The Dangers of Laziness & Idleness

The post Defining Idleness and Laziness provided in-depth definitions of idleness and laziness and notes their almost twin-like definitions. The graphics accompanying this series sum up those definitions.

Today’s post delves into what makes an idle and lazy mindset so dangerous. Be warned. This is not a feel-good message. Scripture clearly shows the danger of an idle and lazy mindset, an understanding essential to overcoming and preventing their grip.

A lazy and idle mindset…lazy

  1. Lacks purpose. (Proverbs 12:27) An idle person completes activity without purpose, kind of like a hunter shooting an animal and leaving the carcass to rot. Is this what happens to my brain when I watch television?
  2. Brings destruction. (Proverbs 18:9) An idle person pulls others down. In my more idle days, I wondered why people avoided me. Perhaps they wanted to avoid feeling destroyed by my negativity.
  3. Shows ignorance. (Proverbs 26:16) I’m ashamed to admit the times when I just knew my way was the right way only come to find out later that it was the lazy and foolish way. Yet in my ignorance, I just didn’t see that lazy habits controlled me.
  4. Results in poverty. (Proverbs 10:4) While this can apply to monetary wealth, it also applies to relational, emotional, spiritual and physical health too. Laziness in any area brings desperate hunger for real connection.
  5. Results in lack. (Proverbs 24:33-34) When I taught college classes years ago, several students every semester were surprised at their poor grades. Their laziness in studying and doing homework showed up in lack on the report card at the end of the semester.
  6. Makes one a slave. (Proverbs 12:24) Someone with a lazy and idle mindset has fewer options. Choices regarding work become limited when laziness exists, and opportunity for advancement sees significant limits within an idle mindset.
  7. Breeds dissatisfaction. (Proverbs 13:4) Junior high boys tend to have at least periods of idle and lazy mindsets. As a result, satisfying them at times becomes impossible. Most, thankfully, grow out of this; although, that seems to be the case less and less these days.
  8. Allows selfishness to determine actions. (Proverbs 21:25-26) During my lazy times (past and present), I am motivated by selfishness. I’m usually avoiding something when I’m lazy, and my selfish desires to satisfy my flesh chooses those actions.
  9. Leads to neglect. (Proverbs 24:30-31) Outward signs of laziness always show themselves, and they often do so through a lack of concern and an inattention to responsibilities.
  10. Breeds gossip and meddling. (1 Timothy 5:13; 2 Thessalonians 3:11) Gossips meddle and meddlers gossip, and they usually do so to avoid focusing on issues such as laziness and idleness present in their own lives.

I do not believe I have a lazy and idle lifestyle (not anymore anyway), but I do have pockets of idleness in my life that show themselves in one or more of the above ways. I believe that most people, if they are honest, find this to be true of themselves.

A Note About Laziness in Leadershipidle

One of the dangers of a lazy and idle mindset involves the impact on others. This holds especially true for anyone in a leadership position, from presidents to parents. Isaiah 56:9-12 provides tremendous insight on the negative influence of lazy and idle leaders. It says they…

  1. Fail to warn followers of coming danger.
  2. Give a false sense of security.
  3. Dream but fail to follow up with action.
  4. Are greedy and impossible to satisfy.
  5. Frustrate and discourage their followers.

Laziness and idleness produce nothing positive for anyone, but they are especially detrimental in the life of a leader. Even if you don’t consider yourself a leader, know that any laziness and idleness in your life does impact someone other than yourself. We can’t escape this ripple effect.

The next posts in this series Overcoming Laziness and Idleness gives direction for avoiding these dangers, something with which everyone struggles.

DISCUSSION: What other dangers do laziness and idleness pose?

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27 Replies to “The Dangers of Laziness & Idleness”

  1. I love this post, Kari. I copied down several of the verses. They will help me in my battle against laziness! Thanks for all the good wisdom in this post! I especially liked your application in number 4. Thankfully, I'm not lazy in my spiritual life – which is why I have hope for gaining victory over the laziness in my work life!

  2. So glad you are finding it helpful, Barb. It was difficult to write some of this stuff because it gets at some past painful habits as well as current habits that need pruned. Of all the areas we need to not be lazy, our spiritual life is the most important. Good for you for working so diligently in this area. God will honor your faithfulness!

  3. I think if you are lazy in one area then it easily bleeds over to other areas as well. It multiplies if you let it go unchecked. We do have to rest at times to recharge. I think that being lazy saps our strength even though we are not doing anything. It is like we shut down and we can not do anything worthwhile if we let ourselves get lost in lazy.

    1. So true. It's like yeast that spreads. I'm amazed at how tired I am when I'm lazy. Our bodies actually need movement in order to be healthy, so rest isn't necessarily not moving either. I find running & biking to be extremely restful. We definitely cannot let ourselves "get lost in lazy." Great way to put it!

  4. Great follow up! Spot on! Laziness is like a cancer that starts one place and then spreads affecting other vital areas of your body.

  5. Awesome post, Kari. Sound doctrinal teaching. It doesn't matter who you are, this is a sound reminder of the dangers of laziness which I think we all can relate to.

    You are Kari; Scar-e-smart… Not watching TV and avoiding laziness shows here…

    1. Thanks, Floyd. I can definitely relate to struggling with laziness. The TV thing is difficult at times… My brain wants to be lazy… Not worth it though. 🙂

  6. Hi Kari!

    First, I have to echo what Floyd said – good, sound doctrinal teaching.

    I found my way over here from Bill's bar and grille 🙂 Adding you to my feed reader and blogroll.

  7. It's a terrible example for others, too. It's easily passed on to subsequent generations. I'm not well physically right now which makes me feel lazy. There's a difference though. I relate to what you said about pockets of laziness. I have that!

    1. So sorry to hear you are not feeling well right now. I have had extended periods of having to rest because of illness, and it does present an interesting perspective on laziness. You do need to rest, but you don't want to feel lazy. I just had to keep reminding myself that my body needed the rest in order to recover and be strong again, so that gave my rest purpose. Hope you feel better soon!

      1. Thank you, Kari. After a very long time of avoiding the doctor, I have an appointment. That makes me feel better already! I do realize that I have to take care of myself so I can be busy later.

        1. My prayer is that you quickly find a solution to help you feel better. Mine was quite a long process, but I am so thankful I took the time I needed to rest. Don't think I would have the strength I do today had I not done that. Also taught me a lot about simplifying my life. Hard lesson to learn.

  8. As always Kari you give us much to think about, show us Biblical principles that apply and encourage us in our spiritual journey. Thanks! Sometmes I feel "lazy" as I am not as active or involved with some things as I once was. But for right now I know that God has me where I am for a reason and I give thanks and am trying to learn that being still and taking care of me is not lazy but necessary.

    1. I think God wants us to be still regularly. He knows we need it, and he knows it’s necessary for growth. We need to take a lesson from the farmer who follows the wisdom he’s given for each season.

  9. Oh boy, now you're hitting close to home. Proverbs has so much wisdom about the value of hard work. I think I'd better get back to work now 😉

  10. Proverbs is an especially great place to find verses on laziness. Proverbs doesn't pull any punches. One thing I'm reminded of is that God provides for us often by giving us the ability to work. That theme runs through my mind as I am working. Will I ever be at a point where I'm praying to God for provision – and he tells me that he did provide for me back when I squandered his provision by being lazy and not working? It's something to think about.

    1. For sure! And His provision and our stewardship of that is definitely something to always keep in mind. We can't ever think we won't ever go there because I think our human nature heads toward laziness if left unchecked.

  11. Great points and passages! I really like Proverbs 10:4 because it shows the outcome for both laziness and hard work. Success and achievement requires hard work, effort, and time. Wonderful post!

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