Author’s Note: This article originally appeared in the Baptist Insight Magazine back in February of this year and I’m posting it online for all our non-Baptist readers.
Youth is an unparalleled time full of energy and potential. But all too often we squander it, failing to appreciate this once in a lifetime gift and using it unwisely. One of the reasons we so easily throw away our youth is laziness.
Laziness is a huge temptation for many of us, especially in our youth. The habits we develop when we are young will go on to shape the rest of our lives.
The Teacher in Ecclesiastes offers us this counsel, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth” (12:1 NIV). Being a Christian means continually remembering who God is and all he has done for us in and through Jesus: his sinless life which makes us righteous before God, his sacrificial death through which God is justly able to forgive us, and his victorious resurrection which secures all of this, and more, for us.
This is the key to fighting laziness and seeing transformation in our lives. However, this transformation does not happen all by itself.
In his goodness God has provided means to facilitate gospel transformation in our lives. He has given us a number of gifts to help us remember our Creator in the days of our youth.
- Scripture: In our fight against laziness we should be spending time with God is his Word, allowing it to saturate and transform our minds and our hearts and showing us how to live in a way that is pleasing to God.
- Prayer: Like any good Father, God wants to hear from us. He wants us to share our deepest feelings and even our passing thoughts with him. Prayer is a conversation with our loving Father who wants to hear from his beloved children.
- Church: As my pastor likes to say, “God didn’t save us to be Lone Rangers”. He saved us to be part of his church. Being involved in your church is a fantastic way to fight against laziness! Get baptised, take communion, become a member of your church and find ways to serve others with the gifts God has given you. As well as being active members’ in our churches we also need a smaller group of Christians with whom we can read Scripture, pray, share our lives, and confess our failures and sins. Being part of a community like this is an invaluable catalyst in gospel transformation.
- Creation: Maybe you love nature or cooking or painting or music or whatever. God has given us a vast number of natural gifts that bring him glory simply from our sheer enjoyment of them. So take the time to enjoy God through these gifts he has given to us; go outside and enjoy the smell of fresh air, learn to play an instrument, use your time to enjoy the many wonderful gifts God has given us. And if possible find other people who enjoy the same things you do and meet to enjoy them together.
Fighting laziness is hard work but God is with us, he gives us grace to “strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in [us]” (Colossians 1:29 NIV) as we use all the means he has so generously and graciously given to us. By God’s grace and power at work in us we can put our laziness to death and be transformed into people who love Jesus and work hard for his glory and our joy whether that be in our studies, our hobbies or a part-time job in the local corner shop.
“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” (Romans 12:11 NLT)