“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15 – 16 (NIV)
Fairly soon into your adult life all the days seem to run together. It is soon tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. You wonder where the time goes. Your young children are in high school, college, and off on their own, married with children of their own, all in the blink of an eye. This is life as most of us experience it. This scenario troubles us because it reeks of stagnation, as very little ever changes.
One reason very little changes is that a great deal of life is beyond our control, including the passage of time. Another, and this one is within our control, is that we think about changing, but few of us ever do anything today that will make us any different tomorrow. We read the latest motivational Christian books, and some of us go so far as to seek advice in our desire to grow and change, but few ever do anything.
Nothing ever changes unless we begin to act according to a plan. There is an excellent quote that defines insanity, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I have seen the quote attributed to Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein, and others. The saying is true no matter who originally coined it. From the standpoint of life with God, if you do nothing, then that is exactly what you will receive. If you want a better, deeper, more effective Christian life then you will need to take faithful action in line with the Lord’s instructions as revealed in scripture. This assumes one of the things you are doing is reading scripture. We must become what Isaiah calls “willing and obedient” (Isaiah 1:19). In Ephesians 5:15 – 16 the apostle Paul tells us to pay constant and close attention to every facet of the way we live. These are dangerous and evil times. Our focus and commitment should be on living every moment of every day according to the Lord’s purposes and in this way redeem the time. This according to Paul describes a wise life.
Therefore, we should ask ourselves a few questions that will assist us in “being careful.” What seeds from God are you planting and cultivating in yourself and others today? For what do you pray, how often and how passionately? What scripture are you reading, studying, memorizing and working to implement. What intentions and actions have you set in motion for the Lord that you have bathed in prayer and that are in agreement with scripture? What are the motives behind your actions, how consistently do you act, and how passionately? Are you actively serving in your local church in a manner where you are being stretched and challenged to grow in faith? Are you acting and speaking in ways that express love to your family and those you encounter? Are you carefully paying attention to how you live, and insuring that the time available to you is dedicated to the Lord?
Pray that the Lord will guide you in how you conduct yourself in life. Ask him to protect you from wasting time, but to devote it to him and live it joyfully in his service. Make a habit of beginning each day by offering it to the Lord. Spend a week or more paying close attention to how you spend your time. Make adjustments as you feel appropriate. You do not need special knowledge to redeem the time. You simply need to seek the Lord, offer yourself to him, and take every opportunity to live for him.
The passages listed below represent only a few of those you could read on this topic. Read these, and then search the scripture yourself for more.
Matthew 7:24 – 27
1 Corinthians 10:31
Ephesians 5:15 – 16
1 Timothy 4:7 – 8
James 2:14 – 17