My name is Joleen and I am a sinner. (response: “My name is ______ and I am a sinner.)
Is that statement more of a reality than when we first started this series? We are looking at the 7 Deadly Sins, not so we can identify them in the lives of others, but so we can examine our lives and see where we, who have been justified (saved, forgiven of our sins), are still in need and will always be in need of God’s grace. It is my hope that this series will produce in us a greater humility and dependence upon God and the grace that is offered to us through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ. And that we will know the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, given so that we can overcome the grip of sin in our lives.
We will look at the basic definition and then expand our understanding of sloth today. We will look at the question, "Are we doing the right things?"
Webster: disinclination to action or labor
In other words, inactivity. Doesn’t get a job. Make no contribution to society. Take but never give back. Couch potato.
The animal: slow, hangs upside down all it’s life, eats upside down, gives birth upside down. It hangs upside down from the tree and it’s babies hang upside down from the mamma. Sometimes a baby will fall and may not die from the fall, but it dies because the sloth is too slothful to go down and get it and lets it lay there and die.
Sloth is not: knowing how to take care of ourselves; we are not a machine (workaholic), enjoy and develop relationships with family and friends. It is not knowing how to observe the Sabbath. There needs to balance.
Now let’s expand our defintion.
Lack of care for others
Lack of love – we are too lazy to work at relationships. A relationship is dying, a marriage is on the edge – our society thinks it’s easier to can the relationship and find a new one; get a divorce and get married again.
Doesn’t take responsibility. Dead-beat dads.
Children grow up undisciplined because parents are too lazy to do the hard work.
Family members caring for one another.
A sign that we are slothful is being "overly protective of resources of time and energy."
Moral sloth we complain about social and moral evil—racism, welfare, abortion, prison reform, violence, drug abuse—but we don’t do anything.
We get bombarded by so much. And we know we can’t do everything, but that is not excuse to do nothing. Again, "Are we doing the right things?" And there is a danger when we hear so much to become apathetic – we just stop feeling anything.
Complacency can touch many areas of our lives: woes of society, family situations, relationships, work, education, bettering of ourselves.
Questions to consider: Where do I see complacency in my life? Where have I stopped growing? Where have I stopped caring?
Complacency can also set into our spiritual life.
Webster 1.b. spiritual apathy and inactivity <the deadly sin of sloth>
“We want Christ, but only moderately; we love Jesus, but only moderately; we will follow Jesus, but only so far. To claim to be a Christian without wanting Christ more than anything else, is a contradiction.” –Donald J. Shelby, from his sermon, “Wanting It Enough”
John 15.1-5 "Abide in me"
Jesus is the "true vine" and we are the branches. We must stay connected to our life source.
But, spiritual sloth says that we are too lazy to spend time with God. Too lazy to pursue God. To press in. We are cut off the very source of life and the refreshment and renewal our parched souls desire.
Have you ever been really thirsty? You haven’t had anything to drink for a few hours and when you have the opportunity and the choice of water or coffee, you go for the coffee? You know it’s not going to satisfy your thirst, but it smells so good. I’ve done that. And I imagine we all have done that with our spiritual lives. We turn on the tv instead of popping in a good Christian music CD. We jump into housework or some other busy activity instead of opening our Bible. We have this desire to phone a particular person and see how they’re doing, but we get sidetracked on the way to the phone.
Sloth is the “hatred of all spiritual things which entail effort.” -Henry Fairlie
Lack of spiritual direction
Finally an answer to the question, "Are we doing the right things?" We can be busy doing the wrong things. As individuals and as the Church.
“We know we can’t do everything, so God what do you want us to do? God I give you this day.”
A wise person once said, A wise person once said, you have enough time to do what God has for you to do. (Yes there seasons when we go through overly busy times, but we should not live our whole lives in this manner.)
Put first things first; put God first and he will direct. Spending time with God in prayer and scripture, so that we can find direction. So that he can guide us. So that we can listen to his voice.
A plan to grow in grace through Wesley’s Means of Grace: the Works of Piety (Spiritual Disciplines) and the Works of Mercy (ministry or service).
With each listed, determine how often (daily, weekly, monthly) you will practice / How you will practice (when, where, with who, etc.)
Works of Piety
Searching the Scriptures
Works of Mercy
Doing Good (Visiting the Sick and Prisoners, Feeding and Clothing People, Earning, Saving, Giving All One Can, Opposition to Slavery)