Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Go to the Ant (Proverbs 6:6-11)

"Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise" (Prov. 6:6).

“What proof is it of the degradation of the fall, that ‘man, created in the image of God,’ and made wiser than the creation, should be sent, as here (Prov. 6:6–11), to this insignificant school for instruction!” Bridges wrote. “The ant, having no guide to direct her work, no overseer to inspect her, or ruler to call her to account, yet gathers with diligent foresight the summer and harvest store for her winter need.”

While this warning to the sluggard can be applied to every area of life, Bridges warns against spiritual sloth in particular. He reminds us that the Christian life is a difficult one, a way of grace, but a way of struggle and strife as we fight against sin. Too many Christians drift through life without “striving to enter in at the strait gate” (Luke 13:24), without taking heaven by storm (Matt. 11:12). They take salvation for granted, hoping they will reap that which they have not sown. To strive toward heaven does not mean you are earning your salvation any more than the apostle’s exhortation to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12) is a call to legalism. The Christian life is active and synergistic. It takes discipline and diligence—concepts foreign to many in today’s hedonistic and lazy culture.

This admonishment should be especially heeded by youth. The ant prepares for the winter. Likewise, prepare for heaven in the days of your strength, then your conscience will be more at ease as your mind and body begins to fail. Many young people say they will reserve religion for their later years. Instead of living for Christ when they are young, they prefer to drink in the pleasures of the world, saving Christianity for old age. But Christ commands us to bring Him our first fruits. Who would dishonor God by giving Him the withered harvest of our later years and save the fresh abundance of youth for ourselves? Do not fall for such folly. Be as the ant, prepare for the winter, store up the harvest of grace in your youth, be diligent in your heavenly pursuits, guard against spiritual sloth and slumber. Call upon the power of God to raise you from spiritual poverty and to lighten your eyes, lest you sleep your way to death (Ps. 13:3).

Are you a spiritually lazy? Are you diligent in your study of Scripture, in service to others, in prayer to God, in attendance at public worship, in watchfulness against temptation, in putting off sin and putting on godly fruit? If not, begin today by setting aside time for prayer, Bible study, and service to others.