e-devotionals.org 2003-11-26 - Procrastination

Fatal Distractions Series, Part 5

“Remember, it is a sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” James 4: 17 (New Living)

On the surface you might wonder, “What is the big deal about procrastination?” Unlike the other fatal distractions we have studied so far, procrastination is a sin of omission. Pride, lust and anger are sins of commission, sins we commit. Procrastination is caused when we do not do what we should. It is a sin of omission. James said it best in the above verse: It is a sin to know what you should do and then not do it. That is very clear wording. Now, let’s look at the causes of procrastination.

Causes of Procrastination

Indecision

“They can’t make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything they do.” James 1: 8 (New Living Testament)

Can you think of times that you have been indecisive? In my life, indecision happens when I really do not like the correct decision. I put off making the correct choice, by wavering back and forth between doing what is right and doing nothing.

Perfect Conditions

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done!” Ecclesiastes 11: 4 (Living Bible)

This is the age old “when and then” attitude. When this happens, then that will happen. When usually happens, but the “then” part needs another “when.” It can go like this: When I get that raise, then I will be able to give to my church. You get the raise, but now you think, “well with one more raise, we will be able to give, because now I have that new car to buy.” What are some other examples of the “when and then” mentality that strikes all of us?

Fear

“The lazy person is full of excuses, saying, ‘I can't go outside because there might be a lion on the road! Yes, I'm sure there's a lion out there!’ As a door turns back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed.” Proverbs 26: 13-14 (New Living)

This is my biggest cause of procrastination. Fear comes in all sizes and forms. I may put off doing something because I fear failure. Or I fear success. If I succeed at teaching that Sunday school class, then what more will the church want from me? If I finish this project and it is rejected, I fear what will happen. The irony is that when we do nothing, we fail nonetheless.

Laziness

“You lazy people can learn by watching an anthill. Ants don't have leaders, but they store up food during harvest season. How long will you lie there, doing nothing at all? When are you going to get up and stop sleeping?” Proverbs 6: 6-9 (Contemporary English Bible)

Recently at the National Zoo, I saw a Sloth Bear. He eats ants and termites. As long as he is comfortable, he will stay in one spot and eat. When the insects begin to attack him and create discomfort, he moves on to another spot where he can “lazily” eat. Does being moved from your comfort zone create laziness in your life? Can you think of examples?

Consequences of Procrastination

Causes Problems

“A lazy person has trouble all through life …” Proverbs 15: 19 (New Living)

The more I procrastinate, the more stress builds up and the less effective I am as a Christ follower. Procrastination, like many sins, feeds on itself. Small problems become huge.

Hurts People

Obviously we hurt others when we put them off. We hurt our kids when we say, “next summer, next month, next week we will do that.” We hurt all relationships when we do not do what we know we should be doing.

Hurts God

I am sure we grieve God when we put off doing what He has placed in front of us. God can see the good results, while our sinful procrastinating selves fret over completing a challenge.

Answer for Procrastination

What is the most urgent matter that most of us procrastinate about? It is telling others about what we have as Christ followers. It is omitting the opportunities to share Christ with others. The “Great Commission” becomes the “Great Omission.”

You can apply the following answers to procrastination to any area of your life, home, work, school or church. Let’s follow along using “not sharing the Gospel” as our example.

Stop Making Excuses

“The lazy person is full of excuses.” Proverbs 22: 13 (New Living Testament)

What are the excuses we make? Do you see how indecision, waiting for perfect conditions, fear and laziness become excuses for not communicating the Gospel to others?

Develop a Plan

“Use every chance you have for doing good … make every minute count.” Ephesians 5: 16 (New Century)

All of us need to be deliberate in our daily lives. We need to keep our eyes and ears open for opportunities that God places in front of us to share with others. God opens doors for us. Do you have a plan on how to respond?

Start Today

“Don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” Galatians 6: 9 (New Living)

Start today, being sensitive to others around you. We need to stop looking inward and began an earnest look outward to others. We need to see how our procrastination affects our relationship with others and with God. Like all sins, this one is another wall between us and all that God wants us to become.

On Your Own

We often feel as our lives are out of control, due to putting off so many different responsibilities. To get back to where you need to be in life, it is easiest to start by doing one item that you can control. No matter how small this may seem, just do it.

Today I am going to ____________________________ as I have put this off far too long.

David Massey

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