JAMES 4:13-14 -Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
THEME OF THE DAY. THE DANGER OF PUTTING OFF. It is one of the subtlest of sins; one easily allowed in life; and, if tolerated, produces significant spiritual damage. This “it” is the sin of spiritual procrastination. We define it as “putting off known spiritual duties to a not promised tomorrow.” It is seen in neglect of the Bible and prayer; inconsistency in church attendance, and not serving other Christians. Basically, spiritual procrastination is putting off obeying known commands of God. And the danger? It produces a backslidden condition; a condition of spiritual indifference leaving a soul spiritually dry and a condition that will not be restored without painful, gut-wrenching repentance and lifestyle change. And this repentance will be a Psalm 51-type. So before we have to write our own version of Psalm 51 because of backsliding, what are some things we may do, or attitudes we may adopt?
First, understand what really lies behind all spiritual procrastination or putting off known commands of God. It is a lack of love for God. That is what makes this sin so serious. Jesus said, “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” (John 14:21). Our love for the Lord is measured by practice, not profession. We cannot “wiggle” ourselves out of this . . . spiritual procrastination is a mask for disobedience and uncovers a lack of love for God.
Next, commit to praying “dependent prayers” on the Spirit of God to keep us spiritually sensitive to and fight against the signs of backsliding. And what are those signs? Here are twenty provided by Richard Owen Roberts, a recognized church historian and subject matter expert on revival – 1. Prayer ceases to be a vital part of your life. 2. The quest for biblical truth ceases. 3. Biblical knowledge is not applied inwardly. 4. Thoughts are predominantly earthly and not heavenward. 5. The church service loses its delight. 6. Spiritual discussions are a source of embarrassment. 7. More time is devoted to recreation and entertainment than the Word and prayer. 8. Sins can be committed without any violation of the conscience. 9. Aspirations for Christlike holiness cease to dominate your life and thinking. 10. Your mind is focused on the acquisition of money and goods. 11. Religious songs can be mouthed without engaging the heart. 12. When hearing the Lord’s Name taken in vain, you are not moved to indignation. 13. Watching degrading movies becomes entertaining and acceptable. 14. Breaches of peace in the church are of no concern. 15. The slightest excuse keeps you from your spiritual duties. 16. The lack of spiritual power is met with contentment. 17. Personal sins are pardoned by a belief that the Lord understands. 18. An adjustment to the world is made with ease. 19. Nothing is done to relieve the misery and suffering which exists around you. 20. There is no concern for the lost or sharing the gospel.” Let’s do ourselves a “spiritual favor” and get alone with God, with this list, and do some spiritual examination. It will be good for our souls and might identify areas in our walk with the Lord needing attention.
A third thing is don’t delay any obedience to known commands. Refuse the self-deception and then justification for not obeying. We must not say, “I don’t have time” or “maybe after I get through this season of life.” Today is all we have and there will never be an easier season in life to obey the Lord. The devil, flesh, and world will ensure that doesn’t happen. May God help us to avoid spiritual procrastination for His glory and our good.
PRAYER: “Father, please help me not to drift into the easy pattern of spiritual neglect leading to me becoming a backslider.”
QUOTE: “Watch every day for signs of backsliding. Without this watchfulness, the condition will come upon us with ease.”