Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Proverbs 22:13 Lazy or fearful?

The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!” (Proverbs 22:13)

If ever there was a random verse, this one seems to be it! It certainly caught my eye this morning! What in the world? How is this meaningful to my life? Well, knowing that there is every single word in this book was God-breathed, I decided this one needed some thinking.

A sluggard is someone who is truly lazy - barely able to get his butt off the couch. He is a passive person, content to let the rest of the world go by outside, while he will just watch from the window, safely inside his home. This is someone who is never gung ho about anything. When asked if he wants to join in an activity, he’s likely to shrug his shoulders and say, “Whatever...” In this instance, the sluggard excuses his slothful attitude by claiming there is grave danger in going out. In fact, there is a lion in the streets! Did the lion escape from a traveling circus or the zoo?

The reality is that in our world, there is indeed a lion in the streets. In fact, Peter warns us that Satan is that lion.

Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Is this sluggard merely being prudent? I don’t think so. While Satan, our adversary, poses real danger, we know that our God is greater.

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Our God is the Sovereign King of the Universe. He is the God of angel armies. If He is for us, who can be against us? Paul asks this question in Romans 8:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, 
         “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

               we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

No, because this verse in Proverbs tells us that the man in question is a sluggard, we know that he is full of excuses - maybe a little fear mixed in with laziness. Maybe he is someone who has a fear of failure, so would rather play it safe by never venturing out.

So what does that have to do with me? Whenever I am presented with an opportunity to serve God or whenever He is asking me to step out of my comfort zone, maybe to share the gospel directly with someone, or to tackle a project that seems too hard for me, do I waiver because of fear of failure or laziness? Do I look for convenient excuses or roadblocks? What am I afraid of? Hard work, or failure, or maybe both?

Fall is usually the time when churches and other organizations gear up for the year ahead. Opportunities to serve or to step out are abundant. Maybe your church needs more adults to serve in children’s ministries. Maybe a friend has invited you to join the new Bible study starting up, and you are looking for excuses to say, “No.” Is it fear that is stopping you? Remember the One who is on your side! Is it laziness? Remember the One who is on your side. He is not only able to strengthen you for the task, He is willing. Step out and watch the lion run away!  

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