How to overcome idleness and laziness

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Pastor Enoch Adeboye
Memorise: “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them” (Prov 20:12)Read: Proverbs 26:13-16
“As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed” (Prov 26:14). Another trait you find in the sluggard is that most times, he refuses to make effort. It is all noise but no movement. All faith talks but no works. His problem is procrastination.  

He always has hope for a tomorrow that never comes. ‘When will you start to pray aggressive, effective prayers?” ‘Ah! Tomorrow’. The following day, he will say the body is weak so he will resume his prayers ‘Tomorrow’. The next day, he will say the weather appears too dull for his liking so he will say once again, ‘Tomorrow’. The ‘tomorrow’ of a sluggard is a myth – a mirage. It is borne in emptiness and exists only in the mouth realm. If you are fond of carrying over today’s assignments, responsibilities and duties to the next day or some future date, you are a sluggard.

Also, the efforts of a sluggard are nothing but noise. If all you do is make empty boasts or promises, you are a sluggard. If you cannot venture or take a step of faith to move on to greater heights, you are a sluggard. A sluggard is pegged to the same spot. He knows no progress. Some workers would go out for evangelism. After battling with one or two souls who refused to give their lives to Christ, they call it quits. Such workers are sluggards. If you cannot make an effort that will deliver you your expected positive result, you are a sluggard.

“How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?” (Prov 6:9). One thing sluggards love so well is sleep. One place you easily find them is their beds. While sleep is meant to revive the hard-working so that he can return renewed to work, to the sluggard, sleep is an end. He lives to sleep.

If you find it difficult to wake early or you easily fall asleep while working or praying, you are a sluggard. Until you define your sleeping hours and show your mastery over sleep, you cannot amount to anything. The believer who prays that God should provide him a job but wakes up at 12 noon, or cannot go out in search of opportunities, is a sluggard. He can continue like this for years without receiving help from God.

God does not assist the lazy but the weak who have exhausted their strength while making efforts. Until you attempt to move from where you are, you cannot move forward. Many people have remained ordinary because they love too much of sleep.

If you are always speaking faith or making positive confessions without backing it up with relevant works, you are out of Heaven’s agenda.

14 thoughts on “How to overcome idleness and laziness

    Esther njau said:
    October 7, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Please Pastor half of the description above fits me,ilack apersistent prayer life.
    I Always want to pray but along the way i lack a staying spirit please help.


    randar said:
    June 6, 2011 at 2:53 am

    alright i think we get the idea of what a sluggard is. How about some deliverance prayer instead of all the blame. I beleive laziness is a spirit that must be cast out in the name of JESUS


    Tetra said:
    July 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    HAve been wrestling with this for a few years now. I’ve always been one to work but as of late I just can’t seem to get anything done in my house. I go to work and I do my job but as for the house it seems like i have just given up. I am a single Mom of 4, and I feel horrible. I have been slacking majorly in my house work, asking for prayer in this arena. Thanks!


    Jennifer said:
    October 18, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Part of the problem with laziness is lack of dreams, goals and desires. When we have our hearts turned to do something, we get up and do it. when our hearts are without goals or desires, we become lazy. I am speaking of myself, too.
    We need the Lord to give us goals and desires that will help us to walk in the calling He has for us. I have been thrown into ministry, and have not enjoyed a lot of it. I won’t go into details, but, it is painful. I stay in my room now and don’t want to come out. I don’t want to answer my phone anymore, and I am falling away from God at break-neck speeds. I don’t want to pray, I don’t want to praise. I am losing a very long and intense battle. How do we get our hearts filled with those desires He needs us to have so that we walk in the will of God? I believe the only answer is to get on our knees and force praise Psalms out of our mouths. I am on the verge of walking away from God altogether, and I don’t want to do that. Let us seek Him for the answer to this. I know that a passive spirit is at work. Also a religious spirit. I hate those two. I hope this helps you.


    Jennifer said:
    October 18, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I found this article and thought it might be helpful.


    by Pastor E.M. Bounds

    “There are those who will mock me, and tell me to stick to my trade as a cobbler, and not trouble my mind with philosophy and theology. But the truth of God did so burn in my bones, that I took my pen in hand and began to set down what I had seen.” — JACOB BEHMEN.

    DESIRE is not merely a simple wish; it is a deep seated craving; an intense longing, for attainment. In the realm of spiritual affairs, it is an important adjunct to prayer. So important is it, that one might say, almost, that desire is an absolute essential of prayer. Desire precedes prayer, accompanies it, is followed by it. Desire goes before prayer, and by it, created and intensified. Prayer is the oral expression of desire. If prayer is asking God for something, then prayer must be expressed. Prayer comes out into the open. Desire is silent. Prayer is heard; desire, unheard. The deeper the desire, the stronger the prayer. Without desire, prayer is a meaningless mumble of words. Such perfunctory, formal praying, with no heart, no feeling, no real desire accompanying it, is to be shunned like a pestilence. Its exercise is a waste of precious time, and from it, no real blessing accrues.

    And yet even if it be discovered that desire is honestly absent, we should pray, anyway. We ought to pray. The “ought” comes in, in order that both desire and expression be cultivated. God’s Word commands it. Our judgment tells us we ought to pray — to pray whether we feel like it or not — and not to allow our feelings to determine our habits of prayer. In such circumstance, we ought to pray for the desire to pray; for such a desire is God-given and heaven-born. We should pray for desire; then, when desire has been given, we should pray according to its dictates. Lack of spiritual desire should grieve us, and lead us to lament its absence, to seek earnestly for its bestowal, so that our praying, henceforth, should be an expression of “the soul’s sincere desire.”

    A sense of need creates or should create, earnest desire. The stronger the sense of need, before God, the greater should be the desire, the more earnest the praying. The “poor in spirit” are eminently competent to pray.

    Hunger is an active sense of physical need. It prompts the request for bread. In like manner, the inward consciousness of spiritual need creates desire, and desire breaks forth in prayer. Desire is an inward longing for something of which we are not possessed, of which we stand in need — something which God has promised, and which may be secured by an earnest supplication of His throne of grace.

    Spiritual desire, carried to a higher degree, is the evidence of the new birth. It is born in the renewed soul:

    “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”

    The absence of this holy desire in the heart is presumptive proof, either of a decline in spiritual ecstasy, or, that the new birth has never taken place.

    “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

    These heaven-given appetites are the proof of a renewed heart, the evidence of a stirring spiritual life. Physical appetites are the attributes of a living body, not of a corpse, and spiritual desires belong to a soul made alive to God. And as the renewed soul hungers and thirsts after righteousness, these holy inward desires break out into earnest, supplicating prayer.

    In prayer, we are shut up to the Name, merit and intercessory virtue of Jesus Christ, our great High Priest. Probing down, below the accompanying conditions and forces in prayer, we come to its vital basis, which is seated in the human heart. It is not simply our need; it is the heart’s yearning for what we need, and for which we feel impelled to pray. Desire is the will in action; a strong, conscious longing, excited in the inner nature, for some great good. Desire exalts the object of its longing, and fixes the mind on it. It has choice, and fixedness, and flame in it, and prayer, based thereon, is explicit and specific. It knows its need, feels and sees the thing that will meet it, and hastens to acquire it.

    Holy desire is much helped by devout contemplation. Meditation on our spiritual need, and on God’s readiness and ability to correct it, aids desire to grow. Serious thought engaged in before praying, increases desire, makes it more insistent, and tends to save us from the menace of private prayer — wandering thought. We fail much more in desire, than in its outward expression. We retain the form, while the inner life fades and almost dies.

    One might well ask, whether the feebleness of our desires for God, the Holy Spirit, and for all the fulness of Christ, is not the cause of our so little praying, and of our languishing in the exercise of prayer? Do we really feel these inward pantings of desire after heavenly treasures? Do the inbred groanings of desire stir our souls to mighty wrestlings? Alas for us! The fire burns altogether too low. The flaming heat of soul has been tempered down to a tepid lukewarmness. This, it should be remembered, was the central cause of the sad and desperate condition of the Laodicean Christians, of whom the awful condemnation is written that they were “rich, and increased in goods and had need of nothing,” and knew not that they “were wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind.”

    Again: we might well inquire — have we that desire which presses us to close communion with God, which is filled with unutterable burnings, and holds us there through the agony of an intense and soul-stirred supplication? Our hearts need much to be worked over, not only to get the evil out of them, but to get the good into them. And the foundation and inspiration to the incoming good, is strong, propelling desire. This holy and fervid flame in the soul awakens the interest of heaven, attracts the attention of God, and places at the disposal of those who exercise it, the exhaustless riches of Divine grace.

    The dampening of the flame of holy desire, is destructive of the vital and aggressive forces in church life. God requires to be represented by a fiery Church, or He is not in any proper sense, represented at all. God, Himself, is all on fire, and His Church, if it is to be like Him, must also be at white heat. The great and eternal interests of heaven-born, God-given religion are the only things about which His Church can afford to be on fire. Yet holy zeal need not to be fussy in order to be consuming. Our Lord was the incarnate antithesis of nervous excitability, the absolute opposite of intolerant or clamorous declamation, yet the zeal of God’s house consumed Him; and the world is still feeling the glow of His fierce, consuming flame and responding to it, with an ever-increasing readiness and an ever-enlarging response.

    A lack of ardour in prayer, is the sure sign of a lack of depth and of intensity of desire; and the absence of intense desire is a sure sign of God’s absence from the heart! To abate fervour is to retire from God. He can, and does, tolerate many things in the way of infirmity and error in His children. He can, and will pardon sin when the penitent prays, but two things are intolerable to Him — insincerity and lukewarmness. Lack of heart and lack of heat are two things He loathes, and to the Laodiceans He said, in terms of unmistakable severity and condemnation:

    “I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.”

    From The Necessity of Prayer by Pastor E.M. Bounds, Chapter 4


    Ben H said:
    November 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Nice artticle.
    Now help me.


    Happy said:
    January 16, 2012 at 12:41 pm havin great dificulty readin GOD,S word,prayin n not a happy person,am also havin tons of personality,emotional n psycological problem n am very much weak.most times wen i make breathrough in my spiritual life,i feel strenten bt most time i fal n its like i cant reach God.pls help.i await ur reply.


    Pat said:
    October 8, 2012 at 5:45 am

    My problem with lazy people is that most of the time they are selfish, thinking just about themselves and nobody else. They also cause others to sin before God because their actions build resentment in the hearts of others and cause anger which then becomes a sin when carried over to the next day. It is worse when the lazy person is a Christian because the Bible says ‘he who does not work should not eat’! My concern is that there isn’t much that another person can do to assist a lazy person, they just need to motivate themselves enough to stand up and do something.


    Lilly said:
    January 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    This article defined a sluggard very well, but provided little to no help in overcoming being a sluggard.


    Francina said:
    January 26, 2013 at 12:24 am

    I have become a sluggard! And a FB addict!!!

    Have been dating this friend of mine. I loved him as a friend so much that i started caring too much for him at the cost of my peace. I was scared about his affiliations that it destroyed my peace.

    I stopped caring about myself. I thought by being there all the time on FB, I am preventing him from falling into lairs of satan.

    He never needed that. I was stupid to fall for a guy to whom i didn’t matter much. HE IS GOOD. But doesn’t love the way he claimed to.

    We parted. He is fine, i guess. But i have lost a lot. Apart from losing my peace, i have also wasted my time, doing nothing but being lazy, ignoring my studies, health, family & friends.

    Glad it happened sooner. Can’t imagine how much more painful it would have been if it was later. Am struggling to move on.

    My apartment is in a total mess. So much pending in studies.

    Actually becoming lazy denotes-not knowing priorities in life; being irresponsible & selfish; losing focus.
    God is helping! 🙂


    Robert said:
    April 25, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    I know I possess this besetting sin; I know God condemns it; I know what the Bible says about it. I also know that at every site I have gone to seeking ways to defeat it, I have found only mans condemnation of it. May I ask how this helps?


    Erin said:
    August 27, 2013 at 8:25 am

    I seriously cannot believe that whoever wrote this calls himself a pastor…Should the title really be, “How to OVERCOME laziness?” Or maybe more appropriate is how to recognize laziness? Anyone can define and recognize laziness…a true minister of the gospel would offer help and freedom to the captive. Wow…


    Bee said:
    November 12, 2013 at 7:35 am

    I don’t have all the answers but I have been going through similar situation. Where I have had such a lazy slothful spirit on me that has been there for years! I think it runs in the family as my dad is like me-very smart, educated, full of potential but yet gives up on life OFTEN and sleeps when he cannot handle life. I do the SAME thing- when trouble hits or life feels too hard- I go to sleep. I have lost some of my passion and zeal for God- I used to be so on fire for God,now picking up the Bible feels like climbing Mount Everest.

    However I am making a comeback and here is what I have been doing-

    The first way to overcome this is to recognise and admit that we have it, which we are all here doing.

    Second we have to use the scriptures which are all powerful sharper than a double edged sword to confess that we shall no longer be spiritual sluggard, but today is our day to ARISE. Life and death is in the power of the tongue so it is time to speak that you will LIVE out your destiny.

    Third and I think this is maybe the most important is this- praying for His desires to be in us. Being lazy is a sign of having nothing to do. If we had something that we were doing that our hearts burned with passion for please believe me, we would find a way out of our bed each and every day probably at the CRACK of dawn! When we have nothing that we are working towards we are merely surviving and not really living. Who wants to get out of bed to be mundane and boring again, just like yesterday? No thank you I would rather sleep through! Finding out purpose and passion is for ,is the ENEMY of spiritual sluggardness.

    SO men and women of GOD I urge you today ask the Lord in a simple ” Lord show me who I am, why I am here, and what do I have to wake up for?” prayer and He WILL answer. Some of us sluggards, are missionaries, evangelists and preachers with our potential and purpose not yet realised. Some of us have some greatness on the inside of us. But we do not see it. People of GOD – He who called us is able to pull us out and WAKE US UP!

    DO not GIVE UP- tap into what is on the inside- We have EVERYTHING to live for


    Jane said:
    August 15, 2015 at 4:34 am

    Yes. I have fallen in to this situation, but their more to it as well. My Father had just died in March 2015 and last year I had experienced 3 deaths in the family that didn’t help either. Unfortunately, a day before my end of my employment contract my Father Died and so came all the problems with death and it’s financial strain in March, although relieved with my Mothers government support, what was left of my savings and extra taken out of my superannuation. Nevertheless, April my Mothers cat stuck his teeth in my hand and couldn’t move it and after a month, in June and July our rental home had to be repaired which took almost 2 months which left me and mother to move all the furniture around the place preventing me from looking for work. However, by August it seems I had developed this life crisis of fear, anxiety, laziness, sloth, tiredness and hopelessness I can’t escape, due to the Hell I went through from my previous job and staff attitudes and the continual temporary work I have always ended up with throughout my life, which I know will not sustain me in the future. Worst of all is a coming realisation of possibly suffering from Dyslexia, as I appear to be very slow minded in learning things that gets me in trouble at work all the time and having a lack of focus, that doesn’t help either, along with being a loner and a person always being ignored throughout life since childhood. I just don’t want to feel fear anymore, or suffer anxiety, especially laziness, sloth or hopelessness. I just want it to stop right now.


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