In my study of Scripture I can only find this phrase, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop" (Proverbs 16:27) in one particular version of Scripture, the Living Bible. Other versions say this:
"A scoundrel plots evil, and on their lips it is like a scorching fire." (NIV)
"A worthless man digs up evil, while his words are like scorching fire." (NASB)
"Scoundrels concoct evil, and their speech is like a scorching fire." (NRSV)
Scoundrels create trouble; their words are a destructive blaze. (NLT)
Regardless of your version of choice, the principle that is communicated in this passage is the same. The lazy one, the one who lives in a state of idleness, the one who doesn't keep busy, not for the sake of busyness, but one who doesn't stay busily focused and intentional, will fall prey to the devil's schemes. The Scripture highlights the idle as one who gossips, one whose tongue blazes a trail of destruction. While I don't struggle with gossip, this theme of idleness is close for me.
I've been reminded of this verse over the last few days as I've continued my radio silence for Lent. While I'm now on day 12 of no radio, no politics, no sports, no home-improvement or car fix-it shows, I have noticed that I've simply replaced my "radio time" with other, equally as worthless time wasters. The other day I reached level 511 on a cell phone game where my primary objective was to repeatedly hit blocks with a series of little balls. That's right, I said level 511. That's awful. It's awful, not because cell phone games are inherently evil, it's awful because I allowed my pursuit of the goal to draw closer to God during Lent to become clouded. I replaced dumb with stupid.
Time is tough to manage. It never stops. It's constantly melting away into oblivion. As unlimited as we convince ourselves it is, it's not. You and I have a finite amount of time to invest in our earthly relationships and a finite amount of time to pursue Jesus before we face an eternity with Him or without Him.
Lent is a fantastic opportunity to drop the extra noise in your life and lean heavy into your relationship with Jesus. But, these efforts will fall short if you cut the noise and allow other noise to creep in to replace it. Allow me to encourage you to narrow your gaze, lower your head, lean in and get after it. Be encouraged and keep moving forward.