Tag Archives: Proverbs 19:15

Evangelism and Physical Fitness: When Rest Becomes Laziness

1 Nov

While a little rest is a good thing, too much of it can cause harm both physically and mentally.  Our ability to perform basic tasks can be hindered by the lack of exercise and our minds become less capable of working complex problems as we allow them to think upon “nothing”.

The Scripture is full of warnings about the dangers of resting when we should be laboring (Proverbs 10:26, 12:27, 15:19, and 19:15), yet finding the line between rest and work can be difficult.  Not every one of us is physically capable of performing hard labor or applying our minds to tedious calculations.  Acts which would appear to be laziness if performed by a star athlete may be the height of exertion for someone afflicted by a chronic illness.  So how do we know if we are disguising laziness as “rest”?  Here are three questions worth asking:

  1. Am I resting at the expense of tasks which need to be accomplished?  Taking responsibility is important and a failure to fulfill our obligations can be a sign that we’re growing lazy.  But this isn’t always the case.  It’s just as easy to fail by overscheduling our already packed lives – so it’s up to each of us to know the difference!
  2. Am I physically capable of accomplishing the tasks I’ve committed to?  If we’re capable of fulfilling our obligations, but aren’t, it’s a good guess that we’re growing lazy.  But keep in mind that what our bodies can do varies as we age or progress through cycles of sickness and health.  Just because we were capable of a certain level of physical exertion a week ago, doesn’t mean we’ll be capable today.  Again, it’s our responsibility to determine whether our pace is slackening due to sloth or because of legitimate physical necessity.
  3. Am I mentally capable of performing the tasks before me?  Sometimes, we bite off more than we can chew.  It may be an AP class that requires more study than we have time for or a household renovation which demands math skills we never learned.  Despite this, we need to be careful that we don’t turn mental weakness into an excuse for never trying anything difficult or different.  If we do, laziness lies in wait.

If you’ve noticed that this list is a bit subjective, then you aren’t alone.  One of the things which makes Christianity unique is its ability to recognize that while there are some universal absolutes (like that God is holy, all men are sinners, and salvation comes through Christ alone), the outcome of those absolutes will look a little different for everyone.  It’s up to individuals, moved by the Holy Spirit, to determine whether they are or aren’t living the lives to which they’ve been called.  What’s so great about this?  In the end, the only one that any of us can compare ourselves to is ourselves and to Christ!

This week, spend some time in prayer and introspection.  Ask God to reveal whether you could use more rest or less.  Then, commit to acting upon His revelation.  Only when we do, will we become the light He created us to be!

Evangelism and Physical Fitness: The Biblical Value of Sleep

12 Jul

In our fast-paced society, resting often gets the short shrift.  There are only twenty-four hours in the day and most of us wake up each morning with plenty of work to fill every one of them!  There are chores to be done, studies to be completed, relationships to be developed, and work to do.  Because of this, it really isn’t that surprising that nearly 41 million American workers (and many more American students) aren’t getting enough sleep![1]  Indeed, according to one recent survey, up to 83% of us aren’t getting quality rest on a regular basis.[2]  We know it’s bad for our health, but is it actually unbiblical?  And how does this lack of sleep influence our ability to fight our spiritual battle?

The Bible actually has quite a bit to say about the value of sleep and, while we might be drawn to passages like Proverbs 6:4-11, 10:5, and 19:15 to justify our lack of sleep, it is laziness, not sleep deprivation which the author is attacking.  Indeed, Scripture has much to say about the sweetness of sleep, particularly the type of sleep which is derived from a life lived in line with God’s commands.  Take, for example, Proverbs 3:19-24:

“The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, by understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge the deeps were broken up and the skies drip with dew. My son, let them not vanish from your sight; keep sound wisdom and discretion, so they will be life to your soul and adornment to your neck. Then you will walk in your way securely and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”

Or what about Proverbs 19:23?

“The fear of the LORD leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.”

The Apostle Paul asked the Corinthian church, “do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)  Obedience to this command requires us not only to consider issues like our sexual practices and what we eat, but also how we care for our bodies in other ways through physical activity… and lack thereof.

God took special care in ordering our days to give us time for sleep and rest.  (Take a moment to look up the creation account in Genesis 1 or the Sabbath commands of Exodus 16:22-30, Exodus 20:9-11, and Deuteronomy 5:12-15 for greater details concerning the important rhythm of work and rest which God intended.)  For Christians, this means that we take the time to ensure that we are getting the rest we need.  But this isn’t just a random command; there are practical medical reasons for rest and those medical reasons can have a strong influence on our ability to effectively share God’s love with others.  We will take a look at a few of these reasons next week.  Meanwhile, take time to share a few of your own thoughts on the value of sleep in the comment box below!

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