Proverbs 31:17 "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 for 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)

Love of moneyNow consider the different characteristics of a diligent person and a lazy person and compare both!

The Diligent

  • They become rich. (Proverbs 10:4; Proverbs 12:11)
  • They know that hard work is wise. (Proverbs 10:5)
  • They know that hard work returns blessings. (Proverbs 12:14)
  • They become leaders. (Proverbs 12:24)
  • They make good use of everything they find. (Proverbs 12:27)
  • They prosper. (Proverbs 13:4; Proverbs 28:19)
  • They turn a profit. (Proverbs 14:23)
  • They have a clear path. (Proverbs 15:19)
  • They work, even when it's inconvenient, in order to reap the reward. (Proverbs 20:4)
  • They stay awake and work hard. (Proverbs 20:13)
  • They are steady "plodders", reaping prosperity. (Proverbs 21:5)
  • They love to give to others. (Proverbs 21:25-26)
  • They will be successful and stand before royalty. (Proverbs 22:29)

 The Lazy

  • They soon become poor. (Proverbs 10:4 Proverbs 14:23)
  • They sleep away opportunities. (Proverbs 10:5)
  • They are a problem to their employers. (Proverbs 10:26)
  • They never succeed. (Proverbs 12:24)
  • They waste good opportunities. (Proverbs 12:27)
  • They want much but get little. (Proverbs 13:4; Proverbs 21:25-26)
  • They have trouble all through life. (Proverbs 15:19)
  • They have idle hands and a destructive tongue. (Proverbs 16:27)
  • They become saboteurs. (Proverbs 18:9)
  • They sleep soundly but go hungry. (Proverbs 19:15)
  • They are so lazy they won't even feed themselves. (Proverbs 19:24)
  • They love to sleep but it leads to poverty. (Proverbs 20:13; Proverbs 24:30-34)
  • They make hasty speculations, leading to poverty, (Proverbs 21:5)
  • They love pleasure but it leads to poverty. (Proverbs 21:17)
  • They are full of excuses for not working. (Proverbs 22:13)
  • They refuse to work but think themselves wise. (Proverbs 26:13-16)
  • They experience poverty because of their laziness. (Proverbs 28:19)

We need strength for God’s work

"She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks." (Proverbs 31:17) We are responsible for our own well-being. God wants us to be strong physically, mentally and spiritually. We cannot blame others 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 simply: “Rejoice in Me always.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16)

Our goal must be to have wisdom. (Psalm 51:6) Then we can be victorious, 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 cost - because we know that God only wants our best. “Be strong and very courageous.” (Joshua 1:6-7)

Physical Health

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 God's 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 start to work out regularly.

  • If you cannot have your own exercise time, you can always make it apart of whatever you happen to be doing. For example, if you have children, pushing a pram or buggy is brilliant. You can enjoy a good game in the house, in the garden or the local park. You could buy a small trampoline or just do some simple exercises with them joining in. Good fun can also be good exercise!
  • 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.
  • Try the "Praise Aerobics" videos so that you can do your spirit good while exercising your body.
  • Join your local Leisure Centre, which has so many exciting ways to keep your body fit. There's bound to be something to suit you!
  • Join a Fitness Centre, where they have people employed to monitor your progress and give you a personal programme for fitness. (Sometimes, crêche facilities are also provided.)
  • 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 cuppa. These can require that you pay a considerable amount of money up front, but that can be an incentive as you need to attend at least twice a week to make it financially viable and you cannot afford to give up after just 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)

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)

Mental health

This is an area where we have to work hard, because demons attack us in every area of our lives, we are in a battle, (Psalm 119:11) If we fill our minds with their lies, it will not be long before we are acting in disobedience and, before long, things will not just be wrong in our minds (Proverbs 23:7) but we shall start seeing practical consequences in our lives with things going wrong. (Matthew 15:18-19)

Women can 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 are all weaknesses (Psalm 33:18-22; Philippians 4:4-7) and the best way to sort out our minds is to renew them through God's word. (Romans 12:1-2)

If we want to feel good we 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 into your mind and it will stay healthy! At the same time, some mental health can be clinical, caused by some physical imbalance or illness, so don’t hesitate to seek medical advice if it continues. Above all, God does not condem us He is overflowing with love and wants us to be healthy, whatever way that comes about. 

Spiritual Health

We must be "tuned in" to the Holy Spirit every minute of every day. We need to stir ourselves up on a regular basis (Psalm 103:1-5), so that we know our spirit is living on the cutting edge! At any time, we can use the fantastic gifts that 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 control our response to the nudging of the Holy Spirit, or we become paralysed and useless to Him. (Isaiah 41:10; Romans 8:14-16) As we learn, more and more, to recognise the voice of the Holy Spirit, we will grow in confidence to respond and obey Him immediately. We then begin to grow in grace and in our 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 unable to make time for God. Equally, it's no good sounding super-spiritual, if we are very overweight or spend all our time 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.

Click on the button below to load the QUESTIONS for this study in a new browser tab. You can opt to print the question sheet or simply follow the questions and write down your answers in a notebook or a separate file on a computing device, such as a laptop or mobile 'phone.