot to say about slothfulness, laziness, idleness. In this modern-day American society that’s obsessed with entertainment, amusement and leisure, it’s important that we’re constantly reminded of the dangers of being idle.

There are dangers in idleness of mind.  Benjamin Franklin was by no means a Christian or a godly man, but he said some insightful things.  One of those sayings is that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.  That might not be Bible, but it’s biblical.  We must guard against an idle mind.  Man’s heart is desperately wicked, and if we allow our minds to wander and allow our thoughts to roam, they have a powerful tendency to go where they shouldn’t (Genesis 6:5).  We’re to carefully guard our thoughts, take our thoughts captive, and bring them in obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3).  Twenty times, the Bible uses some form of the word meditate, and it’s pretty much the very opposite of the transcendental variety.  God wants us to think on purpose.  About Him.  About His word.  About what’s right.  Don’t have an idle mind. 

Then there are dangers in idleness of body.  According to Ezekiel 16:49, the root of Sodom’s iniquity and the primary reason for its eventual destruction was not sexual perversion.  That was just a symptom.  A major part of Sodom’s problem was that “abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters.”  Too much free time.  Too much leisure.  Too little responsibility.  And so they kept devising mischief (Psalm 36:1-4; Proverbs 6:14, 18) until they sunk to the depths of depravity.  We ought to be people of activity.  With a God to glorify and a world that’s dying and going to hell and with so much to learn and so much to do, it’s pretty much a sin to be bored.

But what caught my attention in Proverbs 19:15, was the phrase “an idle soul.”  You see, I know a lot of young people who rot their guts on junk food and their minds on video games, but then again, I know a lot who don’t.  They’re not idle in their minds.  They’re busy studying, busy learning, taking tests, writing papers, preparing for their future.  And they’re not idle in their bodies.  They’re working jobs and completing projects and playing sports and participating in this activity, that group, the other program. 

But the dangers they fail to recognize are the dangers of an idle soul.  When it comes to their spiritual life, they’re lazy.  They’re lazy about their Bible reading.  They’re lazy about scripture memory.  They’re lazy about their prayer life.  They’re lazy about witnessing.  And they don’t think it’s that big of a deal.  They’re busy with school.  They’re busy with friends.  They’re busy with their plans.  They’re busy with life.  And that’s good.  But their soul is starving to death. 

The Proverbs passage says that “slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep.”  It makes them like Jonah down in the sides of the ship.  Taking a nap while the world goes to hell. 

1 Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

Romans 13:11-12 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Let’s be aware of the dangers of idleness.  Let’s not allow our minds, our bodies, or our souls to be idle.  Work for the night is coming!