Procrastination... millions of lives are less than they can
be or should be spiritually, physically, intellectually,
emotionally, etc., because they perpetually procrastinate.
How do we get freedom from procrastination?
Procrastination is a universal problem a most of us put off
dealing with. Most of us know what to do but we just tend
to put it off and after a while it becomes our lifestyle.
Are you a procrastinator? Do you constantly put things off?
Does this little poem describe you?
Procrastination is my sin,
It only brings me sorrow.
I know that I should give it
In fact I will, tomorrow.
This lesson discusses the causes, costs, and cure for
Have you ever been in a restaurant, the waiter comes over
and you make him go away because you can't make up your
mind? Or, have you ever perused the menu, order and after
the entrees arrives say, "I wish I had selected what you
ordered." Indecision makes us procrastinate, makes us put
off buying a car, choosing a college, or changing jobs.
When I'm afraid I put things off. Any one ever postpone a
visit to the dentist you know you need? Any one put off
needed surgery? Have you put off sharing your faith with a
co-worker? Why? It's because you're afraid. Fear makes us
Perfectionism tends to make us procrastinate. Solomon said,
"Whoever watches the wind, will not plant; whoever looks at
the clouds will not reap." (Ecclesiastes 11:4) In other
words, if you wait till everything is just right, the
clouds and barometric pressure, you'll never get it done.
The Living Bible paraphrases that verse: "If you wait for
perfect conditions, you'll never get anything done." Amen.
Perfectionism will cause procrastination.
Procrastination may be a way of getting back at people that
we don't like, or people we don't want to please.
Have any of you who are parents ever told your children
"Turn off the TV, wash your hands and come to the table to
eat?" Two minutes later you repeat, "Turn off the TV, wash
your hands and come to the table to eat/" Five minutes
later, "....." Why is that? Is it because the show is so
good, or kids are masters at procrastinating to let you
know that they are wanting their independence?
Does anybody have a mate that you've been asking to do a
certain thing for months, and they're not doing it? One
reason may be that they are resisting your control.
Procrastination is sometimes a form of passive resistance.
It may be caused by anger.
The most prevalent of all causes is purely and simply,
laziness. The Proverbs have a great word for a lazy person,
sluggard. Think about that old slug out on your sidewalk
that creeps along. "The sluggard craves and gets nothing,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied."
Our generation has a low tolerance for sacrifice and pain.
I can remember when my great-grandfather worked diligently
out in the field right up into his early 80's. By contrast,
our "couch potato" culture loves the word, "easy." If it's
easy, I like it, if it's hard, I don't. Have you ever seen
how often the word, "easy" is used in advertising? Easy to
use, easy to apply, easy to get. Would these books become
bestsellers; Ten Difficult Steps to Change Your Life or
Seven Gut-Wrenching Ways to Get Into Shape? Who would buy
them? We want it easy. Two common misconceptions about
procrastination are (a) "It's easier to avoid this problem
than to face it" and (b) "It will be easier to handle
tomorrow." No, the longer it is delayed the more difficult.
It's rarely easier tomorrow. Cost
"The way of the sluggard (the lazy procrastinator) is
blocked with thorns." (Proverbs 15:19) Procrastination
always makes the problem worse. What happens when you put
off that leaky roof, and put it off, and put it off? You
need a new roof! Any one ever have a major engine repair
because you've put off checking or changing the oil in your
car? Procrastination turns a problem into a crisis. It
creates obstacles and that's a cost.
"A sluggard does not plow in season, so at harvest time, he
finds nothing." (Proverbs 20:4) The procrastinator doesn't
take advantage of the opportunity to plant, so he doesn't
reap. When opportunity knocks, open the door.
John Greenleaf Whittier said, "The saddest words of tongue
in men are, 'It might have been.'" "If only" are two of the
most useless words in the English language. While we are
postponing, life is passing. Procrastination wastes
hurts other people.
Laziness keeps us from being loving. Love requires
commitment and effort. A lot of people don't want to exert
It's easier to be lazy, than it is to be loving. I can't
tell you how many marriages break up simply because two
people are lazy. They put off doing what they know they
should to do. I've heard couples sitting in my office and
say, "I know what I should do, but I just can't." No, it
isn't you can't, it's you won't. You think you'll put it
off, and it will get better.
People who procrastinate hurt their children. Lazy parents
produce problem children. It creates problems with your
children if you put off (a) teaching them about the facts
of life, when you know they need it, (b) discipline to
build character and responsibility and (c) postpone another
family vacation where family bonding occurs and fond
memories are developed. You're destroying your children.
Procrastination really does hurt other people.
1. Quit making
"The sluggard says, 'There's a lion outside', or 'I'll be
murdered in the street.'" (Proverbs 22:13) If you missed
the point of that proverb, let me make it clear. How many
lions do you suppose roam the Land of Israel, in the days
of Solomon? Solomon is saying the procrastinator comes up
with all kinds of excuses. Everybody else has excuses, but
I have reasons. I ran across something this week that I
thought was great. It was a list of excuses that people had
submitted to insurance companies to collect for accidents.
One of them said, "The guy was all over the road. I had to
swerve a number of times before I hit him." How about this
one? "I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at
my mother-in-law and drove over the embankment." Another
fellow said, "In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a
telephone pole." I like this one, "I've been driving my car
for 40 years when I fell asleep and had an accident." Well,
no wonder, that's a long time. How's this guy, talking
about an excuse, trying to put responsibility somewhere
else. "The telephone pole was approaching fast; I attempted
to swerve off its path when it hit my front end." My
favorite is this last one, "The pedestrian had no idea
which way to go, so I ran over him."
What's your excuse? What is it that leads you to say, "One
of these days..."? The Bible says, "The lazy man is full of
excuses." Benjamin Franklin said something in Poor
Richard's Almanac, "People who are good at making excuses
are seldom good at anything else." The number one excuse
people use for procrastinating "When things settle down,
I'll ________" (You fill in the blank.) I've got news for
all of you. Things will never settle down. They will only
settle down when the Lord comes again.
For the procrastinator "One of these days," is "none of
these days." Stop stalling, do it today. Start now.
If you tend to procrastinate, these three words will change
your life. "Do it now." Write that down. Take a magic
marker, write on piece of cardboard; put it on your
refrigerator, bathroom mirror, desk or on your car visor.
Have it staring you in the face, "Do it now!" Every time
you begin to think, "I'll get to that later," look those
three words in the face and do it now! NASA tells us that
the greatest amount of energy expended is getting the
rocket off the pad. Once it gets into orbit, it's a cinch.
Stop stalling, get started and if it can not be finished
today, do part of it. Do 10 minutes today, 10 minutes
tomorrow, and 10 minutes the next day. See how much you
will accomplish in six short weeks. It will astound
"Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after
that, build your house." (Proverbs 24:27) In other words,
set your priorities, what needs to be done first, and
schedule a time to do them. You don't ever have time, you
must make time.
Schedule the important and the unimportant. Schedule time
for personal and family Bible study, time to be with your
wife, additional time for family and schedule time to be
alone (your quite time). If you don't commit time for
things they simply won't get done. However, just scheduling
something is not sufficient; you must work your schedule
and more than once per day. On rare occasions when waiting
on someone or for something, it may be impossible to
continue working on your top priority task. Then work on a
less important task until the obstacle is removed or
resolved on the top priority task
"Make the most of every opportunity." (Ephesians 5:16)
There was a famous author who wrote his first book while he
was riding on the subway in New York, and he made the most
of every opportunity. Another man memorized a thousand
Bible verses at stop lights. That's making the most of
every opportunity. Wise men and women plan, schedule and
4. Face your
Remember, the main cause of procrastination is fear. When
you're avoiding something, you're probably afraid of it.
Identify it and face it. The greatest fear is the fear of
failure. That's why we put more things off than anything
else. We're afraid we'll fail. Folks, just face up to it,
fear isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of humanity.
Mark Twain said, "Courage isn't the absence of fear, it's
moving on in spite of your fear." If you flee from your
fears, they grow bigger. If you face them they grow
There are two things to ask yourself when facing a fear:
(a) "What's the worst thing that can happen?" Usually it's
not nearly as bad as you think and (b) Recite Philippians
4:13, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
Recite that over about three times, it becomes easier to
tackle whatever it is in front of you knowing God
5. Focus on the
reward for your efforts.
There are very few things in life are easy. Life is tough.
You have to persevere to see the reward. Concentrate on the
gain beyond the pain. Concentrate on how good you'll feel
when you finish the task.
Here is a little illustration. When children come home from
school, if they sit down and complete their homework first,
they will enjoy the rest of the afternoon and they will
enjoy their evening more because undone homework is not
hanging over their head. It's the philosophy "you can pay
now and play later, or you can play now and pay later."
The principle is, "Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at a proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not
give up." (Galatians 6:9) The wrong question is "what do I
feel like doing". The right question is "what does God want
me to do". It's only a very immature person who lives his
life by his feelings. Everything above leads us to the
following two questions.
What is it that
needs changing in your life?
Is it "one of these days I'm going to become a
Is it "one of these days I'm going to get involved in
the ministry God has assigned to me?
Is it "one of these days I'm going to read and study
the Bible daily?
Is it "one of these days I'm going to quit drinking, be
a better parent, spend some time with the wife and kids
or whatever I've have been putting off that I know
needs to be done?
What is it going
to take to get you in gear?
God says, "I want to help." The biggest mistake in life
is to postpone or delay the opportunity for Jesus
Christ to change you and to save you.
" I don't know of anybody who doesn't eventually want
to get their life right with God. They say, "One of
these days, I'm going to make that commitment. One of
these days, I'm going to get my life in order. One of
these days, I'm going to obey God by repenting of my
sins, confessing my belief that Jesus is God, to be
buried for remission of my sins in water baptism and to
arise a new Christian cleansed being forgiven of all my
sins." Why not now? A good intention is only
procrastination. You know the old saying, and it's
true: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
Why not today?
Amazing Grace Lesson
#1200 - Taught by Steve Flatt
1. The Causes of Procrastination.
A and C
A, D and E
B, C and D
2. The Cost of Procrastination.
It creates obstacles. (Prov. 15:19)
It wastes opportunities. (Prov.
It hurts other people.
A and B
A and C
B and C
3. The Cure.
Quit making excuses. (Prov. 22:13)
Start scheduling. (Prov. 24:27)
Face your fears. (Phil. 4:13)
Focus on the rewards of your efforts.
A, B and C
A, C and D
B, C and E
B, C, D and E
4. A procrastinator's favorite expression is "one of these
days I" whereas God's states "Today is the Day."
5. What is the most important thing generally postponed by
Expressing their feeling
of love to a family member
Telling someone of their
sorrow asking for forgiveness.
Salvation, obedience to God for forgiveness
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