I hope you’ve gotten off to a great start in 2014. You’ve probably already dusted off your goals from last year and added new ones for this year. Did you find yourself dragging goals from two, five or ten years ago into the new year?
If so, you may be struggling with procrastination. It held me back from moving forward in areas like going back to college or simply taking a much needed vacation. Procrastination stems from many sources, such as fear of success or failure, indecision, perfectionism, laziness or anger.
According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, procrastinate means to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done today. The bible says, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. (James 4:17)
Procrastination presumes upon God’s grace to give us tomorrow to do what we should today. We live as if God’s owes us unlimited time on earth, when in reality only today is promised. Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”
Most of us don’t see procrastination as the insidious evil it really is. It’s like an invisible python that is slowly choking the life out of you, and preventing you from giving life to others by serving your gifts, talents and abilities in due season.
When we procrastinate, we put off spending valuable time with the family God has blessed us to enjoy. We say we can play with our kids another day, or we can go on a date with our spouse later.
We put off caring for our home and making it a comfortable place for our family. We even put off caring for ourselves, which can lead to stress, sickness and disease and premature death.
Most of all, we put off cultivating our relationship with God by putting Him in second place or even last. You may say, “The first thing I’m going to do tomorrow morning is spend time with Father God”, but instead you spend time on your computer. You say, “I’m going to read my bible tonight,” but instead you fall asleep. Good intentions accomplish nothing.
Just like we must cultivate intimacy in our marriage, we must cultivate intimacy with our Bridegroom Lover, so we’re not tempted to be unfaithful to Him. How do you overcome procrastination? The bible has plenty of scriptures to arm you. Fasting and prayer may be in order too.
My pastor asked this question once during a message and he got my attention. “How do you defeat fear?” The answer? “Take action”. Whether it’s the fear of man, fear of succeeding or fear of failure, you must take action to do the thing you fear doing. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man is a dangerous trap, but to trust in God brings safety.
How about indecision? The bible says a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways and he’ll never get anything from God. (James 1:8) God’s Word gives you single-mindedness to accomplish your goals.
What about perfectionism? Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, ” if you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” But Philippians 4:13 says you can do all things through Christ Jesus, who strengthens you. Just make sure you’re doing what God told you to do.
And Proverbs is packed with scriptures about the consequences of being lazy. For example, Proverbs 20:4 says, “The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing.” The diligent man, however, who takes care of first things first, will reap a harvest.
Finally, the bible states “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27) Agree quickly with your adversary. Don’t put it off.
Are you ready to stop procrastinating? Would you like to become a more effective steward of your time, resources and relationships? Then repent or change your way of thinking. Ask God to help you keep Him in first place in your life. Then everything else will fall into place.
May you and your family have a productive and prosperous 2014!
Advancing the Kingdom,
(P.S. If you desire to learn worship dance, but you keep putting it off, join us this semester at Pure Freedom Ministries Alaska Dance School. Our first class is next Monday, Jan. 27. Click for details.)