Welcome back! Today is part two of our series on attitudes, excuses, and challenges. Today, we are going to discuss excuses. Dictionary.com defines an excuse as an, “attempt to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offense); seek to defend or justify.” The author of this quote is unknown but it defines excuses beautifully, “Excuses are lies we tell ourselves so that it doesn’t have to be our fault.” Ouch!
The very first sin in the Bible is full of excuses. In Genesis 3, God addresses Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden fruit, Adam’s excuse was that it was Eve’s fault. Eve’s excuse was that it was the serpent’s fault. No one took responsibility. No one apologized. They all played the blame game and paid serious consequences.
When we make excuses and don’t keep ourselves accountable, we miss out on intimacy with God and fulfilling our purpose. That’s what happened to Adam and Eve. Their purpose was to be in an intimate relationship with God and take dominion over the earth. When they tried to become their own source of knowledge and removed God from the equation, they lost both communion and dominion.
When we make excuses, we choose to submit to a reality that is inferior to the Kingdom. Why? Because excuses aren’t rooted in faith – they’re rooted in fear. Even if we know this, we still make excuses and lack no amount of creativity in making them.
Huff Post says that these are the most common excuses people use in not reaching their goals:
- I don’t have time
- I’m overwhelmed
- It’s not the right time to start
- I’m too old/young
- It’s just who I am
- It’s too hard
- What will others think?
- Fear of failure
If I am really honest, I am a professional at making excuses. I had to face this head on this week. I think everyone knows that making excuses is unacceptable and inappropriate but do we recognize it when we make excuses with God? I went to a couple of people that I trust and asked them to pray for me. I have been asking God to do something specific for me for seven months. They heard from Jesus and basically told me (as lovingly as possible) to stop making excuses and to take action. God has been waiting on me to get my booty in gear and step out in faith. I had made up my mind about where and how God was “allowed” to move in this situation and He just hasn’t been listening to me! How rude! 😉 I have tons of excuses for just this one situation: “It’s not the right time; I don’t know how; I haven’t heard God clearly say that yet; I need a confirmation; Ok- now I need another confirmation; I am not qualified to do that,” and on and on. I hide my inaction (that’s really rooted in fear) behind the excuse that I am just “waiting for God’s perfect timing”. That sounds very spiritual, but it’s really an excuse.
Excuses simply don’t have place in the Kingdom of God. We like to think that we live in a world that we have no control over and that life just happens to us. We are really good at being a victims. We believe things like, “If God wanted _____________ to happen, then He would make it happen.” That belief is very convenient, isn’t it? It requires zero risk. I don’t have to step out, which means no one will see me fail. I even pray things like, “Oh God, that woman looks so sad, please encourage her.” I’m sure He’s thinking, “That’s why I put YOU there!”
God moves through our faith and obedience. God has chosen to partner with us. Nearly every miracle in the Bible was a partnership between a perfect, holy God moving through a very flawed person who bravely stepped out.
- Esther – saved her people because she went illegally before the king.
- Ruth – is a part of the lineage of Jesus because she asked Boaz to redeem her.
- Joseph – rescued a generation from famine because he laid down the pain of being mistreated and served well.
- Noah – was saved from the flood because he built a boat even though it had NEVER rained before.
- Zaccheus – got to meet Jesus because he wasn’t too proud to climb a tree to get a better view.
- The woman with the bleeding disorder – was miraculously healed because she pushed through the crowd and reached out for Christ.
- The Apostles – were filled with the Holy Spirit because they obediently, prayerfully waited for Jesus to fulfill His promise.
If you are in the habit of making excuses, you need to know that they won’t just go away because you want them to. Living in a world of excuses is like wearing warped, broken glasses. What you see is distorted and untrue. Our identities can even be warped because of excuses. That’s a heartbreaking thought at first. But God shows us how we can break the cycle of making excuses:
- Allow the Word of God to change your mind. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will, (Romans 12:2 NIV).
- Believe that you CAN DO all things through Christ. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13 ESV).
- Break up with the victim mentality. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us],” (Romans 8:37 AMP).
- Take responsibility and apologize for wrong actions. “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But whoever confesses and turns away from his sins will find compassion and mercy,” (Proverbs 28:13 AMP).
- Replace excuses with truth. “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” (John8:32 NLT).
Earlier, I listed the most popular excuses for not accomplishing your goals. Below is that list reframed with the truth:
- God is my provider.
- My priorities are in alignment; I make time for what is important to me.
- God is with me.
- I will step out and try.
- Perfect love casts out fear.
- My age doesn’t determine my potential.
- God can do anything – including change me.
- God is more powerful than anything I face. His strength gets to shine where I am the weakest.
- I live to please the Lord and no one else.
- I believe I will succeed.
I have made us another homework assignment so that we can process through our excuses and get them out of our minds and vocabulary. Excuses Worksheet
Benjamin Franklin said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” It takes a lot of mental energy to make excuses and they aren’t productive. They rob from us and hold us back. “You can be sure of this: when the day of judgment comes, everyone will be held accountable for every careless word he has spoken,” (Matthew 12:36 TPT). I say this all the time but Jesus is our example. He never made one excuse. Let’s not make them either.