Irresponsibility vs. Diligence

Are you often late for appointments no matter how hard you try to change? Do you leave work, school or other projects to the last minute? Are you always stressed out because you can’t find things?

When it comes right down to it, we do not like hard work. Areas that we recognize are in our best interest, such as with exercise, diet, and study, are avoided even though we know they will help us.

For most of us, the irresponsibility is merely occasional, cropping up only when a particularly hard chore stands before us. Others, though, are chronically irresponsible, rarely doing more than enough to get by at work, frequently arriving late for appointments, or so disorderly that their houses are a perpetual mess.

Filled with lethargy and indifference, they go through life earning a reputation for being undependable. They have grown used to accomplishing little.

Does any of this describe you? Are you troubled in your conscience about your indolence, negligence, tardiness, apathy, or passivity? Are you aware that you only fulfill your responsibilities when it is clear that there is something in it for you? Our Lord would not have you so live.

If you have a sin habit of irresponsibility, it is not too late to seek the Lord’s help for change. You can become a responsible and hardworking member of His kingdom if you will face up to your problem and seek to heal this area of your life according to His principles.

The book of Proverbs is about how to live skillfully, from a godly perspective. Given the frequency with which laziness is condemned in this book of the Bible, it is easy to see that sloth can have no place in a well-lived life. What can we learn about the causes and costs of laziness from the book of Proverbs?

  1. In the worst cases, laziness can reach ridiculous proportions. 
 (See Proverbs 12:27, 19:24).
  2. Laziness is on a par with other serious sins. 
(See Proverbs 18:9).
  3. Lazy people sleep too much. 

(See Proverbs 26:14).
  4. The lazy make excuses for their laziness. (See Proverbs 26:13).
  5. The lazy delude themselves. (See Proverbs 26:13–16).
  6. The lazy grow unhappy because they have wants but do not have the willingness to work to fulfill those wants. 
(See Proverbs 13:4, 21:25).
  7. The lazy are unpopular, especially among those whom they let down. 
(See Proverbs 10:26)
  8. Laziness leads to poverty and to a menial position in society. 
(See Proverbs 10:4, 12:24, 20:4).
  9. The tendency of the lazy to oversleep is a key reason why they grow poor. (See Proverbs 6:6–1, 19:15, 23:21).
  10. Laziness actually makes life harder, not easier. (See Proverbs 15:19).

It seems, from all this, that the man or woman of God is expected to be diligent in all areas of life. We should be working hard at doing our jobs or studies, taking care of home chores, raising our children, serving in our churches and communities, and most importantly, cultivating our relationship with God through spiritual disciplines. One who is chronically lazy is a person with a serious sin habit.

Of course, while saying this, we do not mean to imply that taking it easy is always wrong. In fact, rest has its proper place in a well-lived life.

Our work matters to God. It does not merely improve our economic position; it also has spiritual significance.

But you may say, “You don’t know how dreary my job is. You don’t know the way my work around the house is overlooked by my spouse. You don’t know the difficult people I have to work with on that committee I volunteered for.”

True, we do not. But no one ever said work would always be easy or enjoyable, just that it is the right thing to do. The Bible, however, describes a change of perspective that can affect our attitude about our work.

We are to do our work as if we were working for the Lord rather than for people. That enables us to be consistent, diligent, reliable—and even happy—in our work. (See Ephesians 6:6–7).

If you have an ongoing problem with some type of irresponsibility, what we are not asking of you is a New Year’s type of resolution to do better. We are not asking you to force yourself to do better on the job, at home, or wherever you tend to be irresponsible.

What we are asking of you is that you begin praying for help and committing yourself, in the grace of God, to fulfill the responsibilities He has laid on your heart. Seek the Lord, repent of your sin, and rely on the Spirit’s empowering. Only in this way will you be able to acquire the virtue of diligence—and keep it.

If a responsibility is lying before you and you are hesitating to do anything about it, what will it take for you to get out of your seat? Get help now. Begin the healing process by embodying the virtue of diligence in every responsibility the Lord gives you. It is a privilege to serve Him with all that lies within us.

5 Steps to Overcome Irresponsibility

Discover how to overcome irresponsibility in its various forms through time-tested insights that really work!

We have outlined a five-step process in the free ebook, IRRESPONSIBILITY: The Undisciplined Life, to help you work through the repair of that area of your life.

[Download IRRESPONSIBILITY: The Undisciplined Life for free now!]

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