Procrastination in Righteousness is Irreconcilable with Faithful Christianity
Procrastination is the action of postponing or delaying something. It is interesting that dictionaries tend to define procrastination as an action even though it is technically not acting. Yet the Bible gives plenty of examples of evil deeds which involve not doing the good in God’s sight which one ought to do. These are often termed as sins of omission. One can go to hell for sins of omission alone, even if theoretically they weren’t committing any other sins.
We are talking about procrastination in doing right before God. Procrastination in general is a bad habit, yet procrastinating doing something like ordering a pizza for yourself isn’t evil, even though habitually procrastinating in life is certain to lead to sin before God. Procrastination in doing right before God is the exercise or outworking of unbelief. And that is obvious because it is obvious that walking in a living faith in Jesus Christ involves diligence in seeking Him- and no one can diligently seek Him who is not diligent to be in line with His authority and to do what is pleasing in His sight.
Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
The point is proven further when the surrounding verses are considered.
Hebrews 11:4-5: “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”
Hebrews 11:7-8: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”
Here are some more examples of how procrastination in doing right before God is the exercise or outworking of unbelief towards God.
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
How is this done?
Proverbs 3:7-8: “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”
More specifically, Proverbs 3:9-12: “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.”
And then as Proverbs further elaborates in relation to this, we are given this very direct rebuke to procrastination in relation to doing right before God shortly afterwards.
Proverbs 3:27-28: “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbor, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.”
Closely related, we read in James 4:13-17: “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Those who boast of tomorrow, and think that righteous obligations won’t necessarily be interrupting their plans, don’t sufficiently regard God and they greatly overestimate their own importance too. This is no different than those who neglect the good that God requires which they could have done, but did not, no matter the reason they didn’t do it. We also can gather from this passage that there are times we ought to procrastinate in things related to our own lives in order to not procrastinate doing the good which God’s Word requires of us. These are often not compatible. Many seek to help others not be procrastinators, yet if the goal is becoming the best or happiest or most successful version of yourself, according to God’s Word that is not substantially better than the person who just tends to be lazy about everything or almost everything (though I do think a person with solid work habits will typically adapt to faithful Christianity much better than a person without them if they were to repent and make pleasing the God of the Bible and following Jesus Christ their principal aim in life).
Luke 14:15-24: “And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.”
It’s clear that those who refused the master’s call, at least many of them, did indeed intend to come to the supper at some point. Yet they missed their window of opportunity due to misplaced priorities. They were slothful in the master’s eyes, even if they were diligent in other things.
Matthew 25:31-40: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
The sheep here learned from faithful Abraham’s example or they at least attained the righteous faith of Abraham somehow.
Genesis 17:23: “And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him (Abraham did this in the very same day that God commanded him to do it) .”
Ouch! This resolve to believe and trust God, and to quickly do what He says as a result of this even unto suffering and reproach, sums up the spiritual significance of circumcision in the Bible and proves that it is circumcision of the heart which ultimately matters to God (and God constantly reminded Israel of this; and this understanding led the Apostles to release the gentile converts to Christianity from having to be physically circumcised in Acts chapter 15).
Philippians 3:3: “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
These sheep in Matthew chapter 25 identified with Christ practically by being there for needy Christians and others in evident affliction who came to their attention. They overcame procrastination in relation to righteousness in God’s eyes!
1 John 3:14-23: “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.”
1 John 5:2: “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.”
Continuing then with Matthew 25, verses 41-46: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
This departure into everlasting punishment is what happens to all sinners in God’s sight, including all who intended and/or wished to do what was right before Him, but for whatever reason, did not do so when they really could have.
Luke 6:46-49: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”
Isaiah 1:28: “And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed.”
When will the flood arise? You do not know. Procrastination in righteousness is ultimately presumption then, and inviting God’s eternal condemnation.
There is also the key matter to consider here of the need to not go back on righteous choices which have been executed before God.
Jeremiah 34:13-17: “Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondmen, saying, At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear. And ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name: But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom he had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbor: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.”
Choosing to serve the Lord in sincerity and truth means choosing not to procrastinate in doing the right which you ought to do before Him. When it comes to the pursuit of sin though, be sure you have rather torn your heart from it altogether. Some may think they are repentant over a sin when they are really just delaying their intended return to it. Those who still are attached to sin at heart are still sinners under God’s wrath. The mark of the beast can be received in the hand but not the forehead (Revelation 13:16). The mark of the true God must be worn on the forehead (Revelation 14:1).
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]