The "Acceptable" Temptation

Satan is the sly fox of subterfuge. Paul reminds us of this. He says, "For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." Is it any wonder that he tricks us even in the matter of temptation?

Temptation? Why that is . . .

  • The galloping greedy gimmies.
  • The luscious lusty "second look".
  • The carefully coddled little black book of bitterness.
  • The poisonous pull of power.
  • The tantalizing tug of adultery.

Yes, these are all temptations. But Spurgeon shines the light on a seemingly less sinister but frighteningly more damaging seduction: Idleness.

Idleness is the "acceptable" temptation. It speaks ill of no one, offends no one, and harms no one. Consequently, we look the other way.

But idleness really is the breeding ground of temptation. Idle giving leads to greed. Idle loving leads to lust. Idle forgiveness leads to bitterness. Idle service leads to power-hungry selfishness. Idle passion leads to adultery. Or, as God points out in the sixth chapter of Proverbs, idle living leads to poverty.

How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
    When will you arise from your sleep?

A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,

and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.

What is the antidote to idleness? It is engaging in purposeful activity. I can almost hear Solomon chide, "Get out of bed you sleepy head. There is work to be done!"

"Holy industry" is the Christian's vocation. We see this throughout the New Testament:    

  • "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness." Matthew 6:33 ESV  
  • "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." Ephesians 6:11 ESV 
  •  "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV 
  • "And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all." 1 Thessalonians 5:14 ESV
  •  Brothers, pray for us. 1 Thessalonians 5:25 ESV 

Idleness is the devil's workshop, but we don't have to linger there. As Spurgeon has said, "Some temptations come to the industrious, but all temptations come to the idle." Yes, the weekend is almost here, but that is no excuse for twiddling our thumbs. God has work for us to do.  

 

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"For even Satan disguises ..." from 2 Corinthians 11:14 ESV.