My youth pastor would always say that "delayed obedience is still disobedience" and while I agreed that it was true, I never truly grasped just how much procrastinating could harm us until now.
We have come to the age of bargaining with our youngest son. Honestly we have been here awhile now, but in the past few weeks it has escalated quite a bit. Let me just start off by saying… I am not a fan.
His comeback of choice of course is… “just one minute”. (Said of course in the cutest voice and his hand bobbing up and down as it motions the number one.)
“Just one minute”
Unless it’s nap time, bed time, put-your-clothes-on-now time, lets-go time, or any other time that doesn’t allow for said “one” minute. Because it’s not. It’s not ONE minute. It’s ONE hour (give or take thirty minutes) and after that time is done it’s another “just one minute” from the small white one.
It’s exhausting. Child you need sleep NOW, not later. You need clothes NOW, not later. You need to eat NOW, not later. So please, for the love, stop putting up that little finger and giving me that cute face because it’s just prolonging the necessary.
Sometimes I want to tie the person who taught him that phrase up by their shoelaces just to teach them a lesson, but you see I can’t. Because it would be a feet of strength to get myself to a tall enough place to tie my OWN shoes there. Because it’s me. I taught him that. Only I didn’t know I was teaching him.
“Mom, come look at my drawing”
“In a minute, Jake”
“Mom, let’s play this game”
“In a minute”
“Mom, I want a sandwich”
“I’m working right now; GIVE ME A MINUTE!”
It was me all along who taught him what “one minute” looked like when I kept putting off things that I only thought were optional when to him they were necessary. It was me. And I am not alone.
If you are familiar with Moses and the captivity of the Israelites then you will remember how Moses petitioned for their release from Pharaoh and when he wouldn’t let them go God released plagues on their land. The first plague God turned their water into blood. You might think God was serious after this one, but Pharaoh was unmoved. But then came the second plague, the plague of frogs, and after he saw them pour out of the river like swimmers after a shark warning, Pharaoh called to Moses saying he would let them go if he would tell the Lord to stop. But when Moses inquired to when this would happen, Pharaoh said “tomorrow” (Exodus 7:10).
How many times do we say in ourselves that we will do something… tomorrow. Why was Pharaoh so willing to sleep with the frogs one more night if he had intended to release them the next day? Wouldn’t he want to have them gone right away? Wouldn’t he want to sleep in a bed that wasn’t swarming with croaking disgusting frogs? Why one more night?
What it boils down to is that Pharaoh had no intention to let the Israelites go... he merely wanted some relief so he asked Moses to tell God that he would. In fact, eight more plagues had to sweep the land, the last one ending his son’s life, before Pharaoh would relent and “Let [His] people go”.
Maybe, just maybe, Pharaoh thought their release was only optional, when God said that it was necessary.
And it may sound crazy and you think how ridiculous Pharaoh is for waiting but are we not doing the same thing with our own lives? Are we not asking God for “one more minute” with our unforgiveness, “one more night” with our offenses? Are we not asking Him the same thing Pharaoh had asked for? Relief from the plague of feeling depressed and dirty without relenting any of our sinful ways or bitterness to Him?
Because it isn’t optional, sweet girls. It’s necessary.
Not for others who may or may not benefit from our letting go, but for ourselves. For our own happiness and our own purpose. So if you can't do it for anyone else, do it for yourself.
The time to let go of our anger is now, not in one minute.
The time to stop gossiping and tearing each other down is now, not in one minute.
The time to replace faith for our doubts is now, not in one minute.
The time to live according to the Word is now, not in one minute.
The longer we wait, the more we procrastinate, the more our stories become ones of destruction and of pain. Pharaoh lost his son and his army because he couldn’t let go. He wouldn't let go. He still wanted a minute, no matter what torment that minute would bring.
That isn’t the story God wants to write for you. I can assure you with every fiber of my being that it isn’t God’s will for you to be lonely, or depressed, or angry, or afraid and yet these feelings can feel like our constant companions. All day long they whisper “tomorrow”. “You can be rid of us tomorrow.” They are liars and thieves. They cannot be trusted.
The time is now, girls, you don’t know what lurks in the darkness of that “one” minute.
Ephesians 4:25-32 (MSG) "What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work. Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you."