Monday, July 31, 2023

A Society of Ease (Proverbs 31:13–22; Phil. 2:12–18)

"She … willingly works with her hands" (Prov. 31:13).

The proliferation of technology in our society has created an increased love of relaxation. Leisure has replaced hard work as the goal of life. We work so we can rest, rather than resting so we can work. It is helpful for all of us to realize how the culture and its attitude toward work has affected us. Work has become the enemy, and true happiness is attained only when you get work out of the way and live in ease and relaxation.

Such an attitude toward work can have devastating consequences not only in the practical sphere of life but in the spiritual. Just as we become idle and negligent in our domestic and vocational responsibilities, we can become slack in our spiritual responsibilities—our duties to serve others, to pray, to worship, to study the Scripture, to strive with our flesh, and to overcome sin. It is not uncommon for some Christians to avoid all reference to work in relation to spiritual matters. Many claim that such attitudes toward work in religion stem from a fear of legalism—we want to maintain that all is of grace, that we cannot earn our salvation through works. But, considering the days in which we live, our reasons for avoiding work in spiritual matters are not always so noble. Often, it’s due more to laziness and idleness than doctrinal integrity. The Scriptures exhort us to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” “to run the race set before you,” “to take heaven by storm.” The Scriptures do not shy away from the need to be diligent and industrious in our Christianity, and neither should we.

The Proverbs 31 woman is an illuminating portrait of diligence and industry. She is hard at work in every sphere of life. She earns money for her family, she clothes her children, she provides food, “her arms are strong for her tasks.” She wakes before dawn and goes to sleep well after dark. She does not fear when winter comes because she has made the necessary preparations. Can you say the same about your life in practical as well as spiritual matters? If not, take a serious look at how your thinking has been affected by the culture’s obsession with leisure. Meditate on the Word of God and renew your mind by its transforming power, that you might become a diligent and industrious servant in the kingdom of God.

Read 2 Peter 1. How does Peter describe the Christian life? What makes the Christian life difficult? Have you grown complacent in your struggle against sin and in your earnestness to obey the Lord in everything? If so, confess your complacency to God today and ask Him to renew your zeal and vigor to serve Him.