“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do..” — Ephesians 5:15-17.
Many Christians today find themselves juggling deadlines at work and at home. Deadlines are often challenging, sometimes unrealistic and usually stressful – which is why so many people tend to push back on them. In many instances, deadlines are generally not of our doing and non-negotiable while others are self-imposed. We create deadlines when we overcommit and find our backs against the wall.
On Sunday, we talked about the strategic tool of artificial deadlines. An artificial deadline is a fake deadline. Here is an example: your boss wants a report on Thursday, so technically the report is due on that day. But in your mind it is due on Wednesday. That report is an important job responsibility so you want to ensure it is not only done but done early. Put more simply, it is building in a cushion.
When facing deadlines, seek God as you would in anything else. Start by praying. Going before the Lord to get your marching orders from Him and then going out in dependence to fulfill them can be both a worrisome and exhilarating experience. Psalm 127:1 teaches us. “Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.” When we, by faith, set and pursue a deadline, it drives us to God. He is the One who accomplishes this task, but in His divine sovereignty, He somehow uses us to do it.
Secondly, a deadline can give glory to God. If people know we are a Jesus follower we should have a reputation for hard work and follow through. What if we make our deadlines and fulfill our commitments to the watching world? I know to set seemingly unreasonable goals seems foolish to some, but my Bible says “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37 ESV) We may win some accolades in the process, but our true motivation should be to exalt the name of Christ, and bringing Him honor and glory through this process. And when the job is complete, the deadline has been made, we can pause, stand back, and simply say, “Look what God has done!”
- How do we feel about creating artificial deadlines? Where is a good place to start?
- How can deadlines help unlock God’s power in your life?