Putting off Procrastination

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Procrastination is a great thief of our time. Its controlling grip on the hearts of men and women continues to be one of the reasons why relationships turn sour, tests are failed, businesses go bankrupt, healthy bodies are ruined, and souls are entering eternity without Christ.
What is procrastination? A popular definition is “putting off until tomorrow what I should be doing today.” But if we’re honest, some days we face the problem of simply not having enough time to do everything we could or should be doing. We have schedules. We have breakdowns and interruptions. Days can be very unpredictable. And we find that there are things that indeed must be put off until tomorrow.
Perhaps the following would be a more helpful definition for procrastination: “Putting off until tomorrow what God wants me to do today.” This definition brings several things into focus which should help to make us more aware and accountable in this area.
This statement acknowledges that God is the giver of time. In Genesis 1 we read that God created time as a part of His “good creation.” By verse 5, we have the first Day and Night, the beginning of time as we know it.
Not only did God create time for man, but God also works in this world within the context of time “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son…” (Gal 4:4a). Even though God transcends time, existing in the past, present, and future simultaneously, yet He still interacts with the human race in the context of time.
Our time on earth is precious and fleeting (see Jas. 4:14). Every day, 1,440 minutes are deposited into our time bank account, and every day, we spend them on something. God is very concerned with how we use our time. “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:16-17). We are commanded to buy up those moments which others seem to throw away, to rescue or recover our time from waste, and to improve it for great and important purposes. Seize the moments as eagerly as men bid for a desirable article at an auction sale.
Procrastination is such a destructive habit; let’s think about what is happening in our minds when we choose to procrastinate.
Procrastination almost always begins with a diversion. The devil sets up plan B – It’s not that we are rejecting plan A that God wants, we are just taking a little detour and coming around back to it later. For instance, we don’t intend to skip our morning devotions when we pick up the newspaper or our electronic device, but one diversion can quickly lead to another, and time soon slips away.
We can’t follow plan B very long until we need to find a good reason why we are doing it. We call this rationalizing. We ignore obvious consequences to justify our behavior. We tell ourselves a little lie so we can keep on plan B a little longer, usually to ignore the long-term consequences. For instance: “I should change the oil in the car, but one more trip to the grocery store isn’t going to destroy the engine. “
If we continue down this path, we will need to create excuses to justify our behavior. “I just didn’t have time,” “I’m just not a good planner,” or “I’m not cut out for this job” are all too common.
God’s desire for His children is that we would crucify this awful habit of procrastination.
Learn to call procrastination sin. Assuming that there will always be another day is pride and presumption. “Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city…Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow… For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (Jas 4:13-15). If these roots have taken hold in our hearts, we need to uproot them through repentance.
Learn the power of prayer. Acknowledge that God has given us all of the time we need to accomplish everything He wants us to accomplish, and invite Him to lead our time management initiative. We need to pray for a clear understanding of God’s priorities and perspective. Time is a crucial battleground in the spiritual war. And one of our weapons is prayer.
Learn the power of a deadline. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psa 90:12). Work will expand to fill the time we allow for it.
Learn the power of commitment. A deadline is only as good as the commitment to it, to yourself, to another person, to God, etc. When the commitment is there, the freedom will follow.
Learn the power of accountability. We all do better if we know somebody will be checking up on us. Accountability is one way we can fulfill the command in Galatians 6 to bear one another’s burdens.
One of the powerful antidotes for procrastination is a heart with a passion and vision to serve the Lord and do His will with what time we have.
Procrastination can rob us of fruitfulness. But even worse, it can rob us of eternity with God. We read the story of Felix’s introduction to the Gospel in Acts 24. Felix did not outright reject the gospel – he wanted to wait until circumstances changed. But as far as we know, he missed heaven because he was a procrastinator.
May God open our eyes to the opportunity and privilege we have of converting fleeting time into eternal value.
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psa 90:12