It’s a trait we all struggle with at some point or another. It sneaks in without our consent, and all the while we are luring it in by our own volition.
When I hear the word I immediately think about it in the context of school. Students putting off an assignment they have known about the entire semester until the week before–or for some, the night before.
The most crowded time at my university’s computer lab was 11:00 PM. For context, most assignments are due at 11:59 PM. We are warned at the beginning of each semester that if we do it, we will not succeed to our best ability, and yet we find ourselves biting our nails at the last minute praying that we didn’t forget anything.
Then we get into the real world and start having due dates that hold our positions at work on the line, yet still find ourselves procrastinating. Maybe it isn’t all the time. Maybe it is just for that one project we are dreading particularly. Maybe it is for the thing we convince ourselves will only take two or three days of work.
Maybe it is filling our paperwork for our kids’ school. Maybe it is getting our tags renewed or getting a new license when we relocate states. Maybe it’s cleaning our homes when we know friends are coming over.
It is easy to call ourselves procrastinators when there is a hard and fast deadline we must meet to succeed. But what about the ambiguous? What about the thing we know we should do but know that no one is looking over our shoulders to get them done.
A couple of days ago, I was considering why I often struggle to find the motivation for sinking myself into the Word. Is it that I convince myself I am too busy at the moment? Is it because I excuse myself because I read the Bible for work and seminary? Is it because the enemy is distracting me?
Yes, all of these are true of my life. Yet I believe my greatest problem is something I have already diagnosed in myself: procrastination.
And when I dig even deeper, I find that my procrastination is just another way of labeling laziness.
When I put off reading the Bible or praying or worshipping, it is because I am too lazy to create time in my day for the most important thing. I may be committed to 10,000 things or 5 things. I often find myself making excuses regardless. It is because even in my busiest seasons, I am idle. And that idleness comes directly from selfishness, pride, and worship of this world. It comes from a lack of trust that my God is the giver of time. That He who created the sun and who told the earth to circle it could possibly help me circle my own day.
I am procrastinating what I find less important.
I am procrastinating because of that which I might be convicted.
I am procrastinating because the enemy whispers to my flesh that I am good without Him–without His Word.
I might never say these words aloud; in fact, I am positive I wouldn’t. But it comes entangled in other excuses. Excuses like, “I really need to get the house clean right now because my friends are coming. I’ll do it later. It can wait, but this can’t.” Or justifying it by saying, “I’ve read it all before. I’ll just do it later.” Or even the ever-“biblical” response our hearts make like, “there is grace. I’ll do it tomorrow.”
And even so, the Scriptures we avoid say the following things about our laziness.
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The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now, such persons, we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
2 Thessalonians 3:11-12
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When we procrastinate, we will get nothing from the Word (Proverbs 13:4).
Friends, the Word of God is living and active! It is useful to us in our business. It teaches us amidst our lack of knowledge. It rebukes us of our sin. The longer we put off our desire for its teaching, the less we will desire it. We will become comfortable in ourselves. We will grow confident in our own knowledge.
If that describes you, and you are a child of Jesus, pray that the Holy Spirit will revitalize your love for His Word. Romans 8 promises us that if we belong to God the Father, the same Spirit who raised Christ Jesus from the dead can also revive our mortal bodies from spiritual idleness.
Write the word “diligent” on your hand. Use the graphic to your right as a screen saver for your phone. Remind yourself that when we are diligent to pour ourselves into the Word of God, we will be supplied richly with His desires.
When we procrastinate, we become hearers only (James 1:22).
If our public lives are that of believers, but our private lives look like anyone else’s, that is just as bad as the opposite–if not worse! We become the hypocrites we read about. We start to look like Pharisees.
I say this, beloved, because this is me all too often. I write on this blog then live out the sin I speak against.
Our relationship with God cannot be simply for looks. It cannot be a Sunday and maybe Wednesday kind of thing. Our personal relationship with a God who stepped off of His throne and came to this earth is that which makes Christianity different! It sets our God apart from any other God the world claims.
It is easy to get in our own groove. It is often unconscious when we fade into hearers only. But it is unacceptable and nothing like Jesus. Rise early, oh sister. Make time in your day that did not already exist dedicated to entering into fellowship with the Lord.
When we stop procrastinating, we become free from our flesh.
And finally, sisters, when we stop our procrastination, we can be free in Christ Jesus to enjoy His word. We will find the time. Maybe it is in the quiet of our own home early in the morning. Maybe God will clear up time when we don’t think it possible.
We will stop feeling bondage to all the things that fill our lives.
We will start being diligent to love fellowship with our God.
We will become doers of the Word and not hearers only.
So be confident to ask, my fellow child of Christ. Plead for the Spirit’s leadership in this area. Ask God to clear up time. Ask Him to wake you early in the morning.
Then be faithful with that time.
Be faithful to that calling. Read daily. Worship unapologetically. Ask His Spirit to convict and encourage and admonish your soul. And soon enough, our hearts will soon be refreshed like we never thought, like our bodies have never been able to on their own, and like our work has never gratified us before.
We cannot abolish our procrastinating flesh on our own. Even so, our Savior who raised from the dead can also raise our souls from their idleness.
We can’t. He does.