Using Your Time Well...
The way you spend your time matters. Although we all know our life had a beginning and will have an end, we often don't live like it. We continue on in destructive patterns, life stealing patterns of thought, speech and living, always pushing off the things that we'll get to eventually.
Having a sharp focus on the fact that there is an end brings things into sharp focus, allowing us to make better decisions now that will leave us with fewer regrets. It's to that end that King David wrote this in the Psalms:
“O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!" - Psalm 39:4,5
THE BIG QUESTION
Here's an important question for you:
If you knew there was a way to make the most of your time, would you do it?
Most of us read that and think of course I would! If someone was to tell me how to make the most effective use of my time here on this earth, I would be foolish not to do it!
The Bible has an unrivaled authoirty to speak into the most effective use of our life and time, being that it is the very word of God - who invented and sits outside of time, knows everything about our lives, when we rise up and go to sleep, each word and thought before it is formed.
It outlines, in Paul's letter to the Ephesians, what wise use of time looks like:
"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 the Lord 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 for Christ." - EPHESIANS 5:15-21
THE BOTTOM LINE
In other words: Be careful, make the most of your time or it could slip away from you. Interestingly though, the instruction to make the most of your time is not followed by a list of practical steps to lead an effective life but rather with a vision of a lifestyle we are invited to step into.
It's a lifestyle marked by three things:
1. PRAISING GOD PERSONALLY AND IN COMMUNITY. This speaks of being fixated on Jesus, living a life that is a melody of praise to God and an encouragement to those around you.
2. THANKING JESUS IN EVERYTHING. In this, you live with a constant awareness of God’s working in your life and around you which stimulates thankfulness in you.
3. SERVE OTHERS. In this you value others highly, serve them, love them, do things for them, help them and lift them up.
HOW DO WE DO IT?
This whole lifestyle is neigh on impossible if we are holding onto self sufficiency. This whole life starts with the truth that we are flawed, broken imperfect people that are in need of a saviour to start before a holy God with any hope at all.
The great news is that God supplied that saviour in Jesus Christ, as He stood in our place, took the punishment for our wrechedness, died and rose again so that by faith we get not just new life but adoption as God's very children.
If we don't grasp that then we will either be so down we have nothing to praise for, we'll offer shallow forced praise in the hope it might help us avoid wrath or we'll be self focused.
People that think they've got it all together are not, typically, as thankful as full of praise as people who know they don't have it all together but are accepted, loved and prized anyway. The latter causes a radical, unshakable security that results in praise, thanksgiving and service.
We also need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When we put our faith in Jesus, God puts His spirit inside of us. His spirit is singing a song of praise of worship to God that has been going on forever and will continue forever. Now that spirit is inside us and when we step into praise, thanksgiving and service we are tuning into the melody of heaven right here right now.
That is how the Bible says our time is best used. Not in a list of activities but in lifestyle marked with praise, thanksgiving and serving others. To explore this more, listen to our recent sermon 'Living on Heaven's Frequency'.