Yet we all know we can get lazy in our eating, exercise, and work habits. More devastating than any of those areas, though, is when we find ourselves getting lazy spiritually. It does us no good to be disciplined in physical matters if we’re not going to apply the same or greater discipline to eternal things.
I’m not only referring to the well-known spiritual disciplines of prayer and Bible study, but also the less obvious areas, like our relationships with family and friends, personal integrity, and service to others. It doesn’t take much to knock us off our game in these areas, which hinders our witness to the world, and disrupts our relationship with the Lord.
Getting lazy in our relationships happens whenever we cease to be intentional about them. Whether it’s a spouse, child, or friend, relationships take a lot of work if we are going to love them as Jesus taught us to love them. It’s too easy to take someone for granted and begin looking at our relationships thinking only of what we can get from them rather than what we can give to them. As followers of Jesus, we’re to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). Perfect love for another happens only when we love them as Jesus does.
Loving others doesn’t just happen with those we know and share life with. We must love everyone with whom we come into contact because God created each person we encounter in His image. God loves them with the same inconceivable love with which He loves us. The world is desperate for hope and always looking for an answer to their questions and pain. How will they find Jesus if we don’t live in a way that allows Him to shine through us? As followers of Christ, we should never grow lazy in our love for the helpless, the outcast, and the defeated. Always have a smile ready for a stranger. Take notice of those whom everyone else ignores. God humbles the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). Never be too proud to spare a kind word or a few minutes with a stranger.
Getting lazy in your integrity is perhaps the most dangerous of all. We are to take up our cross every day and live as Jesus lived. If we’re going to claim to love Jesus, then we’re going to have to live in obedience to all His commands (John 14:15). There’s no room for selfish desires, and if we let our guard down, I promise they will quickly creep in. It’s far easier to never let a sinful habit take up residence than it is to evict it once it’s moved in. Guard your heart and keep yourself pure and unstained by the world (James 1:27).
The Christian life is a steep challenge and not for everyone. It’s too easy to sleep a little longer when we could be praying, stay up a little later when we should be enjoying God’s rest, and indulge in entertainment when we should be working. The way of the world is to concern yourself with whatever brings you pleasure, comfort, or happiness. The way of the cross is to give yourself over to service and sacrifice. There’s no room for laziness in the Kingdom of God. Our mission is serious and we have little time to accomplish it. Be sober-minded and diligent. Don’t give laziness a foothold in your life.