Monday, December 14, 2015

My Sin of Procrastination

               In a few weeks men and women everywhere are going to be making resolutions and setting goals for the upcoming year. There will be resolutions to eat healthy, to quit smoking, to exercise more, to loose weight, to be kinder, to be better people and so on. On and on millions and millions of people will utter a vow to do something in the upcoming year, and less than a fourth of them will actually fulfill these vows. I gave up making these vows and resolutions years ago. After I became a Christian I realized that I never fulfilled any of them.              Let's face it, I made a good effort for the first few months, but by the time mid-February and early March rolled around I had all but given them up. I rarely, if ever, made any of the goals I had set. Why? Because I am a procrastinator. I admit it, I confess it and I pray the Lord to forgive me for it. Procrastination is a sin my fellow believer, and it is for me, the sin that so easily besets me day after day. I wake up with a goal, a promise to do something that God has asked me to do and by the end of the day I have put if all off and promised Him I will get it done tomorrow instead. Pridefully I boast that I have a tomorrow and that whatever it is that He has asked of me today I will do it then, forgetting that tomorrow is not promised to me at all.
             I came to this realization after spending a night steeped in procrastination. I wasted the whole day watching sappy Christmas movies when I have prayed and made a commitment not to watch TV at all! I went to bed dejected and disappointed in myself and woke up asking the Lord to show me what the heck was wrong with me. His answer has convicted me and I pray that His words to me today will be the hammer that finally breaks these chains of procrastination that  beset me. First, let me confess to you what He has shown me buried in my heart and I pray you will bear with me as I lay before you my open heart.
            I lack commitment and I lack integrity. That is why I procrastinate. These two words are very harsh to confess, but I really needed to hear them. They are the humbling truth and the humbling motivation behind my reasons for continuing in the sin of procrastination. God has asked me to give up the TV and to lead a committed life for Him. He has asked me to give Him 100% every single day. He knows I am not perfect, and that when I do sin, He will be there to forgive me and give me grace. But He still asks me to strive for it, to strive to give Him my best, because He has given me His.
          He asks for me to make a commitment to not only keep His word, but to keep mine as well. When we say we are going to do something we are basically making a vow, or a pledge to do what we have said. I have spoken out loud my willing sacrifice to turn off the TV. Yet, what did I do yesterday? The exact opposite. My whole day was filled with, "I know I should, but….." or "I know I need to, but…." and on and on I kept putting off what I said I was going to do in the hope that tomorrow I would do it. In this I have sinned.
"If you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and you will be guilty of sin. But if you refrain from vowing, you will not be guilty of sin. You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth."
Deuteronomy 23:21-23 ESV
           A vow or a pledge is a promise to do something either for someone or with someone. A vow or a pledge can be a willing desire to give up something or to abstain from something. A vow or a pledge is a spoken desire to change, or to do what man or God has asked you to do. Procrastination is the sin of thinking that we can wait until tomorrow to do what we have vowed to do today. You may be saying you don't make vows or pledges. Let me ask you this then. Did you tell that friend of yours that you would pray for them? Have you prayed for them? How many times did you pray for them? If we say we are going to do something, God will hold us accountable for it.
          Procrastination is a sin because it boasts against God. Procrastination boasts that we have a tomorrow when God has only promised us today. Procrastination takes the grace God has given you to do what He has asked you to do in vain. "Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says, 'In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.' Behold, now is the favorable time; behold now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)
"Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring." (Proverbs 27:1)

         What we put off doing today becomes and excuse, and our excuses need to be justified. When we this we become the justifiers of our own sins, to keep ourselves from falling under condemnation. Be careful what you say you will do. If someone asks you to pray for them and you tell them you will- make sure you do it right then and there. Do not be slack in what you speak.
"But above all, my brothers, do not swear either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your 'yes' be yes and your 'no' be no, so you may not fall under condemnation." James 5:12

          Mean what you say and say what you mean. If you have made a commitment or given your word to do something then do it. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:34-37 that we shouldn't have to take an oath, give our word, or make a vow. He is not saying that we won't or that we can't, He is telling us that our word should be so firm that we shouldn't have to. Our words to God and to man should be so true and faithful that we do whatever it is that we say we are going to do. There should never be a cause for us as Christians to have to swear or give an oath because our words should mean something before God and before man.
"Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore, let your words be few." Ecclesiastes 5:2

          Every word of God is for our benefit, it is for our good. He asks us to walk in the integrity of our hearts and mean what we say and to say what we mean. Do not put off today what God has asked of you because we have no promise and no guarantee of tomorrow. Let us speak today what we will do today and let us not fall into the sin of procrastination. God desires us, calls us and pleads with us, as His children, to keep His word and also to keep our words. Whatever we say today, Father, I pray we will be faithful to do it today. In Jesus Name amen and amen.