Study 9: Worker or Shirker?
“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.”
Proverbs makes it clear that diligence, (being willing to work hard and do one’s best at any job) is a vital part of wise living to the “Joyful Woman“. We work hard not to become rich, famous, or admired, but to serve God with our very best during our lives. (See 1 Peter 4:11).
Now consider the different characteristics of a diligent person and a lazy person and compare both!
Get rich, Proverbs 10:4; Proverbs 12:11
Know hard work is wise, Proverbs 10:5.
Know hard work returns blessings, Proverbs 12:14.
Become leaders, Proverbs 12:24.
Make good use of everything they find, Proverbs 12:27.
Prosper, Proverbs 13:4; Proverbs 28:19.
Bring profit, Proverbs 14:23.
Have a clear path, Proverbs 15:19.
Work, even when inconvenient, in order to reap the reward, Proverbs 20:4.
Stay awake, work hard, Proverbs 20:13.
Are steady plodders, reaping prosperity, Proverbs 21:5.
Love to give, Proverbs 21:25-26.
Will be successful and stand before kings, Proverbs 22:29.
Are soon poor, Proverbs 10:4 Proverbs 14:23.
Sleep away opportunities, Proverbs 10:5.
Are a problem to their employers, Proverbs 10:26.
Never succeed, Proverbs 12:24.
Waste good opportunities, Proverbs 12:27.
Want much but get little, Proverbs 13:4; Proverbs 21:25-26.
Have trouble all through life, Proverbs 15:19.
Have idle hands and a destructive tongue, Proverbs 16:27.
Become saboteurs, Proverbs 18:9.
Sleep soundly and go hungry, Proverbs 19:15.
Are so lazy they won’t feed themselves, Proverbs 19:24.
Love sleep and end in poverty, Proverbs 20:13; Proverbs 24:30-34.
Make hasty speculations, leading to poverty, Proverbs 21:5.
Love pleasure and become poor, Proverbs 21:17.
Are full of excuses for not working, Proverbs 22:13.
Refuse to work but think themselves wise, Proverbs 26:13-16.
Experience poverty because of laziness, Proverbs 28:19.
We need strength for God’s work
“…her arms are strong for her tasks.” We are responsible for our own well-being. God wants us to be strong physically, mentally, and spiritually. We cannot blame anyone else for our state of body, mind or spirit. Whatever situation we are in, we can find out from the Bible what God wants us to do, to have victory in our situation. He has an answer for every circumstance, even if it is: “Rejoice in Me always”, 1 Thessalonians 5:16.
Our goal must be to have wisdom, Psalm 51:6. Then we can be victorious and be strong and decisive in our situation. We need to be bold enough to put into practice whatever the Holy Spirit tells us to do, whatever the price, because we know that God only wants our best.
God wants us to walk daily in good health, 3 John 1:2. If God wants us to lose weight, we have to stop saying, “tomorrow” and just do it! Just feeling bad, has never changed anything. In order to change, we have to rise up and say, “I’m going to be a woman of the Word, strong in my spirit, mind and body. I am going to do whatever it takes to be healthy”. Being skinny is not an indication of health, or self-control. Surprisingly, you can be a thin glutton! If you decide to get yourself into good physical condition, get into a good programme that will encourage you, and work-out regularly.
1. If you can’t have your own exercise time, you can always join it to doing something with the children, Pushing a pram, or buggy is brilliant especially if it is laden with children. A good game in the park; buying a small trampoline; or just doing simple exercises with them joining in, are good fun.
2. Share an exercise video with a couple of friends in your own home on a regular basis. Start and finish off with a prayer time.
3. Try the Praise Aerobics videos so that you can do your spirit good while exercising your body.
4. Join your local Leisure Centre, which has so many exciting ways to keep your body fit. There must be one to suit you!
5. Join a Fitness Centre where they have people employed to monitor your progress and give you a personal programme for fitness. Sometimes crèche facilities are also provided.
6. Join a hotel Leisure Complex where you can choose from several activities and make an evening of it by staying on afterwards for a leisurely chat and Diet Coke. These can require that you pay a considerable amount of money ahead of time, but this can be an incentive as you need to attend at least twice a week to make it financially viable, so you cannot afford to give up after six weeks!
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.” Luke 21:34.
“…Rather clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Romans 13:14.
“No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:27.
This is an area where we have to work hard, as the demons attack more in our mind than anywhere else, Psalm 119:11. If we fill our mind with their lies, it will not be long before we are acting in disobedience and things are not just wrong in our minds (Proverbs 23:7) but are really wrong in our lives, Matthew 15:18-19.
Women usually have more of a problem with their minds, Proverbs 23:7. We tend to live on an emotional level and judge most things by how we ‘feel’.
To be winners in our God-given tasks we have to overcome our bad thoughts about ourselves and others. Gossip, worry, fear and feeling low (Psalm 33:18-22; Philippians 4:4-7) are all weaknesses and the only way to sort out our minds, is to renew them by the Word of God, Romans 12:1-2.
If you want to feel good you must think good. We have to focus our minds on good things and not let them just run wild, Philippians 4:8. So guard what you put in, and you will have a healthy mind! If your depression is clinical then don’t hesitate to seek medical advice as above all God wants you healthy, whatever way that comes.
We must be ‘tuned in’ to the Holy Spirit every minute of every day. We need to stir ourselves up (Psalm 103:1-5) on a regular basis, so that we know our spirit is living on the cutting edge! At any time we can use the fantastic gifts the Holy Spirit has blessed us with, in order to meet the needs of any person with whom we come into contact, 2 Corinthians 9:11.
We must not let fear (Isaiah 41:10; Romans 8:14-16) control our response to the nudging of the Holy Spirit, or we become paralysed and useless to Him. As we learn more and more to recognise the voice of the Holy Spirit, we grow in confidence to respond and obey Him immediately. We then grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Father’s love.
It is so important that the emphasis of our lives is balanced. It is no good being super physically fit, but having a negative mind-set and no time for God, or sounding super-spiritual, yet being very overweight and gossiping at the drop of a hat. Both are out of balance for God.
Take a good look at the scales of your life and see how they are balanced.
Home Challenges for Joyful Woman 09
1. Read the notes about being ‘Diligent’ looking up all the references. Which promises encourage you most?
2. Read the notes about being ‘Lazy’ looking up all the references. Are there any challenges for you in the verses? What suggestions does the Bible give?
3. Read the rest of the notes about physical, mental and spiritual health. Write down any point you know God is wanting you to deal with. Stop and pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you His power to be victorious.
Proverbs 31:24-25; “She makes fine linen garments and leads others to buy them; she delivers to the merchants girdles (or sashes that free one for service). Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure.”
4. What do you think of when you think about a servant?
5. Think about how Jesus was a servant. Does this then help you when considering being a servant yourself? Philippians 2:5-10. How did Jesus show Himself as a servant? John 13:12-17. Give a modern day example.
6. Do you see yourself as a servant by this standard? 2 Corinthians 5:15.
7. In what area of your life is God asking you to be more of a servant? Matthew 7:24-27
8. Do you think a person can be a leader and a servant? How? Mark 10:43-45
9. Do you have a story to share of a time when you saw your value in a good action and felt useless when the situation changed? E.g. Caring for someone then they didn’t need you any more; children; job; relationship; etc.
10. Do you now see your value in how God sees you? Check out the extra list ‘Who Christians are in Jesus’ make sure you are agreeing with the Bible about who you really are. This Truth never changes, what ever you have done. Have you changed your attitude? How?
11. Pretend you are a bond slave. Which of the following words would give you the most problem and why?
1. No Time;
2. No Rights;
3. No Pay;
4. No Credit.
12. Have you been looking to your ‘rights’ in a situation or relationship? God is saying, “give up your rights and watch Me work out the situation for My Glory”. Just pray now and ask God to give you the grace to back down. You will see a miracle as you let go. What are you going to do?
13. Memory verse:- “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3.
14. Now sum up in one short sentence what you have received from this module.
15. Answer True or False to the following questions. If you can give verses from the Bible to back up your answer that will help you.