Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, February sixteenth. What's your attitude toward your job? Today's podcast reminds us of our responsibility to work diligently, as if we're working directly for Jesus Himself. How many of you, do you go to work energetic, enthusiastic about what you're going to accomplish, or do you dread it? Do you try to do as little as you can do, or as much as you possibly can do? Are you enthusiastic about what you do, or are you just sort of sloughing around about it all? Do other people see you as energetic? Do they see you as a diligent, reliable, faithful person?
Or do they wonder what are you up to? Do you live up on your job, where you work? Do you live up and live out the life of Christ that is within you? Well, the Apostle Paul has something very, very strong to say about our lifestyle, our work ethic, and all the rest. In Ephesians, the second chapter, a passage that most of you probably know by heart. Notice what he says in the second chapter and the eighth, ninth, and the tenth verses concerning being saved and how we ought to live. Here's what he says in verse eight.
It's by grace that you've been saved by the grace of God. And he says, through faith, that's not of yourselves, God's grace and goodness and love and mercy. And he says, not anything that you and I have done, but according to His grace and love and mercy He saved us, not in our works. And then he comes down to verse ten.
Here's what he says. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that you and I should walk in them. So, let's think about this. A slothful person is not doing good works for God.
A slothful person is just wasting time, wasting their ability, skills, and talents. It is the will of God. It is the purpose of God. It's the plan of God for every single one of His children to do what? He says He prepared beforehand what He wants us to do. And so, for me to rebel against that and say, I don't want to do that, I'm not doing God's will.
I know that, yeah, but you know, you Christians and so forth. That is pure rebellion. It is the will of God that His followers be actively involved and do a good job at whatever our vocation may be, whatever God calls us to do. And so, it's an act of rebellion not to do our best at what we do.
And he says, created in Christ Jesus for good works. So, the question is, is slothfulness a part of my good working? No, if I'm slothful, I'm not going to do the good work. Slothful, I'm not going to give my best.
Slothful, I'm going to have a bad testimony and a bad witness. And oftentimes we forget that the strongest testimony you and I have, the strongest testimony sometime, not all the time. The strongest testimony is our quiet conduct in front of someone else, not by what we say, but by the way we carry ourselves.
The way we look, listen, the way we dress, the way we handle ourselves, the way our conversations, what that's about. In other words, the way we go about our work, doing your best. That sometime is the most powerful testimony. It's people seeing you do a step above, going beyond what's expected of you.
Why? Because we are followers of Jesus. We have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us.
Therefore, you and I will be able to do above and beyond oftentimes what is expected of us. And so, what's God's attitude? When a person refuses to do what God's called them to do or refuses to do the way God wants them to do it, it's an act of rebellion.
And all of us would agree that rebellion is sin. So, somebody says, Well, I'm probably slothful, but I don't think I'm a sinner. Read the Bible. A second thing that he sees is this, and this is God's attitude as we've said before, is that you're wasting the most precious gift that He's given you. And not only that, it's a gift that nobody else could give you.
And it's a gift that you can't do anything with but live it out. Turn to First Peter chapter four for a moment and listen to what he says. Chapter four of First Peter and the tenth verse. He says, As each one, listen to this, as each one has received a special gift, that is, it's a gift that fits you, fits your personality, special gift. Employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. He says, Whatever your gifts are, employ it, put it to work, doing what? Serving one another. We can all do something for somebody.
And he says, listen, he says, You've received a special gift. There's some people, for example, who are gifted at decorating. There's some people, for example, who are gifted at arranging. There are people who are gifted at doing all kind of things. Everything imaginable, God's gift. Listen, that's what makes the world so wonderful. That's what makes the family and the church and the gifts, the different gifts that God gives.
Why? So, we can all enjoy many things in life as a result of somebody else's skills and gifts and talents and abilities. So, when somebody says, Well, you know, I'm just not gifted.
Have you tried? Have you asked God to show you what you can do? Because you and I are responsible. Because He says to each of us, He has given a special gift. Then He says, Employ it, put it to work, doing what? Helping one another.
That's the way God intends for His fellowship, the church, and the world to operate, helping one another. Whatever that may be. And there's some people who are very skilled at helping each other. There's some people, the only thing they can do is make suggestions, but they're good suggestions.
Some people are best at what? Encouraging. They have an encouraging word.
And so, ask yourself this question. Who did you encourage last? Who did you encourage this morning? Who did you encourage this morning?
Or it may be that before you left home this morning, you were discouraging to somebody or whatever. What I want you to see is this. You're a follower of Jesus.
You represent Him. And slothfulness and the poor use of times and talents and skills and abilities and money and all the rest, poor use of that is displeasing to God. And so, what I want you to see is this. Look, if you will, back to Philippians chapter two for a moment. And look in this beginning of this third verse what he says, And all these are such clear, clear commands of the Lord.
Look in the second chapter and beginning with verse three. He, watch this. Don't do anything from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind.
Do not merely look out for your own personal interest, but also for the interest of others. A slothful person. You know who their three best friends are? Me, myself, and I.
That's their three best friends. Because the only thing they're looking out for, they're looking out for themselves. A person who's a true follower of Jesus is going to be looking for ways to be an encouragement, a help to someone else. And so, if I'm not, that is a slothful person's wrapped up in themselves. And that means they're going to be selfish and oftentimes greedy and many other things, which is absolutely a sin against God.
There are many things that fall under the category as a result of being slothful to someone. And then I want you to look at this passage especially. Look at Colossians chapter three. Here is a very specific violation of the Word of God. Look at Colossians chapter three for a moment. Listen to what he says now.
This would transform a lot of people's work habits and there'd be no room for slothfulness. Look at this. Colossians three, verse twenty-three. And then verse twenty-three for a moment. And then verse twenty-three for a moment.
And then verse twenty-three for a moment. Look at Colossians verse twenty-three. What ever you do, which means everything, do your work heartedly, enthusiastically, diligently, persistently, whatever, as for the Lord rather than for men. Knowing that from the Lord you'll receive the reward of the inheritance. You look at your boss, I'm going to work this work today for Jesus.
It doesn't make any difference who your boss is. He says, listen to this, whatever you do, do your work heartily, excitedly. Now, you're committed as if you were doing it for Jesus.
Because the truth, watch this, we are. When we do a good job and as he says heartily, you got your whole heart in it, you're going to do your best, what happens? You're a testimony for Jesus. You're saying something.
You're being something. You're doing something that pleases the Lord God. And I guarantee you, the whole economy of the United States would change if on any given Monday morning, every Christian, I'm not talking about non-Christians, every Christian went into their job and that day, every single one of us worked like we were working for Jesus, He's the boss.
Well, the unbelieving world being such a shock, then something would happen to them. Now, you see, there's no way to get around that verse. I am to work wherever I'm to work. Whatever I'm to do, I'm to do it for Him.
Now, that means anything. Now, I happen to have a green drink I drink every morning. And the way I get it down is that I always hold it up and I do this every morning. Lord Jesus, I'm doing this for You, because I can't stand it.
And simple reason, I know it's keep me healthy, keep me strong, keep me vibrant, and keep me doing I hope and trust a long time, whatever I'm doing. And so, it doesn't make any difference what you do. You're, listen, you're dealing with your little child. You do that like Jesus would. Or you're a teenager and you're mad as a haunted, but how would Jesus do it? And you and your husband or wife, you're not getting along, but how's He going to treat her?
How's He going to treat Him? In other words, He says, listen, He didn't say now some things, He said, whatever you do, do your work heartedly. As for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that the Lord is going to, He's going to be the one who rewards you for it.
Now, I don't know how it gets any clearer than that. And you see, when I come over here to Thessalonians and it says, don't act in an undisciplined manner. Well, part of my discipline is doing what He said. And He said, I'm to do my work as if I'm doing it unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Because somebody out there who is my boss, whoever that may be, I'm to work and to be faithful, loyal, devoted, no matter what it may be.
And so, when some people come to that, it's a hard time. Look, if you will, in Ephesians chapter four for a moment, because the truth is, we don't want to misrepresent the Lord Jesus Christ. Here's what He says, chapter four, Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, employ you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you've been called. We've been called to be believers in and followers of Jesus Christ.
So, what kind of, what kind of life is that? Here's what He said, I'm to walk with humility, gentleness, patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent, working at it, to preserve the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. Listen, when we're slothful, we misrepresent the Christian life. We misrepresent the Christian life. And so, is God pleased at that?
No, He's not. And so, what we have to ask is, how would God have me to live? And I think it's very simple, do your best, be your best, look your best. Whatever you do, wherever you go, whatever's going on, God is, He says, God will reward that. Now, let's say that that's not what you've been doing. Then what are the consequences of living a slothful life? Well, number one, problems. You're going to have problems with relationships. You're going to have problems on your job more than likely. Because if you don't do your best, it's going to show up sooner or later. Now, there are some good things and some bad things about some laws we have. And to protect the lazy and the slothful and the people who don't care and are not conscientious, that's not a good law. The Bible says that God's going to hold them responsible.
Now, I want you to think about this. There are going to be problems. Secondly, there's going to be some pressure.
You don't do a good job on your job more than likely you're going to have a financial problem because you're going to get fired or get into motion. So, there's going to be some pressure. There's more than likely going to be some pain because that pain can show up in your relationship, that pain can show up in the lack of an occupation or work to do.
So, there are all kinds of things going to create pain. And then, of course, there's going to be poverty, could be poverty, that's material and spiritual. When a person is living in a slothful condition and they don't seem to care, let me tell you why that's true. Think about the paradox of this.
Think about this. A Spirit-filled, slothful Christian. What I want you to see is God's made it crystal clear. You are so valuable to the kingdom of God.
Your varied life, your presence, your testimony, the way you carry yourself, listen, your conversation, your conduct, your character, all of these are awesome tools in the hand of Jesus Christ to reach other people for the gospel. Someone says, Okay, I got you, so I'm slothful. So now, what do I do? Step number one, you confess to God that you have sinned against Him by being slothful, by being lazy, by being careless, by being indifferent, by ignoring His Word. Confess it.
Lord, I've been slothful and I'll acknowledge it's a sin. Secondly, you repent of it. You see, confessing it's not it.
Just telling God you are, that's not going to change anything. Repentance means this. It says, Having come to this conclusion, I'm going to turn around and head in the other direction. Repentance means a change of mind, a change of heart. It's going to be a change of conduct, a change of character, a change of conversation.
Things are going to change. So, you're going to confess that it's true, you're going to repent of it, then you're going to make a choice. You're going to make a decision.
You can say, Well, you know, I've asked God to forgive me for that and mm-mm-mm, that's on the part of it. You have to make a choice. I choose beginning this day to turn away from slothful attitudes, turn away from work that's not acceptable in the eyes of God, turn away from the idea of doing as little as I can, turn away from the act of getting that late and leaving early, turn away from checking in when I, or getting someone else to check in for me when I was not there. I'm turning away from all dishonesty. I recognize that if I pledge to this person that I'm going to work eight hours a day, I'm going to work eight hours a day. I pledge, Lord, that I'm going to do my very best.
You help me to do better, whatever it may be. It's a choice you have to make. And then listen, you have to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to keep it before you every day. It isn't a choice you make today and forget it tomorrow.
And many people make decisions today all excited, and tomorrow it's as if it never happened. If I make a true, determined effort, a decision, it's a decision I've come to because I've been convicted by the Holy Spirit, and I recognize the freshness. I am a follower of Jesus.
They're going to be watching how I live. I owe Him that. I owe Jesus a godly life.
Look at the cross and look at the price He paid for you. You and I owe Him a godly life. We owe Him a good representation.
As His ambassador, I owe Him a reliable, faithful, devoted ambassadorship. We're followers of Jesus. And once mothers and fathers can get a hold of that, and once the citizens of our country get a hold of that, those who are believers, we will impact unbelievers. We will impact the economy.
We will impact each other, and we will impact our homes. It makes all the difference in the world when we do what? When we simply follow what He says. And so, having made that choice, we diligently go about the work that we have to do.
It's a matter of choice. And I challenge you to be wise enough to follow Him and see what awesome work He'll do in your life. Thank you for listening to Part 2 of The Landmine of Slothfulness. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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