Hosted by: Hanfield Global Methodist Church

Preached by: Pastor Curtis Banker

Location: 101 N 400 E Marion, IN 46952

Date: February 25, 2024

Hanfield Global Methodist Church:
Overcoming Sloth: A Call to Diligence and Virtue


In our ongoing series on the 7 Deadly Sins contrasted with the virtues of God, we’ve explored how these ancient concepts remain profoundly relevant to our modern spiritual lives. Each week, we examine a specific sin and its opposing virtue, guiding us from darkness into light. Today, we focus on sloth versus diligence, unraveling the complexity of sloth and illuminating the path toward a more diligent, purposeful life rooted in the teachings of Christ.

The Nature of Sin and the Path to Resolution

Sin, in its essence, is not merely an action but a state—a reflection of our fallen nature that disrupts the divine order within creation. It represents any deed that contravenes God’s will, leading inevitably to a life marred by disorder and distance from the divine. The resolution to this predicament is repentance, a profound turning of our entire being away from sin and towards God. This journey away from sin is not about moving away from what is inherently bad towards a neutral state but is a deliberate stride towards God and His virtues.

Sloth: Beyond Laziness

Sloth is traditionally associated with laziness, yet its scope extends far beyond a mere reluctance to work. Described as the “sin of nothing,” sloth represents a complex aversion to engaging with the hard tasks that our spiritual and worldly duties demand. It manifests as a resistance to the exertions of prayer, meditation, and action, embodying a deeper malaise—a mental dullness and spiritual apathy that detaches us from our higher purposes.

In the 4th-century monastic tradition, sloth was termed as “Acedia,” the noon-day demon, highlighting the monks’ struggle against lethargy during their designated prayer times. This concept reveals sloth as a timeless challenge, not confined to any single era but persisting through the ages as a barrier to spiritual diligence.

Biblical Insights on Diligence

The Gospel of Matthew offers profound insights into the nature of sloth and the virtue of diligence. In Matthew 7:24-29, Jesus presents the parable of the wise and foolish builders, teaching that those who hear His words and apply them are like a wise man who builds his house on solid rock. Despite storms and floods, the house stands firm. Conversely, those who hear but do not act are likened to a foolish man building his house on sand, which collapses under the first sign of trial.

This parable underscores the necessity of building our lives upon the solid foundation of Jesus’ teachings, emphasizing that the stakes of our spiritual choices carry eternal significance.

The Modern Face of Sloth

Today, sloth can take many forms, from the procrastination of spiritual duties to the escapism found in workaholism. It’s a turning of our desires away from Christ and towards a void, unlike other sins that misdirect our desires towards something tangible. The remedy for sloth lies in developing a zeal for God’s mission, embracing the tedium of our daily and spiritual duties with a heart full of love for God and what He demands of us.

A Call to Action: Cultivating Diligence

The fight against sloth is a call to embrace diligence in every facet of our lives, doing what is required of us even when it challenges us. It involves recognizing the first signs of acedia and taking immediate action to counteract this spiritual lethargy. Practical steps toward this goal include committing to small, manageable tasks, embracing the discipline of stability, and deepening our engagement with spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, and community participation.


In confronting sloth, we are invited to a life of diligence, marked by a steadfast commitment to the tasks God has set before us, both great and small. This journey requires courage, a willingness to face the hard things, and a heart aligned with God’s will. As we progress through this sermon series, let us reflect on our personal battles with sloth and commit to a path of diligent pursuit of the virtues that draw us closer to God.

Let us leave today with a renewed commitment to do what love demands, to embrace the often overlooked mundane tasks with joy, and to build our lives upon the unshakeable foundation of Jesus Christ.

Detailed Bullet Point Format: Sermon on Sloth

Sermon Information

  • Title: Overcoming Sloth: A Call to Diligence and Virtue
  • Hosted by: Hanfield Global Methodist Church
  • Preacher: Pastor Curtis Banker
  • Location: 101 N 400 E Marion, IN 46952
  • Date: February 25, 2024


  • Emphasis on the ongoing series addressing the 7 Deadly Sins vs. the virtues of God.
  • Focus of the day: contrasting Sloth with the virtue of Diligence.
  • Sloth is identified as a critical sin with profound implications on spiritual life.

The Nature of Sin and Its Resolution

  • Sin defined as both a state of fallen nature and actions against God’s will.
  • Leads to a disordered life, misaligned with creation’s divine order.
  • Resolution through repentance: a complete turnaround towards God and virtue.

Understanding Sloth

  • Sloth extends beyond mere laziness, representing an aversion to spiritual and worldly duties.
  • Described as a “sin of nothing,” indicating a deep-seated apathy and mental dullness.
  • Historical context: termed “Acedia” or the “noon-day demon” in 4th-century monastic tradition, highlighting the struggle against spiritual lethargy.

Biblical Insights

  • Matthew 7:21-23 emphasizes that not everyone who calls Jesus “Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who actually do what God wants. Jesus warns that on the day of judgment, many will claim to have prophesied, cast out demons, and performed miracles in His name. However, He will declare to them that He never knew them and will tell them to depart from Him, labeling their actions as lawlessness, despite their outward show of piety.
  • Matthew 7:24-29: Parable of the wise and foolish builders, emphasizing the importance of building life on Jesus’ teachings.
  • Contrast between the wise man building on rock and the foolish man on sand, underscoring the eternal stakes of spiritual diligence.
  • Matthew 7:24-29 teaches that those who listen to and act upon Jesus’ teachings are like a wise person who builds their house on a solid foundation of rock. When storms hit, the house remains stable and unharmed because it’s built on something strong. On the other hand, those who hear Jesus’ words but ignore them are like a foolish person who builds their house on sand. When adverse weather comes, the house collapses because its foundation is weak. This passage concludes a section of Jesus’ teachings, leaving the audience in awe of His authority and wisdom, distinct from their usual religious teachers.

The Modern Face of Sloth

  • Present-day manifestations include procrastination, workaholism, and escapism.
  • Sloth as a diversion of desires away from Christ towards apathy.
  • Remedies involve developing a zeal for God’s mission and embracing the tedium of daily and spiritual duties.

A Call to Action: Cultivating Diligence

  • Diligence as the antidote to sloth, requiring a commitment to spiritual and mundane tasks.
  • Strategies include recognizing and resisting acedia, initiating small tasks, embracing stability, and engaging in spiritual disciplines.

Conclusion and Reflection

  • Invitation to a life of diligence, marked by a commitment to God’s tasks.
  • Reflection on personal battles with sloth and the commitment to diligent pursuit of virtue.
  • Encouragement to embrace mundane tasks with joy and build lives on Jesus Christ’s foundation.

Additional Notes from Sermon Series and Personal Reflections

  • Series explores the contrast between 7 Deadly Sins and virtues, previously covering Pride vs. Humility, Gluttony vs. Temperance, and Greed vs. Charity.
  • Sloth highlighted as particularly significant due to its subtle influence on spiritual apathy.
  • Personal reflection on the ease of observing others’ faults over self-assessment and the importance of confronting personal sloth.

Insights on Sloth and Diligence

  • Sloth characterized by avoidance of necessary actions, leading to spiritual and mental stagnation.
  • Diligence involves doing what is required, even when it is challenging, embodying courage and fortitude as remedies.
  • Importance of staying committed to one’s spiritual path, resisting the temptation to seek change externally rather than internally.

Practical Steps Against Sloth

  • Recognizing sloth’s manifestations: loafing, procrastinating, daydreaming, frittering, and quitting.
  • Emphasizing the importance of spiritual discipline, including prayer, journaling, and Bible study, in combating sloth.
  • Highlighting the role of mundane tasks in marriage and daily life as opportunities for practicing diligence.

This detailed bullet point format encapsulates the sermon’s exploration of sloth, offering insights into its nature, biblical perspective, modern manifestations, and the call to cultivate diligence as a countermeasure. It reflects on the series’ broader context, emphasizing repentance, spiritual discipline, and the pursuit of virtue as essential elements in overcoming sloth and fostering a deeper commitment to God’s will.