6 reasons hustle can actually be toxic for Christians

Hustle is a buzzword that erupted in recent years as a badge of honor. Society encourages us to: “Rise and grind,” “Hustle with heart” and “Get ‘er done.”

But have you ever stopped to consider that hustle can actually be toxic for Christians?

I know, I know.

The Bible says we shouldn’t be idle or lazy (Proverbs 19:15) and I agree.

But it is possible to go so far in the opposite direction that it causes us to sin.

Here are 6 reasons hustle can actually be toxic for Christians:

1. It tempts us to break the Sabbath

I know that for many of us, hustle aside, upholding the Sabbath is a foreign and outdated concept.

But not only is it one of the ten commandments, God blessed it and made it holy at the very beginning of creation:

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Genesis 2:2-3

The Sabbath is a day of rest that was made for us because God knows our needs (Hebrews 4:9-11). When we push through and hustle nonstop, it can lead to burnout.

2. It can damage our relationships

The number one relationship and priority in our life should be God. But too often, we can push Him to the side in favor of other things.

Hustle to finish a project or advance in our businesses and careers can distract us from what’s really important.

Our relationships with our spouse, children, family and friends can also suffer when we prioritize hustle over people.

We need to be able to put down the Smartphone (or the paintbrush, or the calculator…) in favor of quality time with those we love.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

John 13:34 (NIV)

3. It can foster greed

If your hustle involves striving to become rich, it is a slippery slope.

We all want to be able to afford nice things and provide well for our families but ultimately God is our provider.

If we are hustling away towards that promotion or network marketing rank with dollar signs in our eyes, we are chasing money and making it an idol.

The Bible has a lot to say about greed (1 Timothy 6:9-10, Luke 12:15), and how we can’t serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24).

The one who loves money will never be satisfied with money, he who loves wealth will never be satisfied with his income. This also is futile.

Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NET)

4. It can create stress and anxiety

By nature, when we are in hustle mode our adrenaline surges which can create stress and anxiety.

Prolonged hustle can actually be toxic to our physical bodies because of stress. Then of course there’s a higher chance of not properly eating or sleeping when hustling.

Depending on what the particular hustle involves, we may also subject our bodies to a lack (or abundance!) of sunshine and exercise.

And what about our mind?

If all we can think about is hustling to meet that goal, we start to worry about what will happen if we don’t meet it or what else we have to DO.

God calls us to be at peace, to wait upon Him (be patient), to cast our cares on Him, and to put our trust in Him.

God calls us to be at peace, to wait upon Him, to cast our cares on Him, and to put our trust in Him.

The EXACT opposite of stressing ourselves out and trying to do everything in our own strength through hustle!

In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Psalm 127:2

5. It can inflate our sense of self-importance

It’s human nature to want to feel proud of our accomplishments and to receive praise for them. Some of us are also very competitive, and highly motivated to add to our list of achievements.

But scripture calls us to be humble and not proud (Matthew 23:12).

And we must remember that apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5).

Works are important, but not as important as our relationship with God or obeying His word.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Philippians 2:3-4

6. It can become an idol and replacement for the worthiness we find in God

When we place our inherent value on how much we can DO to feel worthy it can be toxic.

God wants us to find our worth in Him. He is not impressed by any accomplishments that aren’t done in His name and for His glory. We can never earn His love through works.

God wants us to find our worth in Him. He is not impressed by any accomplishments that aren’t done in His name and for His glory.

And we shouldn’t strive to earn the love and respect of others through works either.

Yes, we are never to tire of doing good (2 Thessalonians 3:13), but we should not hustle in order to find our worth.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16

Conclusion

As with all things, balance is important.

We are not to strive for the things of this world or lose sight of God or His will.

We are to rest in Him to prevent burnout and to repent of all sin, including the toxic byproducts of hustle.

Where have you allowed hustle to become toxic in your life? How can you let go of this unhealthy drive for more and rest in God instead? I’d love to hear in the comments!

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