By John David Hicks
These words of Jesus were given to a man who said that he would follow Jesus, but not today. In all of life, the choices you make will determine your direction. Your life is a result of your choices. The battle is won in your heart and mind. Proverbs 4:23 NLT, reminds us to: “Guard your [mind and your] heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
Procrastination will make easy things seem hard and hard things even harder! It will steal your time, talent and treasure by delaying, postponing or avoiding a task or decision. Procrastination plants the seeds of self-destruction by undermining your ability to accomplish your plans and goals. Procrastination starts with the feelings of being overwhelmed and the unwillingness to accept personal responsibility now. For many, procrastination becomes a habit and their biggest regret.
Benjamin Franklin put it this way: “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of.” From a biblical perspective, Paul admonishes us: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16). Since time has no meaning or value in eternity all your have is now (Rev. 4:8-10). Your character is established in how you use your time (James. 4:14; 1 Pet. 1:24). At the judgement, you are judged on how you use your time, talent, treasure, tongue and task in this life (Eph. 5:16-17; Matt. 12:35-37). Naturally, Satan and the world system want you to waste your time (1 John 2:15-17; James 4:14-17).
I like Nike’s motto, “Just do it!” The difference between success and failure often is the inability to act. To put off choosing will inevitably make circumstance choose for you. Procrastination makes an easy job seem gigantic. So, “Just do it!” The time will never be just right.
Here are some suggestions to help overcome procrastination:
1. Too many tasks at once can overwhelm you. Divide your time into different slots and break the task down to small jobs.
2. Prioritize the important tasks and set a deadline.
3. Focus on starting to work on the task rather than finishing it and don’t be concerned with an imperfect start.
4. Eliminate distractions around you by telling others your goal.
5. Remind yourself of the end goal and the value and reward you will receive—that will help keep you motivated.
Some common causes of our procrastination are lack of perspective, poor time management skills, perfectionism and fear of failure. Examine why you are tempted to delay. It is so easy to delay starting tasks that may be difficult or unpleasant in favor of more pleasurable activities. Take the unpleasant task on. Research has found that considering a task as boring or unpleasant is more likely to result in procrastination than a lack of capability to do the task well. “A wise person does at once, what a fool does at last. Both do the same thing; only at different times,” said Lord Acton.
One example is cleaning up clutter. It builds up on your desk, your kitchen, the infamous junk drawer, or in boxes that you have ignored. Remember that things are meant to be momentary. Clearing the clutter out of your life—be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual—will inspire a sense of strength, peace and satisfaction. When you start to prioritize what is important, you will start to conquer clutter.
Procrastination spiritually will stop your spiritual growth. This is sometimes called “lag time.” It is the time that elapses between when God reveals a truth and when you finally get around to obeying it. It looks like this:
God asks for obedience in some area of your life → you procrastinate →you stop growing spiritually → God reminds you again → you obey this time → spiritual growth
Procrastination is one of the devil’s most subtle weapons. You put off obedience—after all, you can do it later. This works on many Christians, unless they have a commitment to obedience. Satan disguises your disobedience and claims that you will obey sometime in the future. This makes you feel better, but you have been duped into disobedience disguised as future obedience. The longer you put it off, the more likely you will not do it. A mark of growth in your Christian life is a decrease in the lag time in your obedience. Your commitment goal should be to reduce the lag time to zero and “Just do it!”
So how do you get the willpower? Willpower is about self-control. You gain willpower by practicing willpower on the little things in your life: going to bed and rising at set times, eating healthy, making your bed, and exercising. Willpower is mostly a habit you acquire through daily practice. I start my day with the word of God and prayer. That’s where I get my A-B-C Priority list. If you exercise willpower on little things, you will have willpower for the big things.
The definition of willpower is the strength of will to carry out one’s decisions, wishes, or plans with the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals. It’s the will to take positive action now and stop putting it off. Commitment to a goal will changes the way you think. Don’t let anything get in the way of your commitment. Make no exception. True willpower requires that you have no other options. Your focus is intense, and you are committed to get it done.
When Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7, He said to the crowd that some of them were building their lives on the solid rock and some on shifting sand. Some were wise and some were foolish builders. Basically, Jesus was saying “The foolish builders are those people who just listen and agree with everything Jesus had to say, but do not act on it. James 1:8 says, the foolish are like a “double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” The wise builders, said Jesus, are “Blessed” (Luke 11:28), they listen and act on the things they have heard. The foolish have good thoughts and intentions but never put it into practice. The wise act on it, and the strength and reward follow.
A philosopher from ancient Rome had this to say about our time:
We all sorely complain of the shortness of time, and yet have much more than we know what to do with. Our lives are either spent in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few and acting as though there would be no end of them.” — Seneca the Younger
“Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day” (Luke 9:62 The Message). Whether your procrastination is intentional or unintentional, now is the time to break the habit of procrastination—especially if it is postponing your obedience to God. Let time serve your purposes. Things are not always convenient or the right time. So, don’t let procrastination rob you of the joy and peace of a completed task. Be purposeful, but once you’ve made up your mind, “Just do it!”