I think it's safe to say that all of us can name at least one thing we know God wants us to do. Even though we may not have the full outline of His Master Plan for our lives, we all can probably put our fingers on one particular step – whether big or small – that we know we should be taking. But, if this is the case, why are we often so slow in responding positively to Him?
Society in general would probably lump that 'dragging-of-the-feet' attitude and behavior under the very broad heading of procrastination. But, why do we procrastinate, really? What's at the core, the very heart of such activity (or, non -activity, as it were)? Modern psychology notwithstanding, God's Word is very clear and succinct about just what it is that actually holds us humans back.
Allow me to draw a quick analogy. Just about all the world has heard the old saying, "Money is the root of all evil;" and a lot of them will attribute those words to the Bible. Well, money is not the root of all evil, and the Bible never said it was. It's the 'love' of money (ie, covetousness) that's the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10) – all evil, every stinkin 'bit of it. Not the money itself, but a man's sentiment towards it, his wrong attitude about it.
Now, using the very same logic, Hebrews 2:15 tells us that Jesus came here in order to "deliver [us] who through fear of death were all [our] lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:15). So, it's not death itself that keeps us bound, but the 'fear' of it – our sentiment, wrong attitude about, and general ignorance of it. Fear of death is the great shackle; and if you drill down deep enough, you'll find it at the core of every area in which a person is not prospering.
How can I come to such a conclusion? First, we need to be aware of a couple of things about 'fear.' It's not always recognizable as 'a feeling that scares you,' because it does not always show itself in that form. The word 'fear' also means reverence or respect, as referring to something that you give great heed or attention to. Literally speaking, fear is actually 'faith' that's pointing in the wrong direction. In other words, it's a belief more in someone or something's ability to harm or diminish you (in whatever way – big or small) than in God's ability or desire to protect and bless you.
We must also consider death – but not so much the final 'act' of the body falling over lifeless (and the mortician subsequently making it look anything but 'natural' because of all the rouge … but I digress …). Now, Hebrews 2:14 says that Satan had the power (the strength, might, dominion and authority) of death. And, Jesus tested that the thief (Satan) has come for one – and only one – reason: to steal, kill and destroy. He has come to harm and to diminish, ie, to make you less and less, until you're no more at all. All lack, by definition, diminishes you. All destruction and calamity takes something away from you, diminishing you. All sickness diminishes your body and / or its strength. Indeed, all the curse (as described in Deuteronomy 28: 15-68) is meant to diminish and decrease you until there's nothing left of you – in other words, until you die and are no more. It's death in progress .
This 'progressive' death is as much what we humans fear as the actual final act of 'crossing over' to the other side. We do not want to 'lose' what we have. We're often slow to 'try' because we might fail. And if we fail, we risk losing something – self esteem, the esteem of others; or perhaps something physically tangible, such as money or other holdings. We perceive that failure will somehow diminish us, so we fear it. And 'fearing' failure is really no different than believing and expecting it to happen, and that 'twisted' (ie, perverted or corrupted) faith can manifest in all kinds of rationalizations, including procrastination.
Instead of looking at and respecting the losses (whether real or imagined) we might incur, we as Christians should focus solely on God's Word and the integrity of His promises to us, knowing that we have the Greater One with us – along with all His help and abundant power (Ephesians 3: 16-20; Colossians 1:11; 1 John 4: 4). We should remember that if He tells us to do something: 1) it's a command and out of fearful and loving reverence weought to just go ahead and do it, and; 2) it's really for our own blessing and benefit (whether immediate or long-term, or both), because God does not have a selfish bone in His body; everything He's ever done and said has absolutely been with us in mind. Besides all, if God tells us to do something, it's His will and so He aims for it to succeed – and that's the attitude we should have about it, too.
Just think: What type of attitude would you have if you knew you could not fail? Well, in Christ Jesus, we have such a 'guarantee,' and it's exactly what we should be expecting! (Deuteronomy 28: 8, 12;