Postponing Your Procrastination
How to Make Your Clock Count for Christ
I want to talk to you today about one of the greatest enemies you will ever face and that is procrastination.
- How many people know in their heart what they should do, (they
may have good intentions) but they keep putting it off.
- The interesting thing about procrastination is that it is so easy to justify.
o One day, I’ll get serious about my relationship with God or
o One day I’m going to forgive that person who hurt me…or
o One day, I’m going to get back in shape. One day I’m going to get my finances in order…One day I’ll find a ministry and start serving God.
- If the enemy can’t get us to be outright disobedient, his next plan of attack is to deceive us into putting it off…we know what we should do but we just don’t do it.
o Lord, I’m planning on tithing my income as soon as I get my finances in order.
o Lord, I’m planning on serving in the Children’s ministry as soon as it slows down at the office.
o What we’re saying is, “I have good intentions and I someday plan on being obedient…but not now.”
o GOOD INTENTIONS DO NOT EQUAL OBEDIENCE.
- Whenever God is speaking to your heart and you keep putting it off that is going to rob you of your joy and victory and keep you from God’s very best for your life.
- Remember: Procrastination is a Sin: DELAYED OBEDIENCE IS DELIBERATE DISOBEDIENCE.
- HUMOR: I can tell that some of you are already under conviction. (Ushers need to lock the doors) Some of you are wanting to get up and leave but you just keep putting if off.
- I want to challenge you today to be a NOW person…start doing what God has placed upon your heart TODAY.
- P/T: Now, if I’ve ever preached a sermon to myself, I am doing it this morning.
o And I am certainly not standing here this morning as a man who has achieved…I am a struggling pilgrim just like you.
o But this morning, I want to communicate to you some principles that I know are true from the Word of God.
- I want us to grow in God’s wisdom…AND do you know what wisdom is? Wisdom is the art of spending time wisely.
Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
READ Ephesians 5:15-16, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”
THOUGHTS CONCERNING OUR TIME:
1. Time is a Gift from God – “Redeem/Make the most of time.”
God is the Creator of time.
God’s great gift to you is #1-Jesus and #2-Time
The Lord has given us time to work, time to play, time to laugh, time to labor.
We need to learn to see that every day is a gift from God.
Has it ever occurred to you that for you to cease living, God would not have to take your life
All that God would have to do is to stop giving life to you.
Lamentations 3:22, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because His compassions fail not, they are new every morning.”
Every day is a gift from God.
ILLUS: Imagine if your banker called you with wonderful news. He told you that an anonymous donor had decided to deposit 86,400 pennies into your bank account. Now that’s $864 every single day, 7 days a week! But there is one stipulation. You’ve got to spend ALL that money the same day. No balance will be carried over to the next day. Each evening, the bank would cancel whatever sum you fail to use.
Did you know that every morning a gracious God, who loves you, deposits into your bank of time 86,400 seconds every day. (Or 1,440 minutes or 24 hours.)
Now the same stipulation applies because God does not allow any of our time to be carried over on credit to the next day.
- “Life is like a coin. You can spend it anyway you want to but you can only spend it once.”
2. Time Equals OPPORTUNITY
- Paul says, “Redeeming the time.” And that word “time” literally means opportunity.
- You need to see time not just as something that is passing, but as an incredible opportunity.
- So the Bible says, because the days are evil, we are to buying up the opportunity
- As Paul tells us how to live wise ways for evil days, he tells us to take advantage of every opportunity—and this coming year is jam packed with opportunity.
3. Time is Temporal
- Did you know that in a lifetime, the average American will spend:
o 5 months tying his shoes
o 6 months sitting at red lights
o 8 months opening junk mail
o 1 year looking for misplaced objects
o 4 years doing housework
o 5 years waiting in line
o 6 years eating
o 15 years working and 20 years sleeping
- SHOCKING NEWS: By the time a person reaches 35 years of age they will only have 500 days left to really live (If you subtract all the time spent sleeping, working, tending to personal matters, etc.)
Psalm 39:4, “Show me, O LORD , my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.”
- David prayed in Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days that we may present to you a heart of wisdom.”
o Wisdom is the art of spending time wisely.
- Our problem stems from overestimating the time we have left.
- Good stewardship of our time begins with the realization that God has given each of us a certain number of days to live.
I. Procrastination Robs You of Opportunities for SPIRITUAL GROWTH
- You see, Procrastination and Disobedience are 2 shades of the same sin.
- When we are disobedient, we cannot have God’s hand of blessing on our lives.
- All of us have different areas that we procrastinate in (each area is different for all of us.)
o And I’m not here to condemn anybody, I’m just asking you to search your heart today.
o What are you putting off when it comes to your spiritual growth?
- Someday we are going to stand before God and give an account for how we used our time. It will be based on what we have actually done NOT what we have intended to do.
o Nobody is going to be rewarded for good intentions.
- Do you know that the longer you put things off, the harder they are to do…
o Has God been speaking to you about starting that Bible study, spending time in your devotions, having more time with God in prayer, confessing and forsaking that sin or that habit.
o OBJECT LESSON: Noticed a label on the Carpet Cleaner. (The quicker you do it, the easier it is to remove.)
o The same is true of sin in your life—the quicker we confess it, the sooner we can live in victory.
o One of the marks of spiritual maturity is the shortness in time between sin and confession. (Mature Christians don’t let sin build up).
- This principle applies in every area of our spiritual growth—When God brings something to light, that is when you need to take action. DO IT RIGHT THEN! (That is when you will have God’s anointing to do it).
- The longer you put things off, the more difficult it is going to be.
- People say: Well how do I know if “such and such” is the right time? How can I know if it is God’s timing? Friend, it is God’s timing when He is dealing with you about it.
- When we know what is right and we just keep putting it off, we are going to miss God’s best.
- Nike has a slogan to see their sportswear and that slogan is “JUST DO IT” That’s a phrase we should always remember when God speaks to our heart.
o REMEMBER: Time is the ballot that records your vote on what matters in life. (You always have time to do what you will in your heart to do).
- Have you ever heart someone say, “I would like to read my Bible but I just don’t have time.”
- How many of us who do not read the Bible can honestly say to God, “Lord, I just don’t have 12 minutes a day to devote to Your Word.”
- Part of being a good steward of our time is to study the Word of God so we can apply its message to our lives.
- Jesus is not impressed with us showing up to church once and a while. (The devil comes to church every Sunday just to try to keep some of us from hearing what God has to say to US.)
Jesus wants to get in on the inside of us so that He can change our way of thinking and doing things.
- Our aim as Christians should be to be as rich toward God as we can be before the clock stops ticking.
o To be rich toward God is to be in the place of saying, “God I want as much of you as I can have no matter what.”
”God I want to be so filled with your Spirit so that wherever I go, people cannot but help to see Jesus in my life!!!”
- Each and every one of us determines each day how much of Jesus we are going to let into our lives.
o You have as much of God in you right now as you want to have.
o I guarantee you, a large part of it is based on your stewardship of time.
o If you do not have much time for God in your schedule, you do not have time for God in your soul!
- ILLUS: You can want to have as big a bank account as you would like to have. Your bank is not going to limit what you put in.
You can even brag that you have a million dollars in your account when in reality, you’ve only got 10 dollars.
The bank has no problem with you bragging. The only problem is when you try take out more than you have put in.
The bank says, “Wait a minute, unless you invest some more, you cannot receive any more.”
- We want to take more out of God than we have put into our relationship with Him.
o The only problem is that we have not invested enough.
II. Procrastination Robs You of Opportunities for SERVICE
James 4:13-14, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
- This verse simply reminds us that whatever we plan to do for Christ…DO IT NOW!
- James is telling us that tomorrow is the most dangerous word in all the Bible. It is lazy; it is presumptuous, it is reckless.
- The word that God prefers is today.
Hebrews 3:13, “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Galatians 6:10, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men.”
- Don’t miss opportunities to be good to people.
o God is always putting things on our heart to minister to others. (
o If you are out to dinner and God lays it on your heart to buy their meal…just do it!
- So many times, we get so busy with our own needs that we miss opportunities to sow a seed into the life of another and reap a blessing from God.
- Do you know how to spell love? T.I.M.E.
o You cannot love people without investing some of your time in them.
o You cannot love a church without investing some of your time in its ministries.
o You see, when I give you my time…when you give me your time, you are giving me a piece of yourself. It is a part of you that can never be taken back.
o When I give you my time, I am giving you something that even heaven cannot give (In heaven, time makes no difference.)
- Time is so valuable and when you waste time you waste life.
- Every day the clock is ticking.
Each time you look at your watch, look at your spiritual watch and ask, “Am I doing what I’m doing for the glory of God?”
- What are you putting off today? Are you putting off doing something that will be a blessing to other people?
- We’ve got to learn to bloom where God has planted us.
o Paul said, “I have learned to be content in every situation.”
o You’ve got to quit looking at what’s wrong in your life and start looking at what’s right
o It is a shame and a disgrace to Almighty God to waste a day that He has given us.
- P/T: God never ceases speaking; it is we who cease hearing.
There are defining moments in time when His lips and our ears are in sync…just for a moment of clarity and urgency--and that is the time to act
Psalm 119:60 says, “I made haste, and did not delay to keep Your comandments.”
- P/T: Sometimes I can sense God’s still small voice saying “Why don’t you do this? Why don’t you call this person? Why don’t you go to that particular place?”
Sometimes I obey the voice of God…other times, to my shame, I let the moment get by. (I tell God, “Oh I’ll do it later)
And I know deep down that I’ve missed a divine appointment.
- CHALLENGE: What could happen if you got a sheet of paper and listed 50 things you can do for Christ over the next 2 months, and every day you got a new one accomplished and crossed it off.
- Too easily a lifetime has passed and we have done little or nothing of eternal value.
III. Procrastination Robs You of Opportunities to be SUCCESSFUL
- ILLUS: A scholar once surveyed the Scriptures to discover the most significant words in all the Bible. He wanted to find the saddest word, the happiest word, the most emotional word, and so on.
When he came around to the Bible’s most dangerous word, he identified it as tomorrow.
- He said, “That word is a thief that robs dreamers of their dreams and the talented of their greatest achievements.”
- God wants every single person in this building to be successful (Not how the world defines success).
- There is no successful person who is a procrastinator.
o I hope you’ve taken that in!
o If you describe yourself as a chronic procrastinator, that’s another way of saying, “I’m planning on avoiding a successful life.”
- One of the great secrets of success is simply taking each moment as it comes and investing it the best way possible.
- When you read the stories of men and women of God who have found success, you will inevitably discover that they were people who took time seriously.
Let me Give You 4 Principles on How to Successfully Use Your Time (Using the acrostic of T.I.M.E.)
TUNE into God through PRAYER (Prayer Principle)
- It is so important that you let prayer be the key that unlocks the door of the morning.
o 2 types of people: morning people and night people.
There are some who say, “Good morning, Lord.”
And other who say, “Good Lord! It’s morning.”
- Get your schedule from God!
- Every morning I need to pray, “General Jesus, this is Private Brandon reporting for duty!”
- There’s enough time in every day to do everything that God wants for you to do (and to do it gracefully).
- It’s an insult to God to say that you don’t have enough time.
o If you don’t have enough time, perhaps you are doing something God did not intend for you to do…
Either something you’ve imposed on yourself or you’ve allowed others to impose on you.
- I think God has given us just enough time to accomplish what He wants us to get done…but we must get our schedule from Him.
IDENTIFY the Priorities of Your Day (Priority Principle)
- After God speaks to you, it is very obvious that you’ve got some priorities.
- ILLUS: Campus Pastor placing Rocks in Jar (Is the jar full?)
The point is NOT that you always have more time in your schedule. The point is that if you did not put the big rocks in FIRST, they would have never gotten in.
- What you do is far more important than how you do it.
- ILLUS: Charles Schwab (millionaire) hired man named Ivy Lee to come and help him become more productive.
Lee gave him a plan of underwhelming simplicity. He said, “Each evening, write down the six most important things you should do on the following day. List them in order of their importance. The following morning, come into work and do whatever tops the list. When you’re finished move to the next.
Schwab said, “How much do I owe you for this advice?”
Lee said, “Use it for several months and then decide on the value of my plan and send me a check.”
Several months later, Lee received a check from Charles Schwab in the amount of $25,000.”
- Let me turn that around…if someone made a to-do list that recorded your actual use of time in a given day—would you be pleased with that list?
o Everything in your life is measured by time—your career, marriage, relationship with God, etc.
o Will the time chart of your life please you when you give an account of it?
MOTIVATE Yourself with the Promptness Principle
James 4:17 speaks very strongly against procrastination. He says, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
- Sin is not merely doing wrong, it is failing to do what you ought to do.
- In my life, what I want to do is to cultivate the habit of instant obedience before God and motivate my heart to be prompt.
ENERGIZE your Spirit with God’s POWER (Power Principle)
- Now, where most of us fail in our procrastination is the area of will power.
- I heard a good definition of will power: “When you have a job to do, begin this very hour. You supply the will, God supplies the power.”
- This form of will power is really a response to God’s power!
- You see, the power principle is to do God’s will in the power of the Holy Spirit.
o Most of us don’t need to work harder, we need to work with more of God’s power in our lives.
REVIEW: Procrastination cuts off our spiritual growth, our service, our success…and possibly even our salvation.
IV. Procrastination Robs You of the Opportunity for SALVATION
In Acts 24, we have an account of how Paul was trying to share Jesus with a couple of Roman Royalty named Felix and Drusilla. Paul had to appear before them and he launched into a defense of Jesus Christ and how a person can experience salvation. Now this is what Felix did…
Acts 24:24-25, “He sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgement to come, Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”
- Felix said, OK Paul, I’ve heard your sermon, I’m under conviction…but let me just think about it and I’ll consider being saved at a later time.
- It has been said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
o And Felix lays the first brick in his hell-bound highway in this verse.
Let Me Give You 2 Major Problems with Procrastination:
1. Procrastination Does Not Take into Account the Uncertainty of Life
Proverbs 27:1, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”
- The Bible stresses this point over and over again.
- Only today has been placed in your hands; God has set you in time—He has locked you into the present to cut you off from the past and the future.
- FACT: The Bible uses 18 different metaphors to remind us of the brevity and uncertainty of life
- We are not promised tomorrow…you may never have another chance to respond to Christ.
2. Procrastination Does Not Take Into Account the Uniqueness of Conviction
- Life holds defining moments for us—times when God reaches into time and space and deals with us, directly and personally.
o Maybe there will be a tomorrow—we can’t be certain.
o Even so, you may never hear Christ’s voice as clearly as today…you may never have that strong feeling you need to obey him.
o When God speaks—the moment is NOW.
o His timetable and planning is perfect and not for our personal convenience.
o Tomorrow or next week, your mind may be filled with other thoughts…you may not be as sensitive tomorrow.
o Today is the day that God has chosen to get your attention and with God, there are no coincidences.
o DON’T DELAY, DON’T PUSH BACK, DON’T LOSE THE MOMENT.
o Augustine said, “God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow for your procrastination.”
Isaiah 55:6 says, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.”
The Bible teaches that if the Holy Spirit is speaking to us and we refuse to hear…our hearts can grow calloused to the point that we become deaf to God’s voice.
- Some people are always putting off making peace with God.
o People say to me all the time, “I know I need to start living right and get back into church…as soon as I break all these addictions—then I’ll be back in church.”
o Or they say, “Well, I’d be back in church but that pastor hurt me, or somebody in the church hurt me.”
Friend, you’ve got to get your eyes off of people. People will let you down. People will disappoint you.
o I’ll tell you what, I’m only human…I may disappoint you…I hope not…but God will never disappoint you.
- The only way that you will ultimately be happy in life is to make peace with God.
- Satan’s number one strategy in your life is to convince you to “Do it Later!” (Don’t believe those lies).
o ILLUS: 3 demons were graduating from their training in Hell University and they were taking their Final Exams. Satan asked each one of them, “What are you going to do to deceive people?”
o 1st Demon: “I’m going to tell people there isn’t a God.”
Satan said, “You’re not going to convince people of that.”
o 2nd Demon: “I’m going to tell people there is no heaven, there is no hell, this is all there is!”
Satan said, “You won’t have much luck with that everyone can sense there is more than just this life.”
o 3rd Demon: “Satan, I’m going to tell people there is no hurry…Yes, there is a God, but you can make that decision some other time.”
Satan said, “Congratulations, you have the winning strategy that is going to deceive millions of people!”
- The trick of the enemy is to have us put if off
o God I’ll go forward and give my life to you next week.
o God I’ll take that step of faith when it’s more convenient.
o God I’ll reconcile with that person later.
As we wrap up today’s message, there is one question that God confronts you with: What are you waiting for?
- Is it time to say YES to something the Spirit of God has tugged at your heart to do—some mission, some ministry, some calling God has set aside with your name engraved upon it? How long will He continue to tug? How long before the embers of your heart are reduced to ashes?
- Is it time to get your house in order? Time to mend fences with your husband, wife, and children? Time to guide your family back to the arms of a loving Christ and to rebuild the loving home He wants you have?
- Is it time to start pleasing God with the work of your hand? To honor Him in the workplace, to eliminate the practices that bring Him grief?
- Is it time to surrender to Christ, who loves you and died for you? Is it time to turn away from the old sin-life and make a decision to become a lifelong follower of Christ?
o The clock is still ticking…5,4,3,2,1 and there may be some here who will go to the judgment and on to the lake of fire, where we will burn for all eternity in total darkness and tremendous pain because of our poor stewardship of time.
As we enter into this invitation, I want to remind you that everything is made of time, and this very moment rests in your hands…
Your clock is ticking down letting you know you are running out of time to do what God requires of you.
What are you waiting for?
SOURCE: Much of the material from this sermon was derived from David Jeremiah’s Book “Slaying the Giants in Your Life.”