Archives for posts with tag: procrastination

outoforderYou see this sign and what do you immediately know: something isn’t working correctly or is broken and needs to be repaired.

I was reading an article by Mike Adams on Townhall.com when I began to think of other ways we are hurt by getting things out of order. You’ve heard the old expression, ‘getting the cart before the horse’, but putting things in that order really is a funky way of moving a cart around, especially if it’s loaded.

Putting feelings before our will/our faith.  Feelings or emotions are the last things that should guide any decisions we make or conclusions we draw.  When we forsake our will and its adherence to the Truth of God’s Word to how we feel about people and things, we will always fall short of the truth. How? By focusing our aim on something that falls short to begin with. Not one of us is perfect or completely right so why would I allow my will to settle for falling short because I might feel better about it.  In the end, feelings don’t account for much. If I feel great about myself but I don’t trust Jesus, I’m still lost even though I feel good about where I am. If I feel terrible about myself but I don’t trust Jesus, I’m still lost even though I’ll be depressed when I die. Have faith in God and let your feelings follow.

Putting the praise of people ahead of the praise of God. This is a close cousin of  putting feelings ahead of our faith. Who is going to validate your life? Who tells you you’re good? If it’s people, know that you will be aiming at a moving target for what is an approved response.  If it’s God, know that the standard you seek to attain will be the same: yesterday, today, and forever, though not popular at given times, seasons, or places.

Putting convenience before our commitments. How many good things could we have accomplished if we didn’t give in to procrastination or momentary laziness?  How many times have we excused ourselves from following commitments by saying we will catch up to them later?

Making decisions and commenting on subjects before seeking the Lord in prayer.  How many complaints and conflicts can be diffused before they begin by simply asking the complainer or the conspirator, “How have you been praying about this?”  “What part of the Scripture led you to this conclusion or course of action?”

If you would like to add to this list, please do. How do things get out of order in your life or in the lives of ones you love?  Help me know where the turn-around battle needs to be fought.

Remember, being out of order is meant to be a temporary situation. There is nothing, by grace through faith, that can’t be restored or turned around.

procrastinationIt is sad how I’ve become such an expert on this subject but I hope you can learn from the confession of my faults and find healing and deliverance for yourself.

Procrastination is from the Latin pro and crastinus, meaning towards tomorrow. It is representative of a mindset of indecision. When we procrastinate we have our obedience meter set on tomorrow instead of today, later instead of now.

Invariably, this causes us to put the Lord to the test where we act as if we are entitled to a double portion of God’s grace tomorrow for the single portion of God-given grace we are refusing to act upon today.

When this happens, unnecessary pressure is introduced into our lives. We become forgetful as well as neglectful. What do I mean? God nudges your soul and stirs up your attention to pray or intercede for someone but you refuse this mantle of responsibility saying you’re too busy at the moment or you’ll get to it later but you don’t. God asks you to remember someone in the present but you willfully forget them and go to something else.

Willfully forget enough of these opportunities and you will start to forget a lot of things. And, it won’t be pretty. And, it will cause people to lose faith in you. And, it will cause you to be frustrated with yourself.

Avoid all these hassles and heartaches. Be the person “after God’s own heart”. Your obedience meter is set on the now instead of the later, today instead of tomorrow.

Like I said, I have wrestled with this temptation most of my life but now, thankfully, it is more sporadic and occasional than the constant bother and torment it used to be. What changed? God became my helper. I share how he helped me, giving me SEVEN KEYS to Overcoming Procrastination. I hope they will help you, as well.

simplicityThe function of the pathway of grace is to fit you for living life to the full. Everything is to be done in alignment with the divine will, trusting our lives to the One who raises the dead. We are disciples: saturating ourselves in the Word of God and prayer and coming constantly before the Lord so we can be constantly fit for the people before whom we stand. We have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless we live.

At every turn, the Apostle Paul says, this pathway of grace causes us to live in simplicity and in the sunlight of God. This is the witness of our conscience and the rejoicing of our soul.  We are those who trust the Lord.

But, there are enemies to this simplicity, ways of thinking that complicate our faith or try to shipwreck it all together. The first is the flesh, or “worldly wisdom”. (2 Corinthians 1: 12) This kind of wisdom is governed by feelings and appetites, desires and preferences. It’s this kind of wisdom that leads guys to lead with the wrong part of themselves.

The second enemy of simplicity is following a mindset of procrastination and laziness, of wandering and waste. The Holy Scripture says of God, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26: 3) You cannot find simplicity if you cannot with singleness of heart and mind surrender yourself to the Lord.

The third enemy of simplicity is what I will call a spirit of adultery or a mindset of deception. Ordinarily, you cannot have simplicity if you have multiple causes or loyalties that have to constantly be weighed one against the other.  Yet, the great danger with this enemy is you can simply be deceived.  And, consorting with another Jesus, creating another gospel, or carrying on in an interfaith spirit, the Apostle Paul warns us with great fear, “you (can) put up with it easily enough.” (2 Corinthians 11: 4)

Yes, this last enemy encompasses all three. We can be deceived and think the pursuit of our will is entirely appropriate. Our life is selfishly simple. Or, our life can be simple because we do as little as possible or simply what comes next. Se la vie! Or, we can follow diligently a false trail.

Do not be entangled with anything that robs you of the simplicity of the gospel. Let your life be a single strand that is pulled along by Jesus.

 

donotdespiseJesus warns those who have big aspirations and big plans not to despise the small steps it takes each day to reach them. Many live disappointed lives because they have been told to dream big but not taught to take responsibility for the small beginnings of those dreams.

Let no responsibility be too insignificant for you. Rejoice in how something is done as much as what is accomplished when things are done. If you want a clean house, you can’t despise cleaning. If you want to build a house, you can’t despise laying the foundation.

Don’t trample down your future by stepping over responsibilities that need to be undertaken today. (Make sure of this in all that God has required of you as you begin the new year. Live today not pro crastinus, or for tomorrow. God’s gift to you is today.)

Joseph’s dreams came true because he was faithful over where God placed him while waiting. Joseph also found fulfillment and joy while waiting. (Genesis 41: 50 – 52) It was God’s gift to him.

Do not despise these days of beginning to Read through the Bible. We still may need to learn how to listen for the Lord’s voice in the midst of our reading. We still may have to guard against other things trampling on our reading time.

Know this responsibility may be small but it is an important responsibility. Jesus says, if we don’t learn how to listen to Moses and the prophets, we won’t be able to hear or “be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” (Luke 16: 31)

learning blocksWhat did we learn yesterday?  What was “the word” where you were? We, at Laurel Hill UMC were focused on 2nd Peter, chapter 1.  We are continuing our series on Pilgrim’s Progress and answering questions about what are the key transitions we make as a disciple of Jesus Christ.  November 3, we started with the transition of moving from the kingdom of this world into the kingdom of The Son.  We saw that Sunday that to start our journey from the world of disappointment into the hope reserved in heaven for us we start on the RECEIVING END of God’s love and grace.  We make progress into that hope when we realize Jesus RESCUES US from the world that lies in darkness and draws us into the hope of the gospel, RECONCILING US to God through Jesus Christ.  Finally, we learned that we are those whose lives REVOLVE AROUND Jesus!  We now that our hope is Christ in us!

Yesterday, we built on that foundation to share how we can all move from our doubt and uncertainty to stand upon the word of God’s promise.  Once again, we begin by being on the receiving of God’s grace and ACCEPT THE FACTS of the gospel.  What are the facts? 1. We receive righteousness, grace, and peace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. These are the facts.  The work of God is real and life-changing. Accept it! 2. We receive a new way of looking upon things. Let me give you one example.  How many of you procrastinate?  You know what that means, right?  “To put something off”, people usually reply.  The Latin upon which the word is based is living “towards tomorrow” instead of today. But, what if I gave you another way of looking at procrastination.  What if we defined it as instantaneous disobedience?  Would that change your response or attitude towards it?  The gospel can change our thinking like that and that is good news. 3. We can participate and act differently in life. Something substantial has occurred by grace through faith.  God says we can participate in the divine nature no longer dominated by the nature of sin.

What did we learn yesterday?  We learned to accept the facts of the gospel?

What else did we learn?  We learned we can ACCELERATE OUR FAITH by slowing down on the promises of God.  The Apostle Peter even gives us a template for the practice of our faith where we can rehearse and choreograph our faith until it becomes consistently and constantly effective and productive.  My District Superintendent recently accelerated his faith by taking study leave and walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain.  Years ago, my brother Dennis and I accelerated our reading speed by slowing down to see the whole page at one time rather than trying to see each word faster.  photoreadingI found out years later it’s called Photo-reading.  We didn’t know what to call it back in middle school but it allowed us to read things at about 1400 words per minute.  We learned yesterday that God gives us a way to do that spiritually so that we don’t make the same sinful mistakes over and over again but really can live a new life of faith!

Thirdly, we learned that we are the people who AFFIRM AND REAFFIRM God’s call upon our life.  What is that call?  The call is to possess and practice a quality faith, to be purified from our sins, to be more proficient and productive, and to be prepared for the coming of Jesus. That’s what we learned, yesterday.  What did you learn?