Time is of the essence! It is a gift from God. What we do (or don’t do) with our time determines who we will become and what impact we will have for the kingdom of God. I think we established these things in the last post on TIME. However, we still need to take these truths and make them practical. If time is so important, how should we use it? How should we not use it? One thing is for certain. What God says about the use of time is radically different from what the world says.
Ephesians 5:15-21 “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, MAKING THE BEST USE OF THE TIME, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish but understand what the will of God is. And, do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence to Christ.”
1. Use your time to develop a better understanding of God, His will and His word. Be controlled by the Spirit –all else is waste.
“…understand what the will of God is. And, do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.”
This is spiritual wisdom, which is gleaned from God’s Word, and it separates the wise from the unwise. Contrary to popular Christian thought, the will of God is not a complicated matter. It’s no stab in the dark or grab of the wind. It’s not a mystery to be solved. In a nutshell, God desires all to be saved, sanctified, spirit-filled, submissive, suffering, and thankful.
One passage that I always turn to regarding the will of God is 1 Thess. 5:14-21. If we take the admonitions of those verses to heart, then they will be manifest in the activities that take up our time. Learning to be thankful and rejoice in difficult situations, learning how to be submissive to authority and not rebellious, pleading with the Spirit to control our lives through prayer, loving one another sacrificially, etc. All of these things are characteristics of the Spirit-filled and controlled individual. Anything that isn’t motivated by the Spirit (i.e. getting drunk with wine), and geared towards these spiritual aims, runs the risk of being sinful and/or a waste of time.
Instead, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things…” In other words, spend your TIME pursuing these things!
2. Use your time to benefit others.
“Addressing ONE ANOTHER in psalms…”
“Submitting to ONE ANOTHER out of reverence to Christ…”
“Encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
This is counter-cultural! Hoarding and storing up time for oneself is what our culture is all about. Early retirement, endless vacation, ultimate relaxation….it’s all about ME ME ME!! God’s word sings a different tune. It tells us to give our time and energy to others, out of love and respect, and for their spiritual encouragement and physical betterment. Serving others is at the core of the Christian gospel, and we have to do more of it! What’s our motivation? — Christ. Even He came to serve and not to be served.
Disclaimer (but, not to be used as an excuse!):
“Every call for help is not necessarily a call from God, for it is impossible to respond to every need. If the (Christian) sincerely plans his day in prayer, then executes the plan with all energy and eagerness, that is enough. A (Christian) is responsible only for what lies within the range of control. The rest he should trust to our loving and competent heavenly Father.” -Sanders
3. Be thankful for and with your time.
“Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father…”
“Give thanks in all circumstances…”
The Christian life is essentially a continual out-pouring of thankfulness to God. Our acknowledgement of all God has given us, and the corresponding thankfulness for it, should manifest itself in the proper use of our time, as we attempt to give back all the blessings we receive.
Spend time thanking God each day for all things, in good times and difficult ones, for blessings and refinements.