Overcoming Spiritual Laziness in our Walk

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It’s popular in Christian circles to downplay hard work. Unbiblical mantras such as “work without working” continue to find a home in speech and conduct. However, even a cursory reading of the Bible will reveal that teachings such as “letting go and letting God” simply do not line up with Scripture.

Let me give you one of numerous examples from the Apostle Paul. In Philippians 2:12-13, Paul writes ,“12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” It is difficult to find a “work without working” theology in Paul.

The Bible

The church Puritan, Jonathan Edwards, sums this text up by showing us that it is both God and man who does the working. Just as it is not biblical to say we simply let go and let God do the work, it is equally unbiblical to say that we do all the work or that we meet somewhere in the middle.

Edwards tell us that God does 100% of the work and you do 100% of the work. He makes this clearer by saying God authors all of your holiness and you act out all of your holiness. God works to change your desires and you act out the new desires.
“God authors all of your holiness and you act out all of your holiness”

Or as John Piper says, “you act the miracle”. God miraculously works in you and you act out what God has worked in you. It is an inside out change. Meaning, we don’t clean ourselves up to change the heart (outside in); God changes us from the inside and it produces a changed life (inside-out).

That being said, when you look at the Apostle Paul’s life, you see someone who works and labors to the point of exhaustion because God is working in Him, “29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me”, Colossians 1:29.

Paul is anything but lazy in his Christian walk which is all about knowing Jesus. But laziness is a real struggle in our walks.

The Bible

So when we get in those seasons of our lives where we just want to throw it in cruise control let’s call it for what it really is… laziness. Cruise control in the Christian life doesn’t keep us at the same pace… no, it moves us backwards and we drift further away from Christ.

If we’re not making progress in the Christian life, we’re drifting. Remember, sin is a constant drift. If we’re not pressing on towards Christ, then the 16,000 messages we hear a day from the world will cause us to drift away from Him. And drifting is a result of spiritual laziness.

When we unpack spiritual laziness to its core we quickly realize that it is a sign of unbelief. It’s a sign that there’s something about God that we doubt and it starts to drain our hope, which means it drains our energy and drive. And we’re not giving it all we have because we doubt it’s worth the effort.
“When you find yourself in a season of spiritual laziness here are four things to do.”
When you find yourself in a season of spiritual laziness here are four things to do:

  • Identify the doubt: What are you doubting? God’s power to change you… His Word that setting your priorities aside and becoming a servant to all just won’t pan out?
  • In prayer, tell God that He is right and you are wrong and ask for forgiveness and Christ is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you (1 John 1:9).
  • Destroy that doubt with Biblical Truth. Here you are searching Scripture for two types of teachings. First, find texts that teaches that what you are struggling with is a sin. And secondly, find texts that speak God’s truth about the doubt.
  • Don’t go it alone. This is where I see most people going astray. Remember, a lone-ranger Christian is a dead Christian. We need the love, encouragement, admonition, and accountably of each other.

Keep passionately pursuing Jesus Christ because He already passionately pursued you and made you His own. “12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”, Philippians 3:12-14.

About the Author

Jeff RoetsJeff is a disciple of Christ, a husband, a daddy, and serves as senior pastor of Newark Community Church, in beautiful Newark, CA.View all posts by Jeff Roets →

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