“(6) Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, (7) which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, (8) provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. (9) How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? (10) A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—(11) So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:6-11)
Wow. Another hard word for me today. I am actually sitting here rather shocked at, again, how relevant this to me right now. This is something else I am struggling with. This is something else I have asked people to pray for me about. This again has to do with the breaking of old habits of the forming of new habits. Since I am still fiddling with the depths of fear I was hoping to have a “consider the lilies” sort of day. Guess that isn’t going to happen. But today’s Our Daily Bread snippet is written by Cindy Hess Kasper. She, again, hits the nail right on the head with what I am struggling with. She also starts out with a very good suggestion to make this passage easier to read. Miss Kasper suggests changing the word ‘sluggard’ to the word ‘slacker’. Fitting, accurate, and something we can more easily relate to.
This proverb section is all about the follies of being lazy. There are several such passages in the book of Proverbs. When I read them the first thing I usually think of is physical laziness. Oh I need to exercise more. I should really get out in the yard this weekend if it is nice. If it isn’t raining tonight I will go for a walk after dinner. This is one way to look at this proverb, and others like it. They do not encourage laziness. They do encourage us to do more. To get up and do more. So this did fit into me wanting to form more healthy and consistent exercising habits in my life. But that is not what I asked others to pray for me about. And exercise was not the point Ms. Kasper made in her devotional either. My degree of uncomfortable shame would be much less if it were.
Ms. Kasper spoke of spiritual slackery. Yes, I just made that word up. Which is something that I do struggle with. I really need to tattoo the book of James more permanently on my heart. She talks about the various forms of slacking off spiritually: not witnessing, not reading the Bible, not praying, and not doing what God tells us to do. The one I struggle with is not doing what God tells me to do. The Holy Spirit has really leaned on my heart to get something done, several somethings in fact, but I have not devoted my whole self to those things as I should have. Oh I could give a long list of reasons and excuses as to why that is, but I really don’t want to offend the Holy Spirit more than I already have. The truth is there is no reason or excuse for my behaviors. He put these things on my heart, heavily on my heart, for a reason. They are important. That should have been enough.
Instead I have been like Moses, but God who am I to talk to these people? I have also been a lot like Jonah, and have simply ran the other direction. Thankfully God did not see fit to have me swallowed by a giant fish. He very well could have, I have been taking a ferry across the Sound at least twice a week. I need to pray in my heart to respond more like Noah and Mary. Mary had questions but was obedient. Noah was simply immediately obedient in faith. I need their hearts. I need to follow their examples. And I know my biggest problem with all of this has been myself. I have been trying to do this all on my own, so I get distracted and stuck and lost along the way. With me at the center I get a whole lot of nowhere.
I have only just recently begun to cultivate a relationship with the Holy Spirit. Since He is the one really leaning on my heart it would only make since to implore Him for His help, and to follow His lead. This, of course, means I have to give up my lead. I don’t have a problem with that, but I don’t have any real experience following the Holy Spirit, so I don’t know how this will go. I know He is patient with me, because He is still here with me after all of this. It has just been one of those “duh” sort of moments. Just like right now, despite the fact this was hard for me to read, it was a ‘duh’ sort of moment. The Holy Spirit is here with me now, showing up, answering prayer.
I want to form the habit of following His lead. I want to break the habit of being a sluggard/slacker. I can’t do this on my own. I can’t do this without His help. Jesus told me this flat out, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 ESV) Apart from God, from the Holy Spirit, from Jesus, I am as effective as a fish out of water. I flounder really well. So although today’s devotional was a hard one for me to read, I take it as the Holy Spirit telling me to stop flopping around so He can put me back in the water. That way I can swim where He wants me to. Which means He will put me in the right stream, going the right way; all I have to do is swim.
Thank you Holy Spirit for waking me up out of my slumber. Thank you Jesus for giving us Yourself, and our Comforter. I am undeserving of the both of You. Holy Spirit I know that with Your help I can stop being a slacker, do the things I am meant to do to help shine the light of Jesus into all the dark places of this world.