What is it about the human psyche that causes us to want to be like someone else? Why are we never comfortable in our own skin? In our business, I’ve been known to teach on the trap of “compare-itis.” That is when we find ourselves stuck in a pattern of looking at those around us, comparing ourselves in unhealthy ways. We find ourselves wanting to be thinner, younger (or older), better speakers, better musicians, have nicer clothes, bigger house, etc. We are always striving to have a better this or better that.
You’d be fooling yourself if you say you’ve never done any of this comparing. Paul is giving us some words of wisdom here. Instead of imitating another because of a physical attribute, Paul wants us to imitate those with greater faith than we have. I take it a step farther and remember the fad of “WWJD” – that is, What Would Jesus Do?
Paul takes it in a very particular direction, too, doesn’t he? He calls out those believers who are idle. They do nothing to further the kingdom. It’s like they’ve gotten their “get into heaven” card and now they can just coast the rest of their lives. No matter what they are actually thinking, Paul warns us not to be idle. I don’t know who to attribute this to, but you’ve probably heard this saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s playground.” It makes sense to me.
Paul even says, “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” Yikes! There are consequences to this kind of behavior. It seems that laziness, in general, is also at issue here.
The Bible is not silent in the least when it comes to laziness. There are all sorts of Proverbs and other examples, but I love what Colossians 3:23-24 says. “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” Doesn’t that help inspire us to work harder knowing we’re working for God and serving Christ in what we do?
Taking the easy road would be to sit around and do nothing – like slugs. We should want to set a good example for those who don’t know Christ and also inspire our fellow followers. When we act as Paul suggests, those who are servants of Christ will see our diligence and good intention. We should “never get tired of doing good.”
Look around at those closest to you. What do you see? Do you see hard-working, faithful people, or are they simply doing only the bare minimum to get by? Rather than staying clear of them, maybe it’s time to heed Paul’s words and “warn them as you would a brother or sister.”
What about you? Are you waiting on others or are you causing a ripple of good yourself by taking action? Who do you look up to for inspiration?
Take some time today to think through Paul’s closing words. You might also focus on the words found in James 1:22: “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” Take action today!
Let’s pray … Lord, you have impressed upon me your desire for me to not be idle in my work or in my faith. I know you have gifted me in a special way, and I want to be willing to walk into that identity and be the woman you have designed me to be. Help me not be idle while I wait for perfection. Help me to take action and bring others with me. Use me Lord to help your children find you again. In Jesus’ name. Amen.