Can Busyness Be Sinful?


We are all well aware of the dangers of busyness. Beyond the physical consequences (extreme fatigue, stress and ulcers), there are significant spiritual consequences that also result from busyness (resentment, anxiety and irritability). So why are we so busy? Is it merely the need for better time management? Do we need to say “no” more often? Are our priorities out of line? Yes to all the above! However, for the Christian, when we probe a little deeper we perhaps see a spiritual disease often at the root of our busyness: pride!

Kevin DeYoung in his short book, “Crazy Busy,” provides a twelve-point diagnosis to help us answer that question (p. 36-38). Is pride fueling our busyness? Let’s run through his list and with the aid of the Holy Spirit do some honest self-evaluation as I provide a couple thought provoking questions for each topic.

So how do I know if my busyness is sinfully driven by pride?

1. People-pleasing – Do I say “yes” to too many people because I fear their disapproval? Am I serving others because I want to do good or is it because I want to look good in their eyes?
2. Pats on the back – If “people-pleasing” is motivated by fear, “pats on the back” is motivated by the hunger for personal glory. Do I live for the praise and applause of others? Am I willing to sacrifice time in my priorities if others will think higher of me?
3. Performance evaluation – Do I think so highly of myself that I believe I am irreplaceable? Do I believe everyone is dependent on my performance?
4. Possessions – Is my schedule determined by how money much I can make even if it means sacrificing my most meaningful relationships? Do my possessions own me with such a tight grip that they have become idols choking out the things most important in life?
5. Power – Do I always need to out-compete the other person? Am I staying busy because I fear that I will lose control over others?
6. Prestige – Does busyness give me a sense of satisfaction in who I am? Am I on a radical pursuit to make myself feel more important?
7. Pity – Is my busyness just a ploy to feel like a martyr? Do I enjoy receiving sympathy when people conclude that I am too busy?
8. Poor Planning – Am I prudent and self-controlled and reasonable when making plans? Do I have the discipline to stick to a well-managed life?
9. Perfectionism – Do I think too highly of myself? Do I have an unhealthy fear of making mistakes?
10. Posting – Am I submitting this post on social media because others will think more highly of me? Am I on social media too often because I fear that will let others down?
11. Position – Am I too busy because the world assumes people in a position like me need to act this way? Is my identity in life too wrapped around my position in life?
12. Proving myself – Am I ambitious because I feel inferior to others? Do I never rest because I am forever trying to prove myself to another person?

How did you fare? Please do not be overwhelmed to a point that now exceeds the stress from the busyness you are presently experiencing! The solution to all these problems is very simple. It is very liberating. And like everything, it starts and ends with a fervent love for Jesus Christ.

1. People-pleasing – Is it my goal to be more pleasing to people or to Christ?
2. Pats on the back – Do I live for my glory or Christ’s glory?
3. Performance evaluation – Do I get people to depend on me or am I pointing people to depend on Christ?
4. Possessions – Am I aiming to have my possessions temporarily here on earth or eternally with Christ in heaven?
5. Power – Am I trying to overpower other people or serve them through the power Christ?
6. Prestige – Is it about being great for myself or greatly used by Christ to show His greatness?
7. Pity – Am I drawing people to be compassionate for me or am I seeking to show, like Christ, compassion for others?
8. Poor Planning – Is my life chaotic or am I in line with Christ who was always in order and well-managed?
9. Perfectionism – Do I aim to be perfect or do I worship Christ who is perfect?
10. Posting – Do I use social media for my glory or Christ’s glory?
11. Position –Do I seek to be identified by the world’s perspective or Christ’s perspective of me?
12. Proving myself – Am I ambitious for others’ approval or am I ambitious to praise Christ for His acceptance of me?

Life will be busy, but be sure to allow the Father to assign your priorities. When we stay within His marching orders, we will keep the eternal things the important things, live a life of contentment and give our Savior “first place in everything” (Col. 1:18).

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