Running with the Sloths
A devotional by Glynis Becker
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” –Romans 12:10-12 (NIV)
Every few years a new animal shows up in popular culture and has its moment in the sun.
Have you noticed this? You’ll be walking through a store and for a time, pigs are everywhere—coffee mugs, bookmarks, inspirational prints. Then it cycles to koalas or giraffes or cows. I think llamas are a hit right now. And a few years ago you couldn’t turn a corner without seeing a sloth.
We have this universal love for furry creatures with big eyes, and sloths have the added charm of tree limb perches and super slow movements. They became the adorable poster child for procrastinators and couch potatoes everywhere.
But when we use the word “sloth” with its meaning of “disinclination to labor; spiritual apathy or inactivity” (Merriam-Webster) it gets a lot less funny. In classical Christian teaching, “sloth” is listed among the “seven deadly sins” (Proverbs 6:16-19) alongside greed, lust, gluttony, wrath, envy, and pride. I will admit that while I am guilty of each of things over the course of my life (and possibly just the course of today!) my pet sin—the one I come back to over and over and over again—is sloth. I easily become disengaged from God’s Kingdom work when it becomes hard or when I feel underappreciated or for any number of reasons. I am too often content in my spiritual laziness.
We all will probably have seasons where we will be radically on fire for Jesus Christ and feel consumed with the things of God. It might have been when we were first introduced to the amazing grace and salvation of Jesus or later on in our spiritual walk with God when we’ve had a particularly wonderful experience with Him at a retreat or conference, or maybe just a sweet time of prayer. But eventually, because we are creatures of this world, that fire and zeal can give way to a familiarity with the God’s Word (The Holy Bible) so when you read the Bible you aren’t stirred to action. Perhaps a season of hardship leaves you feeling farther from God than ever.
The worst part might come when you simply don’t care that you no longer care. The enemy would love for you to sit in that pit and stay there because you will no longer threaten him. Seriously, we can’t have that, can we?
Do not lose heart! If you are here, with me, fighting through a season of laziness and apathy, let’s band together and remember a few very important things:
We can do this (whatever God is asking us to do) but we can’t do it alone, so it’s a good thing that God’s Holy Spirit is within us. He gives us a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7) Laziness is nowhere to be seen in that verse!
God longs to give us what we ask for in His name. He will give you a renewed love and fire to go and make disciples for Him if you simply ask Him!
We are in a spiritual war, whether we like it or not. Lazy soldiers don’t win battles. We need to be willing to stand up, defend ourselves and our fellow soldiers, and occasionally go on the offensive. That doesn’t sound slothful to me!
I’d like to leave you with this charge from Ephesians 5:14 (NASB):
For this reason, it says,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you."
Let’s be awake today and get to work. There’s no time to lose.
Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, please give us all a rekindled love for You, Your Son, The Holy Spirit, and the world you have put us in. Help us show Your love and never be too lazy to go when and where You call us. Forgive us for all the times we waited, procrastinated, or ignored when You asked us to do something. We love You. In Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.
Glynis Becker writes devotions and inspirational fiction, hoping someday to have a published novel on her resume.
She has co-written several screenplays, including the film Sinking Sand, available on DVD and digital streaming.
Glynis, whose childhood was spent all over the country as an Air Force brat, has called South Dakota home for many years, along with her husband and two college-age children.
When she’s not writing or reading, she is watching more television than she should and crocheting.
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