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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

Promises For Overcoming Procrastination

A stubborn problem

I have a problem with procrastination.

Some tasks I love — Bible study, reading, discipleship, evangelism.

Others — revising bylaws, writing policies, organizing events — not so much.

What to do?

Spurgeon said God has a promise for every problem.

So — since procrastination is a problem, that means God has promises that will help me overcome procrastination.

But first —

What is procrastination?

Procrastination is when God calls me to do something, and I don’t do it because —

  • I won’t do it very well.
  • I’d rather do something else.
  • I don’t know where to start.
  • I feel overwhelmed.
  • I just don’t want to.

So — to overcome procrastination — we need to find promises to overcome these barriers.

Let’s take them one at a time —

I won’t do it very well.

Maybe you could delegate this to someone else.

But let’s assume God has called YOU to do this, and you don’t feel capable.

The promise God made to Moses is the same He makes to you, in Exo 4:10-12 —

But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”

Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?  Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

Why would God call a mumbler to speak to powerful Pharaoh?

Maybe God would heal Moses’ mumbling.  Or — persuade Pharaoh through Moses’ mumbling.

But either way — since God called Moses to do this — God would work through Moses.

So — if God has called me to revise the bylaws, God will enable me to revise the bylaws.

Same with whatever God has called you to do.

So we need to pray over this promise until we feelingly believe that God will work through us.

When we do — we won’t procrastinate.

I’d rather do something else.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.  (Col 3:23-24)

Paul wrote this to slaves whose work did not exactly stir their passion.

Picture feeding pigs.  Cleaning out chamber pots.  You get the idea.

And yet they were to do it heartily.

Why?  Because ultimately they were not serving their masters.  They were serving Jesus.

Jesus calls them to feed pigs?  And clean chamber pots?  Yes.

And — Jesus will reward their pig-feeding and chamber-pot cleaning by giving them the inheritance.

So try this.  Pray over those verses until you see that it is Jesus Himself who calls you to make that phone call, fix that faucet, or put together that bid.

Then — think of the inheritance He will give you as a gracious (not-earned) reward for your labor.

Doesn’t that help your motivation?

“Here, piggy-piggy.”

I don’t know where to start.

Since Jesus has called you to this task, He will certainly give you the wisdom to do it.

That’s in James 1:5 —

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

So if you don’t know where to start — start here —

Ask — what should I do first?  How should I begin?

Ask.  He will give you the wisdom you need.

I feel overwhelmed.

Remember the 12 spies who scoped-out the Promised Land?

Ten came back overwhelmed — “the people are greater and taller than we, and the cities are great and fortified to heaven!” (Deut 1:28).

Sounds reasonable.  If that’s true about the people and the cities — why not feel overwhelmed?

But here’s Moses’ answer —

Do not be in dread or afraid of them.  The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes.  (Deut 1:30)

Why were the ten overwhelmed?  They had forgotten God.

Yes, the people were huge and the cities were strong.  But that’s irrelevant to God.

So pray over Deuteronomy 1:30.  Ask God to help you feel that this work is not up to you.

Trust that God will go before You.  That God will fight for you.

Then head into battle.

I just don’t want to.

OK.  It’s good to be honest.

But think about it.  If you don’t want to do this task, that means you see no benefit in doing this task.

But if God has called you to do this task — then there is great benefit in doing it

The greatest benefit imaginable.

That’s what Jesus promises in John 14:21 —

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.

If out of obedience to Jesus I revise the bylaws, that shows I love Him.

Which means the Father will love me, Jesus will love me, and Jesus will manifest Himself to me.

That’s the greatest benefit imaginable.

Imagine revising bylaws — and having the Resurrected Jesus manifest Himself to you.

That would turn an afternoon at the computer into holy ground.

Let’s get to work.

Are there other reasons for procrastination?

Let me know below — by leaving a reply.  Then we can find promises that apply to those as well.

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(Picture by Rennett Stowe on flickr.)

Category: God's Promises, Work and Unemployment


11 Responses

  1. Bill Schuler says:

    Wow, I have been using the “Giants in the land” analogy to help motivate me to achieve my gaol of entering into my promised land (college degree)I totally forgot that God will fight for me. I dont exactly know what that truely means, but Im encouraged that its not all up to me to see this happen.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Bill,

      Love your thoughts, brother.

      Good question about what it means that God is fighting for us. The Israelite soldiers fought, so it doesn’t mean we are passive. Maybe it meant that God would empower their fighting and work through their fighting so His purposes were fulfilled.

      So with us — He will empower our efforts and work through our efforts so His purposes are fulfilled. So as you said “it’s not all up to me to see this happen.” Right on.

      Anyway — thanks for raising the question —

      It’s always a joy to hear from you —


  2. cheryl says:

    thanks Steve! There are a number of big projects at church and I am struggling with wanting to do them, to head them up. this has helped me a lot!!! and I am a great procrastinator!!!! I am now feeling my heart and thoughts changing….will be fun to see how God guides and directs me with the “stuff” I am working through. appreciate your input!!!! blessings!

    • Steve Fuller says:

      So good to hear from you, Cheryl. And I’m glad this helped a fellow-procrastinator 🙂

      Many blessings on you as you head into your projects!


  3. Tiffany says:

    This article was really helpful in reminding me that God calls us to things for a reason & that reason is good. I think I struggle with self confidence & completing things & those make procrastinating easier. Thank you for the reminder of His promises 🙂

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Tiffany,

      Thank you for the helpful feedback, and the encouraging words.

      I am glad you found this article helpful — and hope you are finding God’s promises strengthening you to overcome procrastination.

      Keep me posted on what God does.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  4. guin says:

    i’ve never been a very organized person. with the onset of muscle/joint problems became even more difficult.have been in a mental fog since the traumatic death of a dear loved behind on many important things. please pray for me to take care of things;to be honest sometimes it’s hard to care and do like i need to.also please pray for courage to deal with the consequences of not handling things well. thank you for the helpful article. blessings on you all.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Guin,

      Thank you for sharing your story, and for your encouraging words.

      Are you part of a church community with some trusted believers who can pray for you, encourage you, and strengthen you in trusting Christ? I find that earnest, Christ-centered fellowship is crucial.

      I will pray for you right now. Please keep us posted on how God works in your heart and life.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

      • guin says:

        thank you for your response and for praying for me. church fellowship is very important-i miss being a part of one,am unable to at this time and have no transportation. that’s why i am so thankful for christian tv,radio, and internet. pray for me and others who for a variety of reasons are unable to attend church;that this ‘wilderness’ time will be fruitful. GOD bless you all.

  5. Benaebi says:

    My problem with procrastination is seen in my school work. I am a 2nd-year University student. I have impending finals and I know what I need to do, but just won’t do it. I’ve procrastinated so much I’m behind in school.Every time I resolve to pick up the slack, my current state serves as a deterrent. I want to do better; I really do. I even sent out an email to some friends today asking for prayer…and then after, I idled online all day. I don’t know how to break out of it. Sounds silly, but…this is how it is.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thank you for sharing your story, Benaebi. I will pray for you right now.

      And be confident that as you turn to God through Christ, and ask Him for wisdom, He will help you see what’s going on. He might also use fellow-believers — share with them and have them pray with you.

      Ask Him what’s keeping you from getting down to work. Ask Him to help you. Pray over promises like James 1:5, and Phil 4:23 until your faith strengthens. Then see if the Holy Spirit doesn’t give you the fruit of “self-control” (Gal 5:23) so you are more disciplined in your work.

      Let us know what God does — and thanks again for sharing.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

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