Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, 'Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow’ (Proverbs 3:27-28, NIV).
Friend to Friend
I once heard a preacher tell the 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.”
According to Webster’s dictionary, to procrastinate is to “put off intentionally and habitually.” Procrastination is not an accident. It is an intentional action that leads to a habit – a bad habit.
Procrastination is understandable and normal – humanly speaking – but procrastination does not please God. We rarely 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 brings pleasure for only a moment. 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.
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.
Do you realize that it takes as much energy to avoid a task as it does to just do it? Procrastination drains energy while action produces energy. God empowers us to do what He calls us to do.
Matthew 6:33 (NCV) “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.”
Truth is for today. When we hear God speak, we need to obey His voice 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 – like the Proverbs 31 woman did.
Proverbs 31:25 tells us she could “laugh at the days to come.” 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 because she lived out God’s purpose.
Think of procrastinating as putting off your blessings and resist it with the Holy Spirit power that abides in you. Then go ahead and take that first step toward the victory and success that God has in store for you!
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 instead of my own.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Ask yourself the following questions.
- What one change can I make this week to overcome procrastination?
- Ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable to make that change.
More from the Girlfriends
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Oh, Mary, you spoke to my heart with this devotional. I needed every word of it today. I am so disobedient when it comes to procrastination. Thank you for bringing it to the forefront and calling it the sin that it is. I appreciate you opening my eyes to this life lesson.
Bless you, Mary
This is a subject that I’ve been asking God to help me with, thanks for this posting.
I’ve been asking to be a better example of Jesus in my everyday. So, many people we come in contact with, and so little testimony!
So, I now, carry a tablet of prayers and Scriptures with me; so that even if my encounters are so brief, I can lovingly tear out a page and pass it on.
Just yesterday, at my Dr’s. ofc. I gave one to the ofc. nurse who just lost her husband. She’s in pain and needed a boost.
God doesn’t ask us to be elaborate like a pastor…just to be available, in the moment.
I want to be more like that Proverbs 31 Woman! I had a Aunt Anne, that lived that way!Even when she was unable to get out to her church every week, she started a “home-church” in her apartment building and she lead a Bible study. She was in her early 90’s and could recite scripture and still sing! She left us, in 2015 at the age of 99. I miss her strong and gentle spirit, everyday. She was the example of being “the hands and feet of Jesus”.
Oh, wow – this one hit me right in the heart today. I have struggled with procrastination my whole life to one degree or another. Lately I have been praying for changes in this area and while trying out some different apps have helped a little, it’s on a superficial level. This message spoke to me in a way I needed and addresses the issue at a deeper level that will make me think twice the next time I consider putting off something. Mary, thank you so much for helping me see the reality of my procrastinating ways.
Thank you God and Thank you Mary. I almost didn’t finish this one and now I feel like I should read it every day. I have done better with procrastination but this devotional puts it in great perspective to help me keep moving forward and not be satisfied with minor growth.
If procrastination was a person, I think it might be me. I have struggled my entire adult life. It was difficult to complete assignments and study when I attended university. I am seeing the need for change
It may also help if I make a manual note of things I must do.
Thank you for this.
For years I’ve asked friends, and small groups to pray for me and time management! No one has ever called me out on being a procrastinator! Wow! THANK YOU! It never dawned on me that my procrastination is a sin! THANK YOU!
Thank you for this lesson, this is something I needed. I have been so focused on social media and wondering what is going on in others lives instead of focusing on what God wants me to do. I have learned my lesson and have started to be obedient to God rather than to the world. Thank you for this passage it has helped to understand that procrastination is sin and I need to stay focused on God. THANK YOU !