If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them (James 4:17 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Procrastination is one of the greatest sources of stress in life. I once heard a preacher tell the old 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, “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, “There is a better way. Let’s tell all the Christians there is no hurry.” The other demons applauded in delight! “That’s it!” they said. “Our best weapon of all is procrastination.”
Humanly speaking, procrastination is understandable and normal, but procrastination does not please God. We rarely view procrastination as sin, but it is.
“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them” (James 4:17 NIV).
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 exercising 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.
I once attended a leadership conference that changed my life. The speakers did not talk about money or success. They focused on the fact that God created each one of us in response to His unique plan for our lives. One of the simplest but most powerful mottoes I came away from that conference with was: “Do it now!”
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.
“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” (Matthew 6:33, ICB).
Truth is for today. God is not impressed with good intentions. Obedience today is the greatest preparation for every tomorrow. So do what you know to do today?
Father, please forgive me when I procrastinate. Help me learn to be more disciplined with my time. I want to do what You created me to do, Lord. Show me how to live a life of power and purpose.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How well do I invest my time?
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.
The moments God gives us really do matter now and eternally. We are responsible for how we spend them. Each moment in time represents an eternal opportunity. Evaluate your life in light of the questions listed above.
More from the Girlfriends
Need help getting into God’s Word each day? Check out Mary’s new devotion book, Life is So Daily.
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© 2022 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.
Good morning Mary!
Thank you for writing to ME today. I’m among the great procrastinators, and you are so right: it takes as much energy to put off a task as to DO IT NOW. And then I’m exhausted 🥱
I’m working to remember to invite the Holy Spirit into my daily life and defer to his guidance, so that, at the end of the day, the Lord might be pleased with how I have used the precious time He has given me.
Blessings to you!
Thank you, Mary for this inspired writing.
I need help with this! I’m my own worst enemy, and I get in my own head about a lot of life situations. I see that, God is always trying to nudge me in the right direction. Now, I know that my big problem is the sin of fear and worrying.
Recently, one of our church team speakers, told a story of a believer coming to heaven and St. Peter met him at heaven’s gate. The believer asked Peter about the door just inside and Peter told him not to bother with that door, but to enjoy the rest of heaven. Just at that moment, the door opened and the believer saw all these beautifully wrapped packages. When he asked Peter about these packages, Peter told him those were all the gifts that God had wanted to gift him when he was on earth!
I don’t want realize my own unfulfilled promises when I see Jesus’ face!
Thank you for this much needed lesson on procrastination. I don’t want to be the one that misses the true calling, “am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10)
Blessings to you, for this encouragement!
Carol, thank you for the kind words. So appreciated. And I am right there with you when it comes to procrastination. I love that story and use it when I am teaching on prayer. I really do want all God has for me. I pray God continues to bless you as you seek Him.
This procrastination blog spoke to me so much and I can see how I’ve handed it down to my children. I’ve just moved house to a new area and I’m looking for a new church and new activities….but my life is one big procrastination at the moment. With where to unpack things and looking for a new church. Thank you for making me aware of just how bad I’ve become.
Your Sister in Christ. Di
Oh, Mary, after reading your devotion I had to get up and go make things right with my husband. We had an argument the night before and I really wasn’t ready to apologize yet, but I had to “Just do it now” 😫
Thank you for your encouragement.