Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Taste and See: Redeeming The Time

Do you spend your time wisely? Do any of us? Do you want to?! Perhaps that is the first step. Realizing that there are things in our lives that are a complete waste of time, and other things that are more redeeming in nature. Ephesians 5:15-17 in the American Standard Bible:
Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

What does it mean to redeem the time? Well, a few verses later--in Ephesians--we're told to be filled with the Spirit.
"Be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father." (Ephesians 5:18-20)

And in Philippians 4, we're given further instructions:
 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable--if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise--dwell on these things." (Philippians 4:4-9) I quoted it from the HCSB. 

And in Colossians 3, we're given quite a lot to digest:
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:12-17) I quoted the NASB.
I think a foundational truth is there: whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Jesus is to be so real to us, such a part of our thoughts, our hearts, our lives, that he not only IS present but FEELS present to us. To live like he is ever-present, to live in HIS presence, to cherish each moment as an opportunity to be with Him, perhaps that is a clue as to how to redeem the time. Do you live like that? Do you want to?

Do you only acknowledge God one day a week? Do you only acknowledge Him two hours a week? Or do you give him more of yourself, more of your time, more of your heart and mind and soul? Do you only remember Him when you're in great need? Do you only remember Him on holidays?

How much of our lives do we owe to our Creator and Savior? How much of our lives are we giving Him? Are we giving even that willingly or grudgingly? Have you discovered the truth that we are to DELIGHT in being with Him? Psalm 42:1-2, Psalm 84:10, etc.

How do we get to know God? How do we discover God's will? Through reading, studying, meditating, and memorizing Scripture, and through prayer.

In chapter twenty of Taking Back The Good Book, Woodrow Kroll shares some good ideas, one of which is tithing our time.
We typically think of tithing in monetary terms, but have you ever thought about tithing your time? Suppose you spent 10 percent of your day with God? What would that mean? Mathematically, there are twenty-four hours in a day, which equals 1440 minutes. If you gave the Lord 10 percent of that time, he would receive 144 minutes every day. That's over two hours. Is that how much time you spend in reading the Word and in prayer now? Probably not. But let's be fair. You have to work and sleep each for eight hours. You can't really tithe that time. So we're really talking about tithing in terms of your third eight-hour period in the day. That's 480 minutes, and a tithe of 480 minutes is forty-eight minutes daily. If you gave God forty-eight minutes daily, you'd be giving him one-tenth of one-third of your day. Does that sound reasonable? But how are you going to find forty-eight minutes in a day? You start here: instead of tacking God onto your schedule where you can, instead of watching your third reality show of the night, turn off the television, shut out everything else, and spend forty-eight quality minutes with God. If you do that, you could actually read the Bible through four times in one year--pretty amazing! (160)
And in O Love That Will Not Let Me Go, a collection of essays, Randy Alcorn writes in his "Finishing with Few Regrets":

The key to spirituality is the development of little habits, such as Bible reading and memorization and prayer. In putting one foot in front of the other day after day, we become the kind of person who grows and endures rather than withers and dies. (57)
Renewing our minds requires conscious, deliberate effort. (56)
When our life here is over, what will we wish we'd done less of and more of? (62)

I believe that once you start ABIDING in the Word, you'll find it easier to take God with you throughout your day.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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