To one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him, it is sin. —James 4:17, NASB
Friend to Friend
Procrastination is one of the greatest sources of stress in life. I once heard a preacher tell the old story of three demons who were arguing over the best way to destroy the Christian movement.
The first demon had it all figured out. “Let’s tell all the Christians that there is no heaven. If we take away the reward incentive, their movement will collapse,” he said.
The second demon responded with, “No, I have a better idea. Let’s tell all the Christians that there really is no hell. If we take away their fear of punishment, their movement will collapse.”
The third demon offered, “Both of those are great ideas, but there is a better way. Let’s tell all the Christians that there is no hurry.” The other demons applauded in delight! “That’s it!” they said. “Our best weapon of all is procrastination.”
Procrastination is understandable and normal – humanly speaking – but procrastination is not part of God’s best plan for our lives. We don’t often view procrastination as sin, but it is. Sin is not merely doing wrong. It is failing to do what you know you should do – when you know you should do it. Knowledge equals responsibility. Procrastination and disobedience are just opposite sides of the same coin.
Sin usually brings pleasure for at least the moment. If you are on a diet and want to have just one bite of a chocolate candy bar – but end up eating three chocolate candy bars – it is because you wanted more of that chocolate pleasure and simply could not make yourself stop at one bite – right?
Or maybe you go shopping with a set amount you can spend on a new pair of shoes and end up buying three pairs of shoes only to realize that you need a dress to go with them, and a new purse to go with the dress, and new jewelry to match the shoes, purse and dress and … well, you get the idea. It is easy to understand how we get caught up in sins like gluttony, lust and greed because they all bring momentary pleasure.
Procrastination is different in that it helps us avoid doing the things we don’t want to do – the tasks that require personal discipline and a commitment to godly goals. Wasting time often creates a restless feeling that produces a sense of failure.
When the deadline we were supposed to meet has come and gone, or the dreaded task we keep putting off spirals out of control – guilt sets in. We try to rationalize it away when the simple truth is that we have sinned.
The key to dealing with procrastination begins with a commitment to obey God and exercise His wisdom. Joyce Meyer once said, “Wisdom always chooses to do now what it will be satisfied with later on.”
We can choose to be led by wisdom rather than our momentary feelings.
We can choose to make right choices.
We can learn to be good stewards of the time God has given us.
I once attended a leadership conference that changed my life in many ways. The speakers did not talk about money or success. They focused on the fact that God created each one of us in response to His unique plan for our lives. One of the simplest but most powerful mottos I came away from that conference with was: “Do it now!”
Do you realize that it takes as much energy to avoid a task as it does to do it? Procrastination drains energy while action produces energy. God empowers us to do what He calls us to do.
The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants. Then all these other things you need will be given to you. —Matthew 6:33, NCV
Truth is for now. God is not impressed with good intentions. Obedience today is the greatest preparation for every tomorrow. So do what you know to do today! The Proverbs 31 woman did. In fact, Scripture tells us she could “laugh at the days to come” (Proverbs 31:25). In other words, this woman fully lived in the present but carefully planned and prepared for the future.
Proverbs 31:19 indicates that she made thread with her hands and weaved her own cloth: “In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.” Notice she only made thread and cloth – not the finished product of clothes. That was a task for the future. She was simply getting ready today to meet the needs of tomorrow. The result was a life filled with hope and lived out in purpose.
Father, please forgive me for putting off what I know You want me to do. Help me learn to be more disciplined with my time. Teach me how to find and live by Your priorities for my life. I want to do what You created me to do, Lord. Show me how to live a life of power and purpose.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Procrastination is really about loving self and pleasing self above others. Romans 12:10 tells us that we should love each other deeply and honor others more than ourselves. The moments God give us really do matter now and eternally.
We are responsible for how we spend them. Each moment in time represents an eternal opportunity. Evaluate your life in light of these truths. How well do you invest your time? What one change can you make this week to overcome procrastination? Ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable to make that change.
More from the Girlfriends
Looking for a Bible Study that is both practical and powerful? Check out Mary’s E-Book Bible Studies. Each one includes a study guide that you can download for your personal use or for a small group study. Time: Friend or Foe will help you learn how to manage time and set goals.