Monday, October 29, 2018

Redeeming the Time

As time goes by, it seems that most people, even believers, have less time. Of course every person has the same amount of time every day, every week, every year. However, how do we make use of the time we have? The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "See then that you walk circumspectly, (careful consideration of all circumstances ) not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians 5:15-17) To redeem the time is, "making the most of your (the) time...making the most of every opportunity...laying hold of, and understanding the special significance of life as a whole." Notice, that Paul does not say "time," but "the time." Believers are to apprehend the significance of every moment of time as an opportunity for a special work for building God's Kingdom.

When the Apostle Paul looked around at the world, he saw that he was living, (as believers also live today), in evil times. All matter of evil and wickedness surrounded Paul, as they also surround us. The evil of these days can cause opportunities to do good to slip away and be consumed unless we act. It’s as if we have to rescue and redeem these opportunities from the clutches of an evil world. It may seem that we are in a tug-of-war where opportunity is in the middle, and we are struggling, pulling one way while the evil days are pulling the other way. However, the reality is, opportunity is not in the middle. Paul is telling us that opportunity is in hostile territory, because the days are evil. The opportunities we have to do good and to bring glory to God are on a course to be swallowed up by busyness and our worldly mindsets. Believers can no longer just “go with the flow” of our culture. If we do, we will find ourselves wasting time and always saying, "I don't have enough time."

Honestly, redeeming the time involves sacrifice. Our top priority should always be, spending time, having fellowship, with the Father and the Son. (1 John 1:3) So, we must look at our lives and see what can be adjusted or even cut out to make time available for God. We must take a candid look at how we spend our time and learn to maximize our daily time with God. Again, this means cutting out the non-essentials in our routine and arrange things so we can spend profitable time every day with the Father and the Son. This requires a change of thinking. The Apostle Paul tells us, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2)

You may be thinking, "well I have a spouse, children, a job that requires much of my time." Know this, God knows the importance of a job to supply for ourselves and family and also know, that family is very important to Him. God is the author of family, and we were created to become part of His divine Family. Therefore, family time should be a high priority in our lives. However, we can find ourselves faced with two dilemmas when it comes to family. Sometimes we can become so busy, we tend to place family time on the back burner. On the other hand we can become so consumed with family we miss the point of what quality time with our family truly is. For those working full time jobs, (especially stay home moms), those in ministry, and or in ministry working a full time job, scheduling a regular weekly family day and or night to enjoy one another is a priority. (Keep in mind I am not saying that we can only spend one day or night with family, but scheduling time is important or time will slip away).

My wife and I have lived most of adult lives working full time jobs, (my wife being a stay home mom for many of those years) and being in ministry with a full time job. So I offer some things that we have found to be successful quality family time. First, we purposefully scheduled a regular weekly family day and or night to enjoy one another and did everything possible to keep it. We did Bible studies; took walks together; went to parks, playgrounds; played games; and enjoy other activities, (to many to list). But most important communicating with each other. Our objectives were to have our children know their importance and value to us, the importance and value of family, their importance and value to God, their importance and value to God's Kingdom, and to have a balanced, productive life as children of God for His glory. (Proverbs 22:6; Matthew 5:16)

Finally, another important aspect of redeeming the time. Everyone needs some “space” now and then, that is, some time to be alone; time to slow down, rest and recuperate. We all need to take some solitude time to think and meditate on what is truly important in life, which includes what God's divine purpose is. Jesus is our example of this very thing, "However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed." (Luke 5:15-16) Jesus also had His disciple do the same, "And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves." (Mark 6:31-32)

It is important to God and should be for us also, to live a balanced life. There is a time to commune with the Father and the Son, a time to be with family, a time to work, a time for ministry, a time to play, and a time to be alone. The good news is, the Father and the Son, through the Holy Spirit, has given us unlimited resources to redeem these opportunities from the clutches, the mindsets, of the world. (John 16:13-15) Through Him we can seize these opportunities, and through Him we can act on them. The evil days don’t stand a chance with the Holy Spirit working in and through us. So, to redeem the time, we must apply the words of Jesus to our daily lives, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (opportunities, if you will) shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) This means that we may need to make some adjustment to accomplish these things. However, if we live by Matthew 6:33, God will show us how to redeem the time. The grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with you all.   

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