“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” – Benjamin Franklin
One of Satan’s most effective devices that he uses against Christians is E X C U S E S. And he often disguises these excuses as “good reasons”. If you give me enough time to give you good excuse, I can talk you out of doing ANYTHING. Just imagine how powerful Satan can be against the Saints if he can just get us to stop doing stuff for the kingdom?
This device of Satan has turned me into the Queen of Procrastination. Ask me what my dreams are, and I can tell you them all. But then ask me why I haven’t gotten started on them, and soon will come an onslaught of excuses! I hate to keep saying, “The Devil made me do it,” but don’t think Satan won’t do whatever is in his limited power to stop you. He has no problem whispering little excuses in your ear to prevent you from executing God’s will on the earth and even from carrying out your own personal dreams.
Take me for example. I want to be a Christian family and marriage counselor. I love learning and talking about interpersonal communication and relationships. I love watching the dynamics between two persons. I’ve been interested in this for a long time. I love seeing people become more intimate in their relationships with others. So this is one of my dreams.
B U T…
You had to know that an excuse NOT TO DO was soon to follow. When I ask myself why I haven’t begun to pursue my dreams by applying to a college, applying for FAFSA, and taking the GRE if need be, I come up with a lot of seemingly GREAT excuses! I don’t settle for okay, decent, or good excuses, I only want GREAT ones. Here’s some of the ones I “like” to use: #1 If I do become a marriage counselor, who’s gonna want counseling from me? I’ve never been married before!” #2 I’ve been studying tough for the GRE, but that math section has me beat. What’s the use in taking the GRE if I’m just going to fail it? I should only take the GRE if I know I’m going to make a decent score on it. #3 Master’s level programs often require one or two recommendation letters on the application. I don’t know who would want to do a recommendation letter for me! #4 And since I would prefer to go to a Christian university, they will likely ask for an official of my church to write a recommendation letter for me. Well, I haven’t served faithfully in my church, so I have no one to write a letter for me. So the college wouldn’t accept me anyway!” #5 I just signed a year-long lease and the school I want to go to is out-of-town. So that means I have to wait a year before I can get into school anyway. #6 I just got this new job, and I want to pay off my two credit cards before I rack on yet more debt from a SECOND degree’s tuition. I haven’t even paid off my Bachelor’s degree student loans yet! I should wait until I pay off some more debt. #7 I don’t want to waste anymore time in the wrong field. I already wasted four and a half years in a major that I don’t even want to work in. What’s the use of going to school to potentially waste two more years? #8 You know the news had a story about how so many people have graduate degrees and are yet finding that there are no jobs for them in this economy. What’s the use of going back to school then? To get in more debt? To waste more time?
“Several excuses are always less convincing than one.” – Aldous Huxley
You guys, the list goes on and on and on. Just ask my friends and family. They will tell you that I keep on coming up with a very rational, yet very useless excuse NOT TO DO.
Here’s the thing about excuses, guys. After I repeat all seven of those excuses to myself over and over again, guess what? What has all those “great reasons” done for me? Did any of those excuses get me what I wanted? Did any of them change my life for the better? Absolutely not. After I recite my favorite excuses, I’m still left in a career I dislike at a job I don’t want to work at with a degree I don’t need.
Satan makes you think that using his great excuses will make you happier where you are in life. He wants you to think that if you keep applying his excuses, you will be content with your decision not to get into the ministry, with your decision not to go back to school, with you decision not to get training for a different job, with your decision not to apply for the promotion, etc. But this is not true! You’re still probably miserable! I’m not saying that contentment and appreciation for where you are in life right now is a bad thing, but what I’m saying is that no amount of great excuses will make you feel any better about something you already dislike. All excuses do is postpone your dreams. You’re still going to want to achieve those SAME dreams, even if you wait a year to start on them or even a decade. And waiting to begin will only make it harder on you because the things that are easier for a single, childless, mortgage-less, career-less 20 year old is MUCH harder to achieve for a 40 year old married mother of five children who is already ten years into her displeasing career and only ten years into paying off her thirty year mortgage.
Let’s apply this to dating relationships. Satan will give you so many excuses NOT to marry. #1 You know the divorce rate in America is 50% #2 You know they say that so many African-American men have HIV because they are closeted homosexuals who will only use his wife as a cover to make him look heterosexual. #3 You know people aren’t faithful in their marriages anymore. He’s going to probably have three affairs on you after you get old and saggy. #4 Watch him flip on you during the honeymoon. Sure he looks sweet now, but he’s gonna get like Ike on Tina on you soon after you marry him. So don’t get tied to him in a marriage. #5 (Here’s a funny one) The world is going to end in a few months or few years anyway so just stay single and focus on ministry work.
“It is wise…to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.” – William Arthur Ward
I’m not suggesting you rush into a new career or marriage, but I suggest you seriously think about these “great excuses/reasons” you hear popping up in your head. Ask yourself did they likely originate with God or Satan? With insecurity or confidence? With fear and doubt or trust in God? If Satan is giving you fearful reasons not to do, then it is because he is afraid of the success that is to come in your future and so he desires to stop you. Hear are some words of wisdom that I have heard a while ago which I have never forgotten: The purpose of fear is to stop you. It wants to stop you from dreaming, achieving, applying, trying, interviewing, speaking, etc. So one way you can know that Satan’s device is at work is if fear is your motivator. If you’re not going to do something, let it be because it’s the wrong thing to do, because God doesn’t want you to do it, because it is a bad idea/bad decision. Don’t let it be because you MIGHT fail, because you may be embarrassed, because it may cost a lot of money, because it may take longer than you think, etc. EVERYTHING MIGHT fail, is that a reason for everyone to stop moving? Everyone who became a doctor or lawyer had great chances of failing in law school or med school. They had high risk of failing the LSAT, MCAT, and bar exam. But there are SO many lawyers and doctors out there! So what if all of those doctors and lawyers had said in their head, “What if I don’t pass the test or class?” Then we would have a scary world devoid of lawyers and doctors! So scratch that excuse out. EVERYTHING that EVERYONE does has the potential of failing. But some people don’t use that excuse to stop trying, so why do should you think that it is okay for you to use an excuse that did not work for others?
I believe that God will use me in the ministry to a fair extent. I believe that I will lead thousands to Christ as was prophesied to me. I believe that I will give hope to so many people with the messages, insights, wisdom, and revelation God has been blessing me with over the past several years. I am excited about what God is going to use me to do for Him in the ministry. So I’m preparing for whenever He needs me. And so because Satan is threatened by the damage that I can evoke in his kingdom, he is sowing an excuse here and a reason there to get me NOT to do. A reason NOT to get into the ministry. An excuse NOT to go to theological seminary. An excuse NOT to open my mouth and say what God gives me to say. He reminds me that I am a woman and that many Christians don’t want to hear God’s message coming from a woman. He reminds me of my age and that many ministers began preaching a younger age than me. He reminds me of my fear of public speaking so that if I am offered an opportunity to speak, I will try to talk myself out of it. He reminds me that I talk too fast and that in times past I have stumbled over my words and stuttered when I was very nervous. He reminds me that I’m introverted. None of these excuses say that ministry is a bad idea, it just tries to scare me out of ministry.
Let the rewards of reaching your dreams motivate you more than the excuses of how bad failure may feel to you. Refuse to take anymore of Satan’s excuses. For every excuse Satan gives you not to do something, give him two happy reasons why you should. If he tells you that you shouldn’t get pregnant by your husband because the world we live in is so perverted and dangerous, tell him that you would love nothing more than to lavish all your love on and raise a child of your own. That you find it so exciting to raise a child up in the fear of the Lord and help that child to be successful and impactful in this world. Now which sounds more exciting? Not having a baby or having a baby? Yeah, the world is full of child molesters and gun-toting schoolmates, but what does that have to do with the joy of raising a child? Don’t let Satan’s fears prevent you from walking in the rewards of your carrying out your heart’s desires!
“Bad excuses are worse than none.” -Thomas Fuller