“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us” (2 Thessalonians 3:6 NIV).
Considering the work that needs to be done, promoting the Gospel, there is no time for believers to remain idle–doing nothing. Paul understands the temptation that accompanies idleness. Idle hands are tools for the devil to conspire to do evil. Even when we think there is nothing more to do, we should pray–without ceasing–for others and for self. If we cannot think of anything else to do, our thoughts should focus on those who need encouragement or a helping hand. We may not have anything to do for ourselves, but there is always a brother or sister who needs help, doing just about anything.
For this reason, Paul admonishes those who are doing what is right to stay away from those who are doing nothing but creating problems. When people have nothing else to do–they complain and murmur and start vicious rumors and conspire to influence hatred and dissent. Paul understands that it is the little foxes that spoil the vines and a little disgruntlement when ignited by bitterness flows like molten lava, destroying everything in its path.
Realistically, every believer who will do, is doing, and looking for more to do. True believers understand that our work is never finished because Jesus has not returned. True believers reach out to others to encourage and admonish. True believers will pray for someone at in a heartbeat, when requested, or even when there is no request. True believers look forward to each day, eagerly waiting to see what God will have them do. True believers live with purpose and are always trying to fulfill the purpose. True believers understand that laziness does not create value or worth. True believers–know how to hear and obey God–and therefore never have time to be idle.
Even when imprisoned, Paul did not stop promoting the gospel, interceding for others, encouraging others, to remain faithful to the Lord and to adhere to God’s Word. He understood that every waking moment was an opportunity to bring others in the knowledge of Christ and used every opportunity to do just that. We must work while it is day (have an opportunity) for when night comes (the deeds of darkness prevail), success at anything becomes difficult.
If success is what every believer wants to see–we must stay away from those who claim to believe God, but are too lazy to study His Word for themselves and know His purpose for their lives and seek fulfillment. Keep away from those who would influence you to become as they are–idle believers.