This season of the year is filled with activities, and we can get so busy that we lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. I find myself in that bind often between working a job, participating in the life of our church fellowship and being available to our family to help whenever I can. Fortunately, God provides some rich guidelines to help us make the most of our time.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul helps us prioritize the way in which we decide what is the most productive use of our time. Read Ephesians 5:1-17 and we will key in on certain verses. Verse 1 begins: "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also loved us and has given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." Our first priority, according to this verse, is to be an imitator of Christ. How did Jesus use His time? He used it wisely. He took time to rest as well as minister. He took time to pray. He took time to worship in the Synagogue. And in all that He did, He did it with love for the glory of His Father.
If we analyze our activities in light of Christ's example, how would this change the way we do things? For many of us, we try to jam too many activities into too little time and something has to give. We either do not get our work done or we exhaust ourselves to the point of sickness. Jesus balanced His time even though He was greatly sought by the masses who turned to Him for help and healing.
As we go on reading this passage, we see that Paul outlines those things which we are to avoid being involved with. Impurity, sexual immorality, crude talk, course joking, filthiness of language. All of these fall into the category of sin. Our lives are meant to be righteous, holy and set apart unto the Lord in all we do. Using our time wisely means we need to be in the Word of God so that "no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience" (vs. 6). After all, we are to be a light in this dark world. We are not to join in as partners with people who live in the darkness doing the things they are doing and talking like they talk. We were once like this, but now, we are children of light Paul tells us and as such, we are to be a witness "and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord" (vs. 10). In fact, we are to expose deeds of darkness, but we cannot do this unless we understand how God wants us to live. This is why we need to find the time during this season to read the Bible.
In the last two verses of this chapter, we have a summary of how we are to use our time: "See then that you walk circumspectly, 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" (vs.16-17). The only way we can understand God's will is by following the example of Jesus that I mentioned above. Being in fellowship, taking time to pray, reading His Word are all a means for us to know how to walk wisely and redeem the time.
Each of us has only a certain amount of energy and ability. Are we trusting our lives and time to God so He can direct us or are we being falsely led by the flesh and wasting our efforts. Time is a fleeting thing and it is rapidly going by us. Who can say when the Lord will return again? Will He find us busy serving Him in the Spirit or will He find us asleep and unprepared?
During this busy time before Christmas and New Year's, let us pray for one another that we might use our time wisely and be a light to those around us. We do not need to get sucked up into the world's trappings and lose our solid grounding in Christ. Instead, let us be careful to redeem the time God has given us that we might glorify Him. Selah!
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