The devil makes work for busy hands

26 Apr

I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase “The devil makes work for idle hands”, but just recently I have become convinced that the devil uses busyness just as much as idleness to distract us from following God with all our hearts.

Although Christians don’t like to admit it, I would guess that most of us struggle spending time with God, reading our bibles and praying. We can often feel guilty that we’re not doing it enough.
Over the last few years God has been helping me develop my quiet times…

…or in other words – I’ve actually been doing them regularly.

However, I still go through times {such as the last few weeks} when things get super busy and spending time with God seems to be put on the back-burner. This time, after a couple of hectic weeks when I was also ill I asked God to teach me how to continue to follow him faithfully even when things were super busy.

Here’s what I learnt:

1. Be disciplined

Oh yeah…you knew that one was coming right? It’s completely obvious but oh so hard!

God gave me a verse from Psalm 15 to cement this in my mind…

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?…he who keeps his oath even when it hurts”

As one lady from church says “anyone can march for Jesus when the sun shines”, but surely the real test of our faith and commitment to God is in those times when it’s not easy. If we’re still passionately following God even when things are going wrong then that cements our relationship and makes it real.

Now, I know that everyone has ‘seasons’ in life. There’ll be times when we can dedicate real time to in-depth bible study and prayer and other times when things are done more on the run, but I think as Christians we’re very good at making excuses for not spending time with God. We need to look at our hearts and at our motives. I know in my heart that if I examined my ‘busy’ days, there are still times when I manage to snuggle down with a novel for 15 minutes – why not spend that time sharing with my best friend, saviour and God instead?

2. Know where our energy comes from

If we need to find an example of a busy person, Jesus is a good person to start with. His ministry was a constant onslaught of teaching and needy people. So how did he deal with it?  In Luke 4 and 5 we see that Jesus went to a solitary place and he prayed. He knew that his energy, strength and power came from God so he went to him to talk about his ministry.

I get frustrated with myself when I forget this. I’m having a super busy day and I just end up forgetting to ask God to help me and so I do things in my own strength which makes things ten times worse. In the busy times spending time with God is probably more important – and yet so often we neglect it.

3.  Be fruitful, not busy.

The bible 100% advocates doing work for God and keeping busy, so don’t think that I’m suggesting we all sit around idle…

HOWEVER, I was reading again the story of the Vine and the Branches in John 15 the other day and it struck me…

What is the sign of God working in someone’s life?


Not busyness.

If you’re using your gifts to serve you likely will be very busy, but if you’re not listening to God and just getting involved in anything and everything you might not be fulfilling your God given role to the best of your ability.

We {and by this I mean ME} need to discern what God is telling us to do and be ready to say ‘no’ to people who suggest we do other things that in the end might end up making us super busy, but not super fruitful for God. We might seem like we’re indispensible and oh-so-helpful around church but if we end up sacrificing our personal relationship with God in the long run then, as Psalm 127 puts it, we’ll be “working in vain”.

Quick Questions

1. What do you think? Do you agree/disagree? Anything to add?
2. Do busy times drive you closer or further away from God?
3. How good are you at saying “no” when it’s required?


6 Responses to “The devil makes work for busy hands”

  1. Chloe April 26, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    In fact it’s in busy times when I feel closer to God. I NEED to pray more and read the Bible and that makes me feel more relaxed and in peace.
    I loved this post Rachel. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Mel April 26, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Thanks for this Rach – I agree. Being busy is not the same as being fruitful and we so often need to stop and check ourselves.

  3. La-La's Home Daycare April 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    Yes, I agree. Being busy seems to stop me from reading the bible and getting closer with God. I seem to just want to sleep instead of reading and praying. I need to check myself. I am however, great at saying no to extra activities with other people. Just not myself,if that makes scene.

  4. Amanda April 26, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Great post, Rachel! It reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. I definitely believe Satan uses business to take us away from God. I’m HORRIBLE at spending quiet time with God. And I’m not all that busy!! I’ve gotten pretty good at saying “no” now that I have a kid, but I honestly don’t have myself invested in a lot right now. I think I’ve said NO too much!!

  5. Missy June April 27, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    I have been forced to learn to say no and I really appreciate the way you contrast busy-ness versus fruitfulness! My desire is to be fruitful! Wonderful thoughts.

    Thank you for ‘pooping’ over to my blog and I think your idea of a royal wedding tea party sounds lovely! I may do that with my daughter (5 years old) just for fun!

  6. Jowdy May 5, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    Rachel, this is true and I have found that under the struggles of being busy there’s a bedrock. I guess that’s Jesus’s known and trusted faithfulness, more than my efforts. I haven’t conquered being disciplined beyond the most extreme of my days..and as I have bad extremes there’s way to go! However, rather than dealing with being too busy, which I perceive I am too often, I’ve struggled drastically with being unfruitful to the point of illness lately. Faced with no openings as a newly trained teacher, I asked God what I should do and I felt he was still calling me in work around the land, food production and protecting wildlife and so I got to work on the smallholding. I chose in faith, the name ‘Ephraim’ for my business because of it’s associated meaning; fruitful. (I grow lots of fruit) Each time I learn a new dance it seems that God changes the song, and I feel so ridiculous! His sense of humour can seem cruel! So learning to say ‘No’ is hard and I’ve got some way to go, but I’d like to hear better when to say ‘YES!’

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