From Lazy to Self-Disciplined – Part 2

It would seem that most, if not all, of us have to battle that natural tendency to gravitate toward laziness. For some the tendency will be greater than for others, but it is a problem to some degree or another. Last month, I began the Mom’s Corner with a question from a mom recognizing that she was giving in to her laziness and asking for suggestions on how to build self-discipline into her life.

The beginning point for us as we move from laziness to self-discipline is to have a biblical perspective on both laziness and on self-discipline. Last month we started laying a biblical groundwork for why we would care about being self-disciplined. In one of the e-mail responses to the last Mom’s Corner, a lady shared a verse she likes that lends itself well to a biblical reason for diligence. Her verse is part of the description of the Proverbs 31 woman. “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:27). She isn’t lazy but rather self-disciplined. We could go a little further with that Proverbs 31 woman if we read the whole chapter. She is a great example to us of what a woman who doesn’t eat the bread of idleness is doing with her time. Since the Proverbs 31 woman had servant girls, she would have had the luxury of letting others do the work in her household. She could have been lazy if she had wanted to do so. Obviously, her servants were working as well, but the Proverbs 31 woman still chose to get up early and work hard.

Here is another passage I think will encourage us to know that when we follow the Lord Jesus obediently, we set aside laziness: “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:10-12). Look at these words and phrases from this passage: “labor of love,” “ministered to the saints,” “do minister,” “show the same diligence,” “be not slothful.” What we do in serving in our homes is a labor of love, and it is ministering. We are encouraged to be diligent and not to be slothful. It is our faith in our Lord that enables us to do what He has called us to do, and we are to be patient as we fulfill that ministry; we are not to always feel anxious for it to be done so we can then do what we want to do, but we are to find joy in the work itself.

After last month’s Mom’s Corner, a very dear friend who writes every single month and comments on each Corner, shared this with me:

“I have a verse I have kept in my room for years … ‘Arise … and be doing…’ This helps me in those moments of weariness or indecision … don’t just sit there and vegetate…” Martha

I e-mailed her to ask permission to use part of her e-mail in the Mom’s Corner. When she wrote back, she gave me much more information about the verse and why it was motivating to her. I felt the verse and her thoughts on it fit well into our study, so I am including them here for you. This is the whole verse and where it is found: “Of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number. Arise therefore, and be doing, and the LORD be with thee” (1 Chronicles 22:16). Here is what Martha wrote:

“David spent the later part of his life laying aside the necessary building materials and resources that his son would need in continuing the work of the Lord in building the temple. David’s challenge to arise and be doing was the cry of a life that had been lived with purpose to please and honor God. It was for this reason that he could challenge his son to arise and be doing that work of the Lord. From 1 Chronicles 22:16, we get the feeling that there was no holding back in what David contributed toward his son building the temple.

“As we see in 2 Samuel 24:24, he would not give unto the Lord that which cost him nothing. ‘And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver’ (2 Samuel 24:24). David himself worked tirelessly at this task that he would not finish but would pass on for his son to complete in his son’s lifetime. Would to God that we would all see the work that God has given us to accomplish for His Name’s sake (the raising of our children and supporting of our husbands) with the same sense of devotion and dedication that David did. There would be a difference in the continuing work of God in the lives of our children as they take our place for Christ in this world.” Martha

I liked and was challenged by the insights Martha pulled out of these Scriptures. If you would like to read the complete account of these situations, you can find them in 1 Chronicles 22:1-19 and 2 Samuel 24:1-25. A huge motivation for us as mothers is to evaluate the outcomes of our decisions in our children’s lives. David had been busy setting the example before his son Solomon of doing what the Lord wanted him to do. He invested of his time, resources, and energy. He was the epitome of ”arise and be doing for the Lord.” When David told Solomon to arise and be doing, Solomon had not only the direction but also the model from his father to help him accomplish the task. What about our lives? Do we ”arise and be doing”? Are we modeling for them a lazy lifestyle or a self-disciplined one? We are continually examples our children will follow. Are we positive role models, or are we negative ones?

Martha looks at that verse on her wall at times when we would say she has every right to vegetate—times of indecision or weariness. Her thoughts turn to the Lord and what He wants for her time and her life. When she gets up and begins doing, the indecision is erased. If she is weary, the Lord will renew her energy, or He will lighten her load. He wants her focus on Him, not on herself.

I know from personal experience that I end up being blessed when I get up and get busy rather than wasting my time. That time God has given me is a gift, and He has given me stewardship of it. I can be a good and faithful servant with my time, or I can fritter it away with nothing to show for it.

We are still laying the groundwork for moving from being lazy to self-disciplined. My prayer is that as you think about these verses and evaluate your life, you will be motivated to set laziness and time wasters aside, and that you will want to spend yourself in His service. Since we will be moving into the practical ways we can grow from laziness to self-discipline, I would love to hear your stories and be able to share them in this series.