Did you know Scripture takes a strong position about being idle? That includes wasting time. Apparently, it’s a big deal to God. Why would this be? It doesn’t seem nearly as concerning as certain other sins.

Being idle leads to other things that are serious. It is not the state of inactivity that is problematic. You actually need breaks from a busy life. God calls that rest. He endorses rest as very important. Every night and one day a week are intended by His design for rest.

Being idle is a root under other concerning problems that Scripture instructs you to set boundaries for. Don’t be idle. Stay away from an idle person. Do not speak idle words. Don’t be puffed up with idle notions. Keep away from believers who are idle and disruptive. Warnings like these are throughout Scripture. (Eccl. 11:6; 2 Thess. 3:6; Is. 58:13; 1 Tim. 5:13; Col. 2:18; 2 Thess. 3:11)

One of the main concerns with idleness is not being engaged in the moments of your life as they happen. A critical component to living well and loving well is being aware of what’s going on in your own heart. Being aware of people and conditions around you. It means being alert to how you can bring about good to other’s lives and how you can affect scenarios with positive solutions. Without alertness, your own walk with God becomes detached, empty, perhaps even robotic. Lack of alertness starts you down the road of leaving your first love. (Rev. 2:4) This flows into everything that is not good. Compromised alertness severs you from Jesus, your power source.

Idleness starts messing with your purpose. God made you with glorious purpose connected to His Kingdom purposes. Untethered from that means you have become disconnected from all that’s meaningful. You’ve crossed over into aimless, shallow existence. You wonder, “what’s life all about?!”

In this empty place, you look for ways to feel better. Already off your God-given path and out of your focused rhythm, you seek something to fill the void. Enter temptations. Enter idols. Idle and idol are distant relatives. They mess with your entire life.

Being idle eliminates any example you might have otherwise provided for others: little children who are watching, teens who are struggling to become mature adults, new believers, weary warriors who’ve seen one too many life battles, seekers of God. In fact, any idleness you practice and portray gives these folks a wrong example. Are you OK with that?

Once you have lost your purpose, feel empty, and are floundering in example – you start to engage in cheap and shallow conversation. Before you know it, you are discussing another person’s affairs, someone’s failures or bad fortunes, and demeaning people. No longer busy with your body to accomplish things that honor God, you have officially become a busybody. A gossip. A problem-creator instead of a problem-solver.

Finally, there is the danger of officially becoming lazy. Wearing the B.U.M. T-shirt. Your life no longer has forward meaningful movement.

Scripture warns others to not spend time with you when you have chosen an idle lifestyle. They are to stay clear of your bad influence. Oh my!

What can you do? Can this state of affairs be corrected? Yes, it certainly can. Turn back to your power source – the Lord of peace. Reconnect to your first love – the God who deeply loves you. Repent of idleness and idols. Live intentionally as you get busy inside your God-given purpose once again. So, I close by asking – do you have a busy body?


Article developed from 2 Thess. 3:6-18.

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