Being Possessed by a Spirit of Laziness
Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times (Romans 12:11-12 GNB).
Important notice: We have received some emails from brethren in America who expressed some concerns of chaos about the upcoming U.S elections. We thus boldly express our faith and convictions without fear. Apparently, there are some 'prophetic' messages going around saying that there will be no election and neither will there be a normal Christmas for some U.S citizens. In a spirit of love, we know this has some brethren fearful, but the Lord commands Christians to pray for their Country (2 Chronicles 7:14). America is very important in God's plan and He did share some things with us which we will share as He permits. On January 10, 2016 the Lord did hint to Charis that there will still be some normality in the world "in the next years". We were not told how many years as the Lord did not want to give exact timing, but we know who the next U.S president would be. What we know is that the election results would be a surprise to many, many people. Therefore, this brief message is just serving as an assurance and an encouragement to the many brethren who are fearful by some things that were 'prophesied'.
Back to this week's article, what we are sharing here today are the fruits of the Lord’s work in us. We therefore have permission from the Lord to share our testimonies and experiences to highlight the importance of certain scriptural admonitions. By using our experiences the motive is not to ‘expose’ but to use these rebukes to encourage right living. Also, by this we would like to show where we were in terms of our weaknesses and what we became as a result of the Lord’s corrections. While we acknowledge humbly that we are no close to perfection, we endeavour daily to uphold the Lord’s corrections and we hold on dearly to His teachings to someday be counted worthy. Let our failures and shortcomings serve as correction for you (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10).
I tell you the truth in Christ, through these articles, the Lord has been ministering personally in the lives of many people and this we know through the feedback from people. As a reminder, in the beginning of the Lord’s visits to us, He said, “I will always love all people equally”. Therefore, you are loved and these messages from the Lord are for your edification and correction. This ministry does not seek to promote itself, but to elevate Christ Jesus. Also, I beseech you in the Almighty Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, “My son (daughter) do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you. Because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son or daughter” (Hebrews 12:5).
Laziness Through the Comfortable Lifestyle
I was reminded by the Lord these past few weeks how important keeping busy is as opposed to being idle. Although, this message was previously shared and well read by many people, we have reworked this message with added experiences. Last week we encouraged about the preaching of the gospel and it would be only appropriate to discourage the brethren from being lazy especially where your salvation and that of others are concerned. Meanwhile, we have testimonies of people in our ministry whom the Lord rebuked and how they were subsequently delivered from the spirit of laziness to that of being diligent. Like all addictions, laziness is a spirit of habit which manifest itself through excuses (Proverbs 22:13; Matthew 8:21-22).
In the early 1990's, I befriended a young convert in Christ who was full of zeal for the Lord and his zeal led him to start a one day weekly open-air meetings. Being a witness to his work, people were coming in their numbers to his meetings and he enjoyed the support of many of his friends who were also born-again. From my observation, his friends were encouraged by his enthusiasm and spirited zeal. However, as his friends started deserting him, the brother grew discouraged and this led him to ultimately abandon his work. We witnessed how the brother started using excuses thinking his friends would take over the work he started, but nobody came forward. It was when I realised that if a person has been called into ministry work, his or her work is ordained by God and that person has accordingly been anointed (Exodus 3:6-22; Leviticus 8:30; Numbers 27:18-23). Therefore, from these Scriptures, unless ordered by the Lord, no ministry work is transferable. We hope to expand on this teaching in future articles, our message today is to discourage laziness.
Now, if a person is in the habit of passing on his or her responsibility to others, while doing nothing himself, you are looking at a sluggard. Furthermore, sluggards are characterised by their excessive sleeping habits, and their love for the television or gadgets (such as cell phones). Also, while we don’t have a problem with people’s wealth especially if they worked hard and honestly, riches have claimed their fair share of sluggards especially those who are benefiting from their hard working parents. No doubt, everybody favours the comfortable life. What is apparent is that through the television commercials, we are encouraged to pursue a lifestyle of absolute comfort. If we can afford the lifestyle we desire, good but we need to guard against worldliness and laziness. Additionally, the deceit of riches has a catch of greed, comfort and self-dependence (Matthew 13:22; 1 Timothy 6:10; 1 John 2:16). Do I encourage poverty? No! Instead, I encourage you to live a sharing life and to use your wealth to advance the Gospel and give to the poor, and so accumulate heavenly treasures (Matthew 6:19-21; Matthew 19:21). The narrow road is strewn with pain, difficulties and challenges (Matthew 7:14; Acts 14:22). But when we have worldly wealth, we buy our way out of problems and so create our own dependence. God has allowed hardships to be part of the race so that His Faithfulness and our dependence on Him may be revealed (Proverbs 3:5-6; Job 1-2). We have briefly written (in the Given to Give and to Receive article) about giving as a command by God and the way how He ordained the nature of things (Isaiah 43:20-21; Job 37:14-18). While riches are not our main subject, this has been used to contribute to laziness and a comfortable life of self-dependence. As “God’s elect and strangers in the world” (1 Peter 1:1) we are called to live the humble life and not the magnified life of worldly riches (Philippians 2:2- 11). This command we received from the Lord as a family, “Let Me be your riches. I Am all you really need”.
Testimonies of Deliverance from the Spirit of Laziness
The Lord has revealed to us that many Christians are going to Hell because of laziness and this is so because laziness produces negligence and we know negligence bears consequences (Luke 9:62; Matthew 25:14-30). The call to serve the Lord is no haphazard call, after accepting responsibility to follow the Lord we should allow no room for negligence, we might lose out (Numbers 20:9-12). This spirit is meant to hinder us from doing the will of God faithfully and diligently. It is noteworthy that laziness is an attitude and many people do not know that this is demonic. Every sin that works on the flesh to control, influence and guide our behaviour towards evil is demonic (Romans 6:12-13; Psalm 106:39). One translation renders it this way, “You belong to the power you choose to obey…” (Romans 6:16), or “you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16 NIV). Therefore, based on this Scripture and the preceding verses, demonic possession operates through sinful habits. Another Scripture is even bold on this saying: “In which [sins] you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:2 NIV). Thus, laziness is a sin and goes contrary to the will of God (Genesis 1:28).
Kindy bear with me as I share a few testimonies. Over the years the Lord blessed us, as a ministry, with humble and teachable people. These brothers and sisters were added to our ministry by the Lord, and as is common among people, all came with different personalities, different set of problems, attitudes and habits. All were saved or born-again because that was the criteria for being part of our prayer group (for more details please see our Obedience Through Persecution/Trials article). The Lord started ministering personally into the people’s lives by giving them messages of correction. Let me hasten to add this: no personal prophetic word is of benefit if it does not carry a word of caution and correction (2 Chronicles 18:1-34).
Saved to Bear Fruit
Furthermore, some of these brethren discovered for themselves that being saved was just not good enough. The Kingdom principle is that we are to bear fruit, and only then do we become useful (John 15: 1-2). Let me share about one sister, with her permission. She leads a reasonably comfortable life, with nothing lacking materially. She used to be a worker in her previous church and attended church every Sunday. We were greatly encouraged by her zeal. The Lord started dealing with her through personal messages He provided through Charis. I bless the Lord that this precious sister has developed a child-like attitude in her humility and fear of the Lord. Making our work easy through her humble and receptive spirit, she was easy to counsel after the messages from the Lord. Like many people out there, she was lazy and unfaithful to the Lord in terms of her personal commitment. Let us put it this way: people are unfaithful because of laziness, and through laziness they take shortcuts and start cheating on their relationship with God. As humans, we will always contend with the spirit of disobedience and self-will. The Lord started breaking her down in love and in submission to His will. Gradually, He addressed the spirit of laziness in her and her unfaithfulness leading to disobedience. Through these rebukes, she responded obediently and started getting positive activity in her life. As the Lord ministered into her life, He gave her various tasks to do while commanding her to pray five times daily. The Lord occupied her with His things, and as she moved closer to God, she experienced deliverance not only from laziness but from cheating on God. Consequently, because of her obedience and easy nature, the Lord has dressed this sister with words of great comfort and praise for her service and obedience to Him. The Lord has also made some personal promises of great hope to her. We have noticed that, when people become puffed up their attitude is one of resisting every correction and when they do, humility has dried up in them. They end up using words to shield their true identity. A true friend and brother in Christ will always exude humility and this sister has shown marks of a true servant of Christ.
Without being ashamed, a few years ago, the Lord also rebuked me for being lazy. After the rebuke, I asked the Lord to bless me with something to do so that I don't slumber under the heavy spirit of laziness. As a result, I was filled with an immense desire to witness daily. From experience, our flesh can easily re-unite with its old habits if it has nothing keeping it busy (Matthew 12:43-45). We observed the same spirit developing in our children, so my wife and I created chores and tasks to keep our children occupied and this greatly pleased the Lord. As a testimony and a teaching from the Lord, which we are not ashamed of, sitting in front of television is completely out of our lifestyle and our children has better things to do. Additionally, another area of laziness is procrastination, consider the parable of the two sons (Matthew 21:28). Let me encourage you, if you set your heart in doing something, do not ‘waive’ it – just go at it! Procrastination is laziness!
In conclusion, while laziness applies to life in general, many of us are using excuses to avoid doing the will of God. The Lord rebuked one sister for her lazy attitude towards our corporate prayers saying, “My daughter Gwen shows no respect for her prayers”. Please allow me to emphasise this point strongly, the calling of being an intercessory prayer is a ministry calling (Acts 6:4) the early Christians knew the importance of prayer. For your interest, and there is no shame in sharing this, as a ministry and under the Lord's watchful eyes many brethren walked away from our ministry. Exactly why? Here it is right here, some people do not want to be corrected, others just want to follow without doing nothing. Well, the Lord designed our ministry in such a way that we all work and bear fruit through witnessing, worshipping and intercessory prayers. We do not have idle brethren in our ministry, but workers who ministers the gospel to others and to God through prayer and heartfelt worship. I want to use this example not to slander but to demonstrate how laziness and the present 'follower must listen Church system' changed people's attitude towards real service (Ephesians 4:12). We recently welcomed somebody into our services, from what we observed, he is in the habit of just sitting as a Church member without ministering to God through prayer and thanksgiving services. In his understanding, God is just happy to see you in Church and that is the general perception in our community that some people just attend Church to enjoy the benefit of being buried by a Church. They have no personal salvation on their minds, nor a conviction to work on their salvation through active participation (James 1:22; Philippians 2:12). When the Lord started this ministry, and being from the 'follower must listen Church system' we were in the habit of just being non-functional Christians, lazy. However, by the Power of the Lord's words, this changed and He awakened us to being service driven Christians. Wouldn't you like to be an active Christian? If so, get involved in ministry even on your own, pray and God has room for you.
I am going to speak a bit tough here, some Christians has all the time for other things but for the things of God, they have excuses. We heard some people saying, 'I am or was busy and God will understand', they often choose other things above God. The Lord is most definitely not please with such an attitude, and I am speaking from experience here; Some lazy and God-cheating Christians were strongly rebuked by the Lord for undermining God and their Christian duties. That is why to God-cheaters, their things takes precedence over God's and because they regard the things of God as unimportant they disregard Him. My brothers and sisters, I speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), I have personally experienced the soul-soaking wrath of the Lord. I can remember, when I was due for a serious message from the Lord, I felt that Heaven was closed for me because God was against my actions. I was literally shaken to the core, and I had no peace in my soul, nor could I even pray properly and in peace, O' what an overwhelming feeling of rejection when the Lord turns His face against a sinner! In kindness to me, when the Lord observed the fear I had for Him, He abandoned the rebuke and said, He loved me imagine the relief. I would like to warn you dear brethren that the Lord will judge the double-minded Christians who neglects their salvation and undermines His authority in their lives. Quit laziness NOW! Therefore, some symptoms of defeat in lazy Christians is that they are always feeling miserable and request prayers from others. As a further warning, we have witnessed that some parents are too lazy to share the Word of God with their children. They neglect their own family’s salvation and choose the false refuge and comfort of television, surfing the Internet, sleep or some other entertainment.
Finally, there are many people who have been deceived and they became followers of man because they fail to read the Scriptures for themselves. Laziness should be no excuse to miss the Kingdom of Heaven! You should not seek the Lord through others, but you should seek the Lord for yourself (Jeremiah 29:13). We can never outsmart God if we do not cling to Him through wholehearted obedience. Our lives will show it, not through the things we have, but how we bear fruit through our service to God and man. The truly victorious Christian life is this: to have faith in God through acts of obedience to His word, driven by a spirit of humility and by the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Beloved in Christ, what is keeping you busy? What excuses do you offer to compromise your relationship with God and tamper with your salvation? Which master are you choosing to obey? What reward are you working towards? (Galatians 6:7; Romans 6:23).
We would like to extend an invitation to anyone who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ yet, or of you are not born again, to pray our suggested prayer on this link
by faith and follow the Lord (Matthew 4:19). You may also contact us for any questions or comments about this article or our ministry.
Blessed Grace and Eternal Peace to you in Jesus name,