For those of you who watch sports, you are most likely familiar with the delay of game penalty. This is a penalty that is given when a player or team does something to affect the pace of play. The team that caused the penalty has to face a consequence. Surprisingly, the concept of receiving a consequence because of delaying the process is not something that is solely found in sports. Our daily lives can also be affected by the delay of game penalties. Although we do not get a flag thrown on us for our delay of games, we are still being penalized. We are penalizing ourselves for the possible progress we could achieve if we kept with the correct pace of “play” in our lives.
Most of us do this without even realizing it. So what does a delay of game look like in real life? In my opinion, it looks a lot like putting things off until later. It’s when we think we have all the time in the world to do something so we put it off until it is too late. We think we can just put it off until we have more time or energy but in reality, we are just giving ourselves excuses to delay. When we put off things we are only hurting ourselves, we are allowing ourselves to delay how much progress we could achieve.
In this post, I want to talk specifically about our tendencies to put off our faith until another time. I have done it and my bet is that you have done it as well. We set out with wonderful intentions to start reading and studying the Bible more but then we put other things in front of it. Our good intentions fade and we delay the start of getting serious about our faith. We say I will start on Monday but Monday turns into next week or next month. We delay where we could be if we had just got started in the first place. We began looking for the “right time” to make the change and adjustment but it never comes. We wait for God to give us a sign to start the process but then it never comes. We can also see this in transition periods of our lives like we talked about last week. During those times we get focused on the wrong thing and can lose our focus and footing with God. When there is a lot of change happening in your lives the most constant things are normally the things we lose focus on. One of those constants is our faith and God’s hand in our lives. When we know that it will be there when we return we think we can just walk away from it and return later. Although it is true that God will never walk away from us and that we can always return to Him we must resist the urge to walk away. We must focus on staying in touch with God and His will for our lives.
When we delay God’s will for our lives we are saying that we know better and our timing is better. We focus on our own selfish intentions and not what God wants for us. We put the importance of self in front of the importance of God’s will. Did you know that it is a sin to knowingly put off doing what we know is right? James 4:17 says, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” In other words when we know that we should be putting work into our faith yet choose to delay we are sinning against God. Our good intentions don't count as progress to the goal.
My challenge for you this week and this month is to stop delaying the game. Put on the uniform (armor of God) and enter the game by starting the process. It doesn't matter how much you do as long as you get started and keep moving forward. God is asking for an all-in commitment, not a sporadic relationship. We cannot and should not do anything halfway! 2 Chronicles 25:2 says, “He did right in the sight of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart.” In the final judgment, we want to hear God say well done not why did you delay so long?