Read: Colossians 3:23 |
An incident from the American Revolution illustrates what tragedy can result from procrastination.
It is reported that Colonel Rahl, commander of the British troops in Trenton, New Jersey, was playing cards when a courier brought an urgent message stating that General George Washington was crossing the Delaware River. Rahl put the letter in his pocket and didn’t bother to read it until the game was finished.
Nolbert Quayle said, “Only a few minutes’ delay cost him his life, his honor, and the liberty of his soldiers. Tomorrow is the excuse of the lazy and refuge of the incompetent.”
Procrastination is the act of willfully delaying doing something or completing something that should be done. In this devotional, we will explore what the Bible says about procrastination.
Procrastination – I plan to start serving God more, when ________
Like many others, I have said, “I plan to start serving God more or doing what He says when fill-in-the-blank.”
Typically, we have a ready-made rationale for procrastinating. On the surface, the rationale is no different from the rationale we use for why we don’t exercise more, eat more healthy foods or any other things that we are gonna do sometime soon.
The common theme is a failure to launch.
We may be on the launch pad counting the days to when we plan to start. As the launch window approaches, we may develop a fear (Proverbs 29:25), or a sense of a bad timing, or indecisiveness (James 1:8), or something is not quite right (Ecclesiastes 11:4) or even laziness (Proverbs 13:4). The rationale causes us to scrub the launch, and we look for a new launch date tomorrow or soon.
For procrastinators, tomorrow is the busiest day of their lives. This is because they defer until tomorrow what they could do today. Hence, each successive tomorrow feels more and more cumbersome and busy.
Procrastination defeats our purpose and pauses our potential
The Bible does not use the word procrastinate but it does address the definition of the term and provides examples. The Bible speaks of laziness and slothfulness which is at the core of procrastination. It tells us things that we should be slow to do:
- Slow to speak (James 1:9)
- Slow to anger (Proverbs 14:29; 15:18; James 1:9)
The Bible also tells us there are things that we should not delay:
- Repaying a vow to God (Deuteronomy 23:21)
- Reconciling an offense with a brother or sister (Matthew 5:23-24)
- Letting the sun go down on our anger (Ephesians 4:26)
- Sharing the gospel with the lost (Luke 14:21)
- Responding to the gospel (James 4:13-14; Hebrews 3:12-13,15)
- Working to stay prepared for His coming (Matthew 25:13)
Biblical examples of procrastination also provide us a template for how to handle this temptation. Do you remember in Exodus, when the nation of Israel delayed entry into the Promised Land because of fear? Their delay resulted in forty years of wandering in the wilderness.
When Paul defended himself before King Agrippa, the king was nearly being persuaded to accept Christ. His postponement had eternal consequences [Acts 26:28]. These two examples reveal that procrastination can impact not only our lives, but also our eternity.
Our eternity begins today, right now! Psalm 118:24a (NASB) says that “This is the day which the Lord has made”, today! The Bible uses words such as this, now, then and many others that invoke a sense of today, not tomorrow. [Hebrews 3:15, 2 Corinthians 6:2; Matthew 6:34]
Thus, our challenge, is to launch – today!
Allow the Holy Spirit to encourage and strengthen you to overcome every rationale that causes your failure to launch. By His power, the Holy Spirit can ignite your diligence and perseverance to achieve lift-off. You will now be able soar with wings like eagles, you will run and not get tired, you will walk and not become weary in pursuing your purpose in Christ. [Isaiah 40:31 modified]
Series Outline with links:
1. Reward – Serve Him for the reward of His fellowship and presence in your life
2. Fear – Serve Him with a reverent fear and respect for His power, presence and protection
3. Duty – Serve Him dutifully; we are called to serve Him
4. Love – Serve with all your heart, soul and mind
5. Joy – Serve Him joyfully; the joy of the Lord is our strength
1. Temptation and Sin – Cannot serve Him because I’m not “holy” enough
2. Burn-out Part 1 – Cannot serve Him because I’ve lost motivation and energy
3. Burn-out Part 2 – Solution – Cannot serve Him because I need to refuel and reload
4. Rationalization – Cannot serve Him because I don’t have the time, talent, treasure necessary
5. Procrastination– Cannot serve Him because I’m not able to find the right opportunity and follow through
1. Discover –
A. In what areas of life do you tend to procrastinate?
B. In what areas of life to you tend to be more action oriented?
2. Develop –
A. When it comes to serving God, are there areas of your life that you used to procrastinate but now serve without delay? What caused the change?
B. Do you agree that procrastination is self-sabotage?
3. Demonstrate –
A. What are some victories over procrastination that you can share?
B. Share a defeat that procrastination caused you and what did you learn from it?