Laziness and Idleness: They Suck

So I don’t like writing the words “suck” or “sucks.”

It has a lot of negative connotations, especially for the older crowd. And I get it. There’s a sexual meaning behind the work that leads to some people viewing it as a bad word in situations where it doesn’t involve a vacuum or a straw.

But when I say that laziness and idleness suck, I really mean it. I’m not just saying it casually.

A few minutes ago, as I was processing what I was going to write in this blog post, I did say it kind of casually. But as I thought about it more, I realized “suck” was the right word in more ways than one.

I’ve been looking for a job for a couple months now, and as such I’ve had a lot of time at home trying to fill up the hours. At first, it was fine because my wife was there and we had things to do to get our apartment set up or figure other things out as a newly-married couple. But now that she’s back working, I’ve been spending a lot more time at home by myself and it’s draining.

You’d think that having nothing to do would be the opposite of draining. Well, not entirely. I’ve been sitting around a lot, watching Netflix, reading and writing, sometimes doing something resembling exercise, some other stuff. I have been looking for a job, I promise, I’m not being completely useless. Sometimes I even see it as “rest” from the last year of working, wedding planning, getting married, all that.

But my days have been marked by idleness and laziness. And I don’t think I need to go too deep into how bad laziness. I’ll just share Proverbs 13:4 – “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”

Pretty straightforward. Laziness is basically ignoring what needs to be done and instead sitting around. Idleness is a little different. It means to do nothing that is beneficial. 

Lazy people can still do things. Lazy people can do meaningless things and still be lazy. But idle people do nothing. I’ve found myself being awful idle for much of these last few weeks.

And today, I realized how it sucks.

Idleness sucks because it’s wasting time.

This usage of the word “sucks” is more of the “this isn’t good” connotation.

Ephesians 5:15-16 say, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” The Bible warns us, encourages us to make the best use of our time. When we’re idle, we’re not utilizing our time the best way we could.

I’m not saying we have to be using all our spare time in serious prayer and Bible reading and meditation. Those things are at the very least definitely good and beneficial time fillers and at the very most absolutely crucial and essential to living life as a believer the right way.

But we need to think, well, I need to think about how to use my time so much better than I have been until I get a job. Until God provides employment for me, I need to be doing things that benefit my mind, heart, body and soul.

Idleness sucks focus and purpose from your life.

This is what idleness does to me. When I’m not putting my mind to good use, it leads to me losing focus on what is important. Temptation to sin becomes stronger, particularly sexual sin.

When the mind wanders, as it what often happens when you’re idle, it will attach to whatever seems most appealing at a base level. Unfortunately, men’s brains are more wired to think about sex. So we as men must be extremely careful to watch our minds, be careful where they wander. We just might end up in a place we don’t want to be.

Christians are called to be people of purpose and direction. And laziness sucks that very purpose and direction from us.

Rest is good. Idleness is not. Find the difference. Choose rest, then get back in the game. Choose purpose.

Because laziness and idleness suck.

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I Really Want a Ring: Why I’m Gonna Call It a Marriage Ring.

Someone made a joke to me the other day that I was the only adult or one of the few adults in the room without a ring on. It was funny because my wedding is only a few days away, but it also reminded me how desperately I want one.

Good gracious, I want a ring on my left hand. It’s something that I’ve wondered about, something I’ve wished for for a long time. Sometimes I’ve slipped little pieces of string around that finger. Sometimes I’ve wrapped a rubber band around it.

I’ve longed for it. And when I finally got to purchase it a few months ago, I wanted so bad to put it on my finger and just wear it around.

In a few days, I’ll get to wear it. It’s commonly called a “wedding ring,” but I’m insisting to my fiancée on calling it a “marriage ring.”

The ring symbolizes unity, togetherness, permanence. So many things. Men and women wear them when they get married. They get them at their weddings, so they’re referred to as wedding rings. But I want to continually refer to mine as a “marriage ring.”

My ring is not a reminder that I was in a wedding once. It’s a reminder that I’m married. It’s a reminder that there is a girl that I have committed myself to. It’s a reminder that I have sworn before God and man that I’m committed to loving my wife until death do us part.

When I go out in public and wear my ring, I’m saying to all the women out there that I’m taken and that I’m not looking for anything. I’m giving myself an accountability system, to remind myself to not look and to not lust. There’s only one woman for that.

I was trying to find something to compare it to, and eventually I thought of, well, circumcision. OK, before you get a little grossed out, let me explain my point.

It was a symbolic act of identifying yourself with God. All males among God’s people were circumcised eight days after their birth. It as a reminder of the covenant they had with God, that He would be with them and protect them, and that they would devote themselves to Him. (For more, check out Genesis 17.) The idea was that it was a physical sign of commitment.

Now that I’ll never be able to separate circumcision and my marriage ring…

When us men slip on our wedding, er, marriage rings in the morning, or after we shave after work, or when we drive away from our church league softball games, whenever we do it, we’re reminding ourselves of the woman we’ve committed ourselves to. We’re not reminding ourselves of a day; we’re reminding ourselves of a promise we made, a promise we made before God and man for the world to know. And it’s sealed in yellow gold/white gold/platinum/palladium/tungsten/titanium.

And there’s something incredibly symbolic in the way that I will get my ring. My wife (wow, so awesome to say it that way) will give it to me, put it on my finger. In the same way God gives His commitment to me and I respond with my commitment to Him, my wife promises to commit to me as I will commit to her.

As I reflect on what I’ve written, I think of Ephesians 5, and how Paul says the mystery of marriage “refers to Christ and the church” (v. 32). How there’s a double-commitment. How we commit to one another in marriage. How God pledges to do what’s best for us, and we pledge our lives to Him.

So yes, it’s a ring that reminds me of the marriage, of the commitment I’ve made to my wife and the commitment I’ve made to God. So I will call it a marriage ring.

Won’t you too?

What Christmastime Has Taught Me About Love and Marriage

One word that is associated very much with Christmas is “give.”

It’s all over the place. We give gifts to one another. We give time towards hanging out with family. God gives Jesus to us for the salvation of our sins.

It’s all indicative of sacrifice, showing giving up something for the better of someone else. We give our money to stores so we can give gifts to others. God gives up His Son so we can find eternal life one day.

One thing that being engaged during this season has taught me is that, within marriage, I need to act like it’s Christmas all year round.

Ephesians 5:25 says: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” That simple idea of a husband loving his wife like Christ loved the church, giving of Himself for her, is what marriage is supposed to look like in a nutshell. There’s a continual attitude of sacrifice and love, echoing the love that God showed for us in Christ on the cross.

And Christmas is a great time to reflect on those things. We can think about the gifts we give to our spouse/finacé(e)/significant other as a reflection of the gift God gives to us. We can think about going with them to the in-laws/future in-laws not as a chore, but as a joyous occasion to celebrate the season and to celebrate the bond of family.

By the way, I love my future in-laws. It’s not a chore for me at all. Just wanted to clear that up.

Christmas is a season of giving. So let’s see how we can echo the giving spirit of Christmas within our own romantic relationships not just in December, but year-round.

The Most Beautiful Marriage…But The Bride Cheats

One of the best metaphors in the Bible, I think, is the metaphor that Christ and the church are married like a husband and a wife, respectively.

It’s found in Ephesians 5:22-25 and 32.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Paul’s my homeboy. I want a t-shirt that says that. But that’s beyond the point. The Holy Spirit’s inspiration in this passage is incredible because we can take so much from this. And it’s something that I’ve been contemplating and meditating on a lot today. I’ll try to take this one at a time.

Christ is our husband, as the church. The imagery is incredible. You think about a perfect husband: he’s faithful, he’s loving, he’s serving, he’s sacrificial. That’s how I define a perfect husband because Christ is the perfect picture of a husband and Christ is all those things. The crazy thing is…

We are the most unfaithful of brides. This is put best in Derek Webb’s song “Wedding Dress,” which I posted about a week ago. He sings, “So could you love this bastard child? Though I don’t trust You to provide, with one hand in a pot of gold, and the other in your side. ‘Cause I am so easily satisfied by the call of lovers less wild, that I would take a little cash over Your very flesh and blood.” What a charge made against Christians, a charge that landed Webb in some hot water. But I stand behind it because it’s so true. The fact that we walk around as perpetual whores is convicting. We are constantly, through our sin in word, thought and deed, betraying the love that Christ has for us.

But He loves us anyways because HE IS JEALOUS. A couple lines in songs hit the nail on the head here. The popular worship song “How He Loves” starts, “He is jealous for me.” “Wedding Dress” has a line that goes: “Because money cannot buy a husband’s jealous eyes when you have knowingly deceived his wife.” That particular line has been hitting me upside the head today. God is SO JEALOUS for us that nothing Satan does can take away His love for us. Christ the ultimate jealous husband. And it’s beautiful.

It’s the most beautiful wedding. It’s the most beautiful wedding when a person becomes a Christian. There’s Jesus, the husband. He is loving and sacrificial. He gave His life so that us, the bride could have life in Him. And then there’s us, the bride, the selfish, self-seeking person that Christ loves unconditionally when we submit ourselves to Him. It’s such a beautiful picture because it’s forgiveness and love! Two of the greatest things in the history of the world!

Just some thoughts on what God’s been revealing to me. There’s so much more to this but blog posts need to be relatively short.

Dio ti protegga,

Zach