BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (Ecclesiastes 11:4 NLT).
It is often said that procrastination is the assassin of opportunity. Some would say that procrastination is the thief of time. But procrastination is not only the assassin of opportunity or the thief of time but the assassin and thief of destiny.
Procrastination is the reason some people are not able to make progress in life or fulfil their destiny. They have a negative habit of putting till a later date what they are supposed to do. This could be because they are looking forward to a perfect time which would never come. If you wait for a perfect time, you may wait till eternity.
You must stop procrastinating. The only perfect time is the time God is telling you to do something. It’s not the time when everything looks good, when you have much money for the project, when you have plenty of time, or when everybody is supporting you.
Once the Holy Spirit is telling you to do something, do it even if, physically speaking, it appears the time is not right. The time in the future may even be ‘more inconvenient.’ Don’t hide under tomorrow; every tomorrow becomes today. “Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried” (Anonymous).
Ananias, the disciple the Lord used to minister to Paul at Damascus after Paul’s encounter with the Lord, said to him, among other things, “And now, why delay? Get up and be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16 New Living Translation). Have you been procrastinating on giving your life to Jesus or obeying the Lord?
Stop postponing or delaying the action you should take. Enough of unending planning – start! Joshua said to the children of Israel, “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you?” (Joshua 18:3 NKJV). They were to begin to possess the land already given to them by God – no more delay; it was time for action.
You must know the time to pray and the time to act out your faith. There is spiritual work, and there is physical work. One can never be a substitute for the other. Pray but be sure you also take physical steps that are appropriate as you’re led by God. Only then will God give you success. “Begin to weave and God will give you the thread” (German proverb).
When Moses was crying to God before the Red Sea, God didn’t say he should pray more. Rather, He asked him why he was crying to Him. It wasn’t time for more prayer or more crying to God; it was time for the right action. “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Use your shepherd’s staff — hold it out over the water, and a path will open up before you through the sea. Then all the people of Israel will walk through on dry ground” (Exodus 14:15-16 NLT).
Why people procrastinate
1. Fear. This includes fear of past failure or fear of possible failure, fear of what people will say, fear of success (because success makes more demand on you; uneasy lies the head that wears the crown).
If you’ve failed before, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure or you’ll fail again. You’re better than those who didn’t do anything. Someone says failure is not final. You can succeed where you’ve failed before. If you fail once, try again.
You should not entertain the fear of the opinion of people. It’s your life, not theirs. You may even be surprised that many are not even concerned about what you do or don’t do. You may just be a prisoner of your imagination. But even if they say anything negative, what about that? Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe” (NKJV). The New Living Translation says, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust the LORD means safety.”
Fear of success is another type of fear that makes people postpone doing what they are supposed to do. Don’t sabotage yourself because of fear of success. Are you saying failure is more attractive to you than success? Certainly not! Don’t stagnate your life because of any kind of fear.
2. Self-doubt. This is related to fear. But in this case, the procrastinator does not believe in himself; he’s not sure of himself. He doesn’t believe he can do that thing now. He needs more time to be ready! He can say, “I know I’ll do it one day.” But one day is no day. Such a person can even set a specific time but when the time comes he shifts it again. The point is, he does not believe in his ability or capacity to do that thing. Unless he trusts himself to be able to do it, he may never do it till eternity.
Such a person needs to connect himself to God, and see God helping him to do it. He must say as Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV). If it is a God-given idea or assignment, he must see God working in him and not doubt himself. God will give him the ability to do it. Philippians 2:13 says, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him” (NLT).
3. Laziness. Procrastinators sometimes fail to take action because of laziness. They maintain the status quo because they’re not ready to work towards achieving what they’re postponing. Every dream, plan, or goal eventually translates to work, and lazy people hate work. Such people hide their laziness under different excuses why that thing should be done later.
The Bible talks a lot about laziness and diligence. Don’t be lazy; be diligent. “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, o sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep — so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:6-11 NKJV). Proverbs 12:24 says, “Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave” (NLT).
4. Perfectionism. Some people procrastinate because they are waiting for a time that they can do perfectly what they are postponing. They don’t want to use the resources they have now because they believe it won’t be enough to achieve something perfect. They believe that since the resources are inadequate, the time is not ripe – a time would come when there would be adequate resources to do something perfectly. Such people believe that if you can’t do it perfectly, don’t do it all. What an error!
Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap” (NKJV). The New Living Translation says, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”
Someone who does something imperfectly is better than someone who continues to think of doing something perfect but hasn’t done it yet. Something not perfect can be improved on. In reality, nothing done by humans can be perfect. You can’t improve on what is yet to be done. Do something!
5. Crowded schedule. This is another reason for procrastination. A crowded or busy schedule can make people delay or postpone what they should do. Such people need to decongest their lives. They should differentiate between what is important and what is trivial or appointments they should accept or reject. Don’t let what is urgent prevent you from attending to what is important.
Learn from Jesus’ example. He didn’t dabble into everything. He was, thus, able to invest His time in what was important and relevant to His assignment. Luke 12:13-14 says, “Then one from the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But He said to him, ‘Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?’” (NKJV).
Solution to procrastination
1. Have faith in God. With God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27). All things are possible for God (Mark 14:36a). All things are possible to him who believes (Mark 9:23).
Have faith in God. Whatever He has put in your heart to do is possible. It is not just about you; it is about Him working through you if you’ll believe in Him. Paul said he could do everything with the help of Christ who gave him the strength he needed (Philippians 4:13). You can also.
2. Invest your time wisely and have clearly defined goals. Don’t dabble into everything. Avoid crowded schedules. Be selective about what you get involved in. Don’t let what is urgent hinder you from doing what is important. Decide what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it.
3. In case of a big task, break it down into manageable sizes and set timelines. Goals or projects without timelines give a lot of room for procrastination. That means you can do it any time and you will still be within time!
4. If it will require some people to participate, identify those people and enlist their participation. That is, specify who does what. The wall of Jerusalem was built under Nehemiah using this method. Nehemiah 3 states who did what. The wall was finished in 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15).
5. Don’t aim at perfection for a start. For some tasks like products and services, don’t aim at perfection for a start otherwise you may discourage yourself from starting or continuing. But as you continue, you’ll improve and reduce drastically the imperfections. If you’re afraid of not being perfect, you’ll never start some things.
As I’ve said before, in reality, nothing done by humans can be perfect. Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites (Judges 6:11). That wheat may not be the best because of the challenge of processing it in a winepress instead of a threshing floor, the product was better than no product at all.
6. Start implementing the timeline and commit yourself to finish what you start within the time allotted to it. “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished” (Genesis 2:1NKJV). Exodus 39:32 says, “Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished. And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses; so they did” (NKJV). So many projects were started and finished in the Bible, including Solomon’s Temple and palace. Don’t be only a starter; be a finisher.
7. Review the work done at every stage and move to the next stage. God did that in Genesis 1 at creation. We can deduce that from the phrase “And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25). Verse 4a says God saw that the light He created was good. Also, verse 31 says, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (NKJV).
8. Motivate yourself and those working with you by celebrating together any achievement recorded no matter how little it seems. Give your team some incentives to motivate them.
Conclusion: Don’t wait for big bucks before you start; start with the little you have. It’s your seed for a breakthrough. Think big but start small. Look from where you are; start from where you are, not from where someone else is (Genesis 13:14).
Don’t wish you have this or that; use what you have. Don’t despise your five loaves of bread and two small fish (Matthew 14:17, John 6:9). Don’t despise the little oil in your house (2 Kings 4:2). Don’t call your pot of oil “nothing.” Don’t go and bury your one talent (Matthew 25:24-25).
Start that project, that course, that training, that business, etc. now! Don’t wait for a better time. There may be no better time than now. Every day has its trouble. Jesus said, “Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34b NLT). Paul said, “Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days” (Ephesians 5:16 NLT).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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