Once when my boys were teenagers and especially busy, my oldest son said, “I want to be lazy tomorrow and watch TV all day.” This began a conversation about the importance of rest and why a habit of laziness needs avoided.

We all need regular rest, even more so after particularly busy times, but we all also need to avoid establishing the habits that lead to a lazy mindset. In order to live productive lives, understanding how to overcome and prevent laziness and idleness is important.

Lazy Habits

Pockets of laziness and idleness exist in everyone’s life. Through our choices, they either become dangerous with far-reaching impact or opportunities for growth. The path to a lazy and idle lifestyle almost always includes the following bad habits:

  1. All talk with no action (Acts 17:21).
  2. No progress (Proverbs 26:14).
  3. Making excuses (Proverbs 22:13).
  4. Failing to plan ahead (Proverbs 6:6-9).
  5. Caving to culture (Proverbs 26:15).
  6. Instant gratification (Proverbs 26:15).
  7. Lack of purpose (Ecclesiastes 4:5-6).
  8. Being enabled (1 Timothy 5:13).

While we must first identify any pockets of these bad habits in our own lives, we are not exempt from identifying them in the lives of others. In fact, 1 Thessalonians 5:14 tells us to warn the lazy of the dangers of that lifestyle. Before we can do that, we must understand why rooting it out is essential as is actively overcoming it in our own lives.

Overcoming Laziness

The most important reason to fight against a lazy and idle mindset involves obedience. God expects fruitfulness (Ephesians 2:10), and laziness and idleness mindsets oppose fruitfulness. Got also gives us new natures (2 Corinthians 5:17), so we’re no longer bound by the desires of the flesh.

Knowing God expects fruitfulness and that He also equips us for it, we must step into obedience of His will and overcome any lazy and idle ways in our lives. Overcoming for some means a complete lifestyle and mindset change. Perhaps you have pockets of laziness and idleness in your thinking, and you want to grow out of them. Regardless of the status of laziness and idleness in your life, the approach to overcoming is the same

The following mindsets can renew your mind and create a lifestyle of productivity and purpose.

  1. Stay enthusiastic (Romans 12:11). Fill time with enjoyable activities and encouraging people and stay connected to your purpose. Enthusiasm will ebb and flow, and these things help prevent losing focus.
  2. Love others (Hebrews 6:11-12). Truly loving others keeps life exciting and prevents dullness and indifference. Loving people gets focus off self and on love. Loving others amplifies purpose.
  3. Develop an awareness of time (Proverbs 20:4). Those with lazy and idle mindsets lack awareness of time’s preciousness. Overcoming idleness and laziness requires valuing time.
  4. Enjoy sleep’s benefits instead of sleep itself (Proverbs 20:13; 19:15). Enjoy sleep for it results – energy, alertness, restoration. Consider that a love of sleep is simply a way to avoid responsibility and awareness.
  5. Be productive (Matthew 25:26-30). Just like laziness and idleness are learned habits, so too is productivity. And remember, productivity is really well-disguised idleness when it lacks purpose.

Everyone needs regular rest. At the same time, we must balance our thinking with an awareness of the habits that produce a lazy lifestyle and stay connected to our purpose for productive living.