Have you ever noticed that when you have extra time to do something you are more likely to be late accomplishing it? I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it for myself.

I’ve attended and led women’s Bible study groups for decades. With our busy lives, completing the homework each week can be a challenge. Sometimes seven days is just not long enough to get it finished. So, you’d think having 14 days – like a week off for Spring Break – to do one week would result in a greater percentage of the class members completing their homework. But no! In fact, with twice the amount of time, less women finish the week of study.

How can this be? More time results in less being accomplished? It is a strange phenomenon I call the “Extra Time Illusion Principle.”

You may have experienced this principle for yourself. It infiltrates all areas of life. For instance, maybe after the recent three-day Easter weekend you found yourself less ready to go back to school or work on Monday. And your long list of “to-dos” remained undone.

It seems the more time we have the greater the temptation to procrastinate. We feel we have “plenty of time,” so we can rest or play for a while first. But we get so involved in resting or playing or procrastinating and before we know it our time is up.

Not something to get too worried about when the only thing at stake is the weekend “honey-do” list. But what about when the stakes are higher? What if the stakes are eternal?

Sometimes the extra time illusion principle affects me spiritually. I procrastinate on eternal spiritual matters because I don’t consider Jesus’ return to be imminent. After all, He has already delayed for more than 2,000 years. Am I the only one or have you experienced it too?

We think we have plenty of time to give up that pet sin or get serious about our spiritual growth or tell our lost neighbor about Jesus. We will do that tomorrow. Or next week. And then before we know it, “later” turns into “missed opportunity” or “too late” or “never.”

In 2 Peter 3:9-14, Peter challenges believers to live lives that reflect the reality of Jesus’ sure return. The Lord does keep His promises. The Day of the Lord will come. The heavens and the earth will be destroyed by fire.

4 Ways to Battle the Extra Time Illusion Principle

In light of this frightening and glorious truth, how should we respond? What should believers be doing right now, every day? I see 4 things in this passage:

  1. Tell others about Jesus – The Lord has not returned because He wants everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). His “delay” is our time frame to share the Gospel. To tell our lost friends, family, and neighbors that salvation is found in Jesus!
  2. Live holy lives – God calls us to regular repentance and moment by moment obedience to the Holy Spirit. We should not conform to the attitudes and behaviors of the world. Instead, our lives must reveal the character of Christ to the lost world (2 Peter 3:11-12, Romans 12:1-2).
  3. Continually foster our relationship with God – We must be purposeful in pursuing our relationship with Christ. It takes discipline, effort, and TIME. Oh, but this is where we find peace and joy in a world that lacks it (2 Peter 3:14, 1 Timothy 4:7-8).
  4. Remember and anticipate Jesus’ return – God keeps His promises. Jesus will return. It could be tomorrow. Or even today. Find a way to remind yourself of this truth and learn to look forward to it! (2 Peter 3:8,12)

Will you join me in battling the “extra time illusion principle?” Jesus is coming back soon! Will I be ready? Will you be ready?

Have you been a victim of the extra time illusion principle? If so, in what way? How can you battle it?

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