Activities Do Not Necessarily Overcome Idleness
King David remained in Jerusalem when he was supposed to be out in battle. He was idle. And we know what happened next, right? He eventually committed adultery with Bathsheba and plotted the death of the woman’s husband, Uriah. Moreover, he took the woman to be his wife, covering up his sin and making everything look legal. “But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD” (2 Samuel 11:27; see 2 Samuel 11 for the whole story).
It all began when David stayed in Jerusalem. He made himself idle. Idleness, indeed, is the devil’s playground.
Many of us are clever in stuffing our schedules with activities, so that we would not give in to idleness and temptations. But once these activities ran out, we go back to being idle, get tempted, and eventually fall into sin. It dawned on me that activities do not necessarily overcome idleness.
Here’s what I realized: Activities could even draw us away from the true solution to this idleness problem.
I believe that to overcome the pleasures of sin, one must replace it with the superior pleasures found in Christ. (Moses chose “rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” and “considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt” [see Hebrews 11:24-26]). And we can only find this pleasures in Christ in God’s Word. And we can only find this pleasures in Christ in God’s Word. No wonder the psalmist asked, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” (Psalm 119:18). I believe that the ultimate wonder of God’s Word, the wonder of all wonders, is God, from whose right hand are “pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
And we see these wonders, including the ultimate Wonder who is the Giver of lasting pleasures, when we spend time reading and meditating on the Bible, prayerfully asking God to open our eyes to see the wondrous things of His Word. As we do this, we are equipping ourselves with the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), storing His Word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:3), and readying ourselves against temptation (see Matthew 4:1-11 or its parallels).
Immersing ourselves in the Scripture, then, is the activity that will overcome idleness, temptation, and ultimately sin.
Sure, activities could help, but only when done in a proper perspective. To overcome idleness and its consequences, there is only one essential activity needed to be done—spending time reading and meditating on the Bible. Other activities will only follow after this one.