How to Overcome Procrastination
Introduction: Procrastination is a major cause of waste and failure. Procrastination is defined as, "to defer action, delay, to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost" (R. H. C. D., pg. 1056). There is a common mindset that robes people of so many possible accomplishments. This mindset is often seen in religious matters, defeating Christians and paralyzing local churches.
I. Examples of procrastination in the Bible.
1.The Bible is replete with examples of people who failed to act when they should have.
A. Luke 14: 15-24 contains the parable of God's invitation to man to partake of His blessings. However, the parable shows that many will not partake of God's feast. Some will defer because they have "bought a piece of ground" (Lk. 15: 18). Another said, "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them" (vs. 19). A third said, "I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come" (vs. 20). They each deferred action and missed out on a wonderful opportunity, they procrastinated.
B. King Agrippa is remembered for, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian" (Acts 26: 28, 26-29).
C. Consider the words of, "Almost Persuaded" (number 647 in Sacred Selections For The Church). Stress again the utter waste produced by procrastination, the elimination of even the effort to succeed!
II. Addressing debilitating procrastination.
1. Anterior to any meaningful undertaking, their must be introspection (2 Cor. 13: 5).
A. One way to avoid wasteful procrastination is by having the right value system.
a. As seen in the parable of the Great Supper, each had their own priorities that kept them from accepting the invitation from God. "I do not have time to serve God" simply means people have priorities ahead of God. We must first seek matters pertaining to God (Matt. 6: 33).
b. Successful people in the Bible were always people of immediacy, they did not defer (Acts 10: 33, 16: 33). It has been said that "tomorrow" is the busiest day of people's lives. This is because many people defer until tomorrow what they should do today. Hence, they never really address and perform these tasks.
c. Make a descending order of values. Taking Johnny to soccer, hair cuts, television, sleeping late, etc. Compare all of these with such matters as set forth in: 2 Cor. 8: 9, 5: 14, 15, 21).
B.We must realize that we can tell a lie by lying to ourselves. For instance, I shall, Lord willing, go by and check on sister and see how she is doing tomorrow." The next day arrives and we say, "I know I meant to check on sister but I have to watch a moving that I just discovered is coming on during the time I had allotted to visit sister ." (Examine the statement, "I have to," "I just discovered." It is good that time was allotted. Even better than a mental list of things one needs to do is a physical list (office calendar is often invaluable in the implementing of needed tasks).
III. The emphasis of the scriptures is on "today," not tomorrow.
A. Hebrews 3: 15 says, While it is said, to day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation." Again, notice the emphasis on "today," "For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6: 2).
B. The scriptures not only emphasize "today," but they teach that the Christian is to live and move in the climate of the present day (Matt. 6: 34, notice the principle).
IV. We should develop a hatred and disdain for procrastination, knowing that it produces failure.
A. Christians are not to be failures (Phili. 4: 13, Rom. 8: 37).
B. We need to start viewing procrastination as the enemy that it actually is.
Conclusion: Opportunities come and they go. They are often unseen because there are none looking for them. When seen, many will not act upon them. Opportunities are missed, lives are ruined, and souls are lost because of procrastination (cp. Acts 10: 7, 8, 24, 33, 48).