I have been talking to people about the state of our country and they were going on and on about how they thought it was sad that people in America were not as smart as other people in other nations. For instance we were talking about how China and Japan has people who are really good at learning, getting good at things, and making things and of course the blame of Americas dullness was centered towards the schools in America. I would agree to about 1%. People in America tend to be lazier and duller than other people in other nations because of 2 reasons.
1: Complacency and laziness.
People have accepted complacency as a blanket of "security." The problem is that under that blanket of "security" are all the insects that bite you in your sleep. Complacency allows you to be lazy and not care. Laziness of course is the scourge to anyone anywhere. An "If it feels good do it" mindset has hovered over our country for well over 50 years. Laziness feels good but it's rewards are deadly. It's rewards are these: 30 year olds who live with their parents still playing Halo instead of taking up responsibility; a bum who can't hold a job for the life of him because "it's just too hard"; a father who can't support his children because he's drunk on the couch trying to drown the out the feeling a failing as a father because he's never done anything useful in his life rather than getting up, accepting responsibility and getting a job! If you let complacency take over your life you are going to suffer the consequences of being a rotten citizen in society and when your a rotten citizen on society you add to the hundreds of thousands who already are and make America a better place for bums and sluggards. But... if you say no to complacency and laziness you say yes to responsibility and you start leading a life that is useful and more satisfying than the immediate satisfaction of laziness. A sum up: Complacency and laziness bring temporary satisfaction but terrible side effects that stay with you until you get rid of complacency and laziness. Responsibility sets you up for growing into someone who can glorify God, who can add to society and who can change the world. It just starts with one simple very hard step: Say no to complacency and saying yes to responsibility and not just saying but doing.
2: Low Expectations vs. High Expectations.
Low Expectations destroy the people they are centered at unless they can say no to Low Expectations. Whenever you think about or say to someone that you don't think they can achieve something or greatness you basically say to them that you don't think that they can meet up to their potential and rather think of them as a pile of dirt and the worst part is that the receiver believes it! When you have a whole country doing this cycle(like America) you have a country that will fall into economic troubles because no one has motivation to work hard jobs while they have the motivation for working a "just getting by" job at some low paying company doing the least they can to get by and throwing diligence and faithfulness to the wind. But here is the amazing thing: When someone even hears that someone else believes that they can do great things, that someone has High Expectations of them they are faced with 2 choices: "Do I want to stay complacent?" or "Do I want to take up responsibility and do great and awesome things?" Usually they chose the second option. When you have high expectations of someone they tend to reach out and beyond to meet those high expectations. If just one person out of the whole population of the world believes that a certain person can do great things, the person receiving the high expectations will get excited about doing hard things and then it spreads and you get a bunch of people who have high expectations of themselves and other people and are changing the world rather than destroying it.
Sum up: if you think someone can do it, they will rise to meet that expectation. If you think that someone can't do it, they will literally lower themselves to meet that expectation. Expectations of someone controls how that person will live especially if the person your directing your expectations at is yourself. Although if you have high expectations for yourself and you grasp God's expectations of you, you will do great thing and wont be moved by the wave of low expectations sent at them.
Complacency, laziness, and low expectations destroy countries and peoples lives by bringing in economic downfall, feelings of depravity and nothingness, loss of vision and rise of suicide. But high expectations and hearts centered on God builds up a country and brings in economic uprise, people satisfied with life, and people who change the world in amazing ways. Which one would you rather have? If this thought is going through you mind, "It's a nice dream but it could never happen." then I have this answer for you: It's possible if people will only drop complacency and pick up responsibility and have high expectations.
I tried explaining this in a shorter less complex version to this person I was talking to but she didn't get it and kept blaming it on bad education which is only part of the problem. She's an example of someone who doesn't want responsibility and wants to point the finger at others. If she had said no to complacency she would have seen that she had been part of the problem but now she could change what was around her but she didn't want to leave her comfort zone of complacency and she definitely didn't want to see herself as part of the problem so she is missing out on the blessings of responsibility and the life changing and changing lives reward that comes with it.
The Biblical Sluggard... Modern Day Lazy Man
The Bible talks about the people America has mostly become and is sliding more into. It calls him a sluggard. Nowadays we would call him a bum, or a lazy man, or just some kid(age 1-100) who mooches off everyone because he can't support himself because everything is "too hard" to do. What does a sluggard look like? Here's some tips to identify a sluggard:
Proverbs 6:9 "How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?"
Proverbs 10:26 "Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to those who send him."
Proverbs 15:19 "The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway."
Proverbs 20:4 "The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing."
Proverbs 21:15 "The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor."
Proverbs 26:14 "As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed."
Proverbs 26:15 "The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth."
Proverbs 26:16 "The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly."
What does this tell you? Well it obviously tells me that lazy people sleep too long, are not reliable, are constantly running into trouble in life, doesn't work but expects to be paid, refuses to work, has restless sleep, is too lazy to even eat sometimes, and thinks he's smarter than everyone else. To be honest this sounds like most people in America: a bunch of know-it-alls who want it easy and quick without working for it and who sleep in till the best part of day is wasted.
What is the Bibles remedy? Well the opposite of a sluggard, according to Proverbs, is a wise man or a righteous man. What does he look like?
Proverbs 9:9 "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning."
Proverbs 13:25 "The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the belly of the wicked suffers want."
Proverbs 14:16 "One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless."
Proverbs 15:19 "The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway."
Proverbs 21:12 "The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked; he throws the wicked down to ruin."
Proverbs 21:20 "Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it."
Proverbs 24:5 "A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might,"
Proverbs 29:11 "A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back."
So a wise man listens to instruction, such as being disciplined by parents, and he learns from it, he doesn't need anything because he has enough to be content, he is a cautious fellow who stays out of trouble, his life goes smoothly, he destroys wickedness, perversity and sin, he's strong in whatever he puts his hands to, and he doesn't snap back at anyone when they try to prove him wrong, discipline him, or annoy him etc...
Wow! You don't see that a lot. The Bible has a lot more to say about both the sluggard and the wise man. We don't see much of the righteous man, only in glimpses in people who try to be righteous but because of the curse of sin no one can be perfectly like the wise man. The only wise and righteous man that ever walked the face of the earth was Jesus. He was the one and only that fits perfectly to the description of the wise man in Proverbs.
What is the remedy? What is the Biblical remedy of laziness? Here's some verses that point in that direction:
Proverbs 6:6-8 "Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways and be wise. Without having any chief officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in the summer and gathers her food in harvest."
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 "For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living."
Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,"
Those are just 4 examples of God's remedy but in short it has to do with work. The last two don't seem to have to do anything with a remedy for slothfulness at first until you think about it for a little bit. First of all the remedy is working. The Bible tells the sluggard to look at or be like the ant who works for his food that could be months away in the reward of it rather than right away. "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." It's either work and eat or stay in bed and starve. If you work for you food you will be like the hard working wise man who "has enough to satisfy his appetite." Now Romans tells us not to be like how worldly people around us are like. Laziness is one of the key characteristics of America and frankly: the world. Romans tells us to "be transformed by the renewal of your mind" in other words change your bad habits, start working, and be transformed by it. Hebrews tells us to "lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely" one of those weights and sins is laziness. We need to get rid of it! Laziness clings to you and is a weight. In one once of extra weight over one mile will accumulate up to 55 pounds of dead weight and that's just for one shoe on one foot! If you add the other shoe it's 110 pounds and your shoes are much more than one ounce. Of course you have to factor in the weight of cloths. They don't effect much but if you wear extra than you end up carrying a lot of dead weight. Sin works the same way. There's a bare minimum of things you need that are good but sin looks attractive saying that you need it and soon your wearing steel toed boots and winter cloths trying to run a mile. It doesn't work you need to throw it all off to be able to run a good race. You need to throw away laziness and complacency to live a good life. The Bible has more to say about the man who works and the one who doesn't.
I encourage you to do four things:
- Read Proverbs in it's entirety
- Do a Bible search on subjects like work, sluggard, slothfulness, the righteous, wise man, and freedom
- Work at working and getting rid of slothfulness
- If you think you are not a sloth in any way shape or form then swallow your pride and read the top three again.