According to U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of New Year's resolutions fail by February. There are many reasons why we fail to keep up with our resolutions: lack of commitment, distractions etc. In this article, we will discuss one of the top reasons for this failure: procrastination. Procrastination is something we face in our everyday lives; it is also something that may adversely affect our Christian walk with God.
One of the reasons we procrastinate is because we think there’s still plenty of time. Isn’t it so, that students sometimes procrastinate revising for exams, thinking they’re still months away? The Proverbs writer had something to say about such a procrastinator: “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep; So shall thy poverty come as a robber, And thy want as an armed man” (Proverbs 24:31-34). There’s still time for a little more sleep, he thought! By the time he’s awake, he finds his estate in ruins.
Really, there could be a thousand and one reasons we could give to leave our work till later. It actually boils down to one word: laziness. As the Proverb writer wrote: “The sluggard saith, There is a lion in the way; A lion is in the streets.” Is there really a lion outside? The lazy man could give any excuse to procrastinate, and not to work.
While we are often tempted to procrastinate, procrastination only does us evil, and not good. For one, procrastination makes our work extra difficult. How many times have we caused ourselves panic and stress because we had procrastinated on a deadline? When we procrastinate on spiritual matters, we make things more difficult for ourselves also, without realizing it. Hence, the Bible repeatedly calls for us not to procrastinate:
Hebrews 3:13 – “Exhort one another daily, while it is called To day.” If we procrastinate to join in fellowship and mutual encouragement, we risk causing our hearts to be “hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
Matthew 5:23-25 – Resolve our conflicts with our brethren before we “bring [our] gift before the altar.” If we procrastinate on resolving our relationships, we risk having broken relationships with the brethren, and we hinder our worship to God!
Ephesians 4:26-27 – Resolve your anger before “the sun [goes] down.” If we procrastinate to resolve our anger, we “give place to the devil,” and risk falling into Satan’s temptation.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 – “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.” If we procrastinate to serve God now, the “evil days” will come when we will become old and too tired to do so.
It is difficult to give remedies for procrastination, because procrastination is something that begins from the heart. However, there are some things that we ought to remind ourselves, to prevent us from procrastinating. Firstly, we need to be reminded that time is short. James reminds us: “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:13-15). Many would put off serving God in order to do their business and build up their financial security (v.13). Can we guarantee that there would be opportunity next time to serve God? Life is short and unpredictable! Instead, we “ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (v.15). We ought to live each day doing whatever God desires from us.
We also need to be reminded that, even if we manage to find time later, we may not find the energy. Were there times that we put something off to later, only to find we are too tired to do it later… and we put it off again? Hence, the wise man exhorts us to serve God while we are young, because if we put it off to the time we are old, we will not have the energy to do anything productive (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
We also need to remember that whatever we do, we are doing to God: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23). In school or at work, we know the importance of submitting our work promptly and with high quality. In our service to God, God is certainly expecting us to do His work with due diligence (cf. Romans 12:11). We do not want to give God substandard work! Furthermore, Jesus warns us that He may come again at a time when we least expect it, and we do not want to be found unprepared (Matthew 24:45-51). Brethren, let us therefore not be procrastinators. Let us not put off God for tomorrow. Let us serve God today.