Being raised in a family of pastors means I had to live by strict rules. My father believed in hard
work and always encouraged me to give my best in everything I did. Such teachings have
shaped me to become a successful pastor. I find it hard to understand people who have made
laziness their lifestyle. The Bible teaches about laziness and uses terms like complacency,
idleness, and slothfulness to describe being lazy. Since laziness does not involve hurting anyone
or committing a crime, some wonder,” is laziness a sin?”
In this article, I aim to discuss what the Bible says about laziness. Join me as we examine why
Christians believe laziness is a sin. You will also discover how Christians can break free from
laziness. Continue reading to find out biblical stories about laziness and Bible verses about
What does the Bible teach about laziness?
The Bible does not praise laziness in any way but condemns it heavily. The book of proverbs 6:6 reads, “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise.” This is not the only verse that condemns laziness in the Bible. The book of Proverbs is full of many verses full of wisdom and warns one against being lazy.
Proverbs 21:25 says, “The desires of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.” In the same book, chapter 26, verses 13 and 14 say, “A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed.”
The results of being lazy are not good, as the book of Proverbs continues to tell us that laziness leads one to become a servant. Proverbs 12:24 says, “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.”
The Bible does not just discourage laziness but encourages hard work. The book of Acts 20:34-35 notes, “You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work, we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said; ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Additionally, the scripture notes that whatever we do as Christians, we must give our all to it. That means there is no room for laziness in the scripture or in the life of a Christian. We must be determined to accomplish everything we start working on and give whatever it is our all. Colossians 3:223-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Why do Christians believe that laziness is a sin?
Christians view laziness as a sin because it is condemned heavily in the scripture and goes against God’s moral standards. Jesus Christ, through his teachings, condemned laziness and encouraged Christians to work hard.
Mathew 25:26-27, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sworn and gather where I have not scattered seed. Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers so that when I returned, I would have received it back with interest.” This parable teaches us to work hard with whatever we have, and more shall be given to us.
The Bible equates being lazy to idleness, and being idle makes you susceptible to temptation. The book of Romans 12:11 says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” That should be in everything we do, do it with all our hearts as if we are doing it for the Lord.
Therefore, Christians believe laziness is a sin because, like other sins, it separates man from God. God ordained man to work as he even created us in his image and likeness. That means we should embody his character or work and avoid being idle.
How can Christians break free from the sin of laziness?
Breaking free from being lazy requires one to be disciplined. The book of Titus 1:8 says, “Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” It is easy to adopt a lazy lifestyle but breaking from it will require effort. The book of Titus tells us to be self-controlled and disciplined. Being disciplined simply means doing what we have to do despite what we feel. So, for Christians to break free from the sin of laziness, they must commit themselves to work.
Another way a Christian can break from the sin of laziness is by believing that God will provide you with the strength to overcome laziness. Relying on God makes getting this done easily. Philippians 4:11-13 says, “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ, which strengthened me.” Therefore, if you rely on Christ’s strength to overcome laziness, you will surely overcome it. But if you rely on yourself, you might fall back into the same loop of laziness as it is like the flesh to feel worn out.
Another way to overcome laziness as a Christian is by setting good habits and sticking to them. The book of Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” If you adopt the mentality that whatever you do, you are doing for God, it will be hard for you to fall back into the loop of laziness.
Lastly, once you stop being lazy, believe that you have been redeeming from it and move forward as a hard worker. The book of Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “You were taught, concerning your former way of life, to put off your old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Therefore, you will have to renew your mind and believe that the old you that was lazy is gone. Romans 12:2 reads, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind.”
Biblical stories about laziness
Aside from the parable of the Talent mentioned above, there were other stories about laziness in scripture. One story about laziness is mentioned in the gospel of Mathew 20:6, “And about the eleventh hour, Jesus went and found others standing. And he said to them, why do you stand here idle all day?”
Another instance of laziness in the Bible is in Exodus 14:49, which reads, “Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.”
Bible verses about how to overcome laziness?
If you want to overcome laziness, there are a few verses in the Bible praising hard work that you can use.
Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatever your hands finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”
Colossians 3:23-24, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive reward of the inheritance; for you to serve the Lord Christ.”
Luke 6:10, “He who is faithful in what is least is also faithful in much, and he who is unjust in what is least is also unjust in what is much.”
Hebrews 6:11-12 reads, “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patient inherit the promises.”
Jeremiah 48:10 says, “Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord lazily. And cursed is he who keeps back his word from blood.”
1st Timothy 5:8 encourages us to quit laziness by saying, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Galatians 6:9-10 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers.”
2nd Thessalonians 3:10-12, “For even when we with you, we would give you this command: if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear among you, walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now, such persons, we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and earn their own living.”
1st Thessalonians 4:11-12 notes, “And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be depend on no one.”
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.