As Dr. Charles Stanley has said at least 14 times in his daily devotional emails since I began receiving them in 2013, God doesn’t like procrastination. If, like me, you’ve been putting something off, here are some excerpts from those emails to get you moving.
How to Tell If You’re a Procrastinator
“We procrastinate when we tell someone we will take action and then repeatedly delay the start time,” Stanley said. “Or we may begin a project and yet find reasons not to finish it.”
Procrastination Has Two Main Causes
Procrastination typically arises from the anxiety or uncomfortable feelings that doing something may cause. “The second cause for putting things off is self-doubt,” Stanley said. “If we consider ourselves inadequate to complete a task, we may [decide] not to begin it.”
How to Overcome Procrastination
“It’s important to identify any feelings of doubt and discomfort that we may have, confess that procrastination has a hold in our life, and then decide in our heart to turn away from it,” Stanley said. Here are five ways to overcome it:
- Fear, anxiety, and other discomfort means you’ve shifted your focus from Jesus. “The antidote is to bring our focus back to the Lord,” Stanley said.
- Recognize that “doubt is a lack of assurance that God will help us to succeed,” Stanley said. Reading the Bible (or at least searching the internet for scriptures about doubt) will help you defeat it.
- Stop making excuses for your disobedience. “’I haven’t had the same opportunities others have’” or “’I am too busy’” are false justifications, as was Adam’s attempt to blame Eve for his bad decision,” Stanley said. “God always gives us what we need in order to obey Him.”
- Remember that procrastination “can, for obvious reasons, prevent us from achieving God’s purpose for our lives,” Stanley said.
- “Tell God, ‘I want to live by Your schedule and please You by my obedience.'”
Three Common Areas of Procrastination
Just as there are two typical causes for procrastination, there are three common areas of procrastination in addition to praying, tithing, and reading the Bible, Stanley said. They are:
- Serving in the church;
- Sharing our faith; and
- Surrendering our will to the lord’s.
“The Lord has asked us to be His ambassadors, who represent Him to a hurting world according to His plan and timetable (2 Cor. 5:20),” Stanley said. “Therefore, procrastination has no place in the life of a believer.”
Other Reasons God Doesn’t Like Procrastination
Also, “laziness is a sin,” he said. “The book of Proverbs gives us a description of the lazy person. First, he is a procrastinator—somebody who puts off what needs to be done (Prov. 20:4). Second, he uses any excuse to avoid work (Prov. 22:13). Third, he wastes time (Prov. 6:9-11). And finally, a slothful person is neglectful and careless with regard to what’s going on around him (Prov. 24:30-32).”
The Danger of Procrastination
Christians aren’t the only ones who procrastinate, but people who put off becoming one are in danger.
“Every person is going to spend eternity somewhere,” Stanley said. But members of the we’re-here-for-a-good-time-not-a-long-time crowd think they can wait until they’re closer to death to accept Jesus’ forgiveness for their sins. “The problems with this reasoning are obvious,” Stanley said. “First of all, there is no guarantee that you will have any warning before death. Second, by spending a lifetime rejecting Christ’s offer, you run the risk of developing a hardened heart. … Saying no to God frequently throughout your life may result in being unable to say yes when death comes knocking at the door.”