Tag Archives: time

Redeeming the Time

 “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”   Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJ)

“Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.”  Colossians 4:5 (NKJ)

 As a child, I remember going with my parents to shop for groceries. Upon paying the bill, my mother would be given “redemption stamps” (equal to the grocery receipt) that could be later exchanged for household items, i.e., dishes, flatware, or cookware. After saving enough stamps, we’d go to a local redemption center and trade in our stamps for our special selection. My mother felt this was a great way to get the “most bang for her bucks”–groceries AND household items. While stamp redemption worked well for my mother’s budget, there’s a different kind of redemption believers should pursue as they endeavor to accomplish God’s purpose for their life. It’s redeeming the time.  We close this series, Redeeming the Time, by examining the Apostle Paul’s urgent call to New Testament churches in Asia Minor to redeem the time.

The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible translates “redeeming the time” to mean making the most of every opportunity. The meaning is further illuminated by Bible interpreters to mean “to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good so that zeal and well-doing are as if it were the ‘purchase money’ by which we make the time our own.” (Thayer Lexicon)  The Apostle Paul uses this phrase in letters to two (2) new churches established in Christ to prepare them for the challenges they would face living in a hostile, pagan society.

To the church at Ephesus, Paul reminded believers that they were no longer agents of darkness but were to redeem the time by being “light in the Lord” (Ep. 5:8).  Their new identity was to be evidenced by their fruit–goodness, righteousness and truth. They were to walk “circumspectly, not as fools”.  There is urgency in Paul’s message to this church because the “days were evil” meaning there was a general disregard for what was right while embracing that which was profoundly immoral, wicked, and depraved. The days continued to be evil into the 21st century.

To the church at Colossae, Paul advised believers to redeem the time by walking in “wisdom” (sophia). This wisdom was very special in that it described a skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth.  It required “devout and prudence communication with men who were not disciples of Christ.” The NIV rending of Colossians 4:5 states it more clearly, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” In other words, Paul was speaking about “life witnessing” where the believer became the “living testimony” as to the life changing power available to individuals who enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (Titus 3:4-6).

Also Read:  Can You Handle the Truth?

 

Today Paul’s use of “redeeming the time” draws attention to believer’s solemn responsibility to proclaim and practice Christ-centered principles in their home and in their community. While society exchanges moral absolutes for what seems “right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6), believers must be “committed to God’s truth in every element of our lives as the separation between light and dark become apparent in the world and in our society.” We are to redeem the time by renouncing world system standards and boldly proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. By redeeming the time, believers will become viable change agents” for Christ until He returns (2 Peter 3:11-12).

SELAH:  Is there “an opportunity” God has shown you that you might be ignoring or rejecting?  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the root or source of your hesitation, i.e. fear of failure or rejection.  Then find Scripture that will support you in moving forward to “redeem the time”, i.e., Philippians 4:13.

Once Upon A Time

“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” Galatians 4:4 (NKJ)

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Mark 1:14-15 (ESV)

Time, like the rest of the environment in which we operate, has been ordered and designed by God (Acts 17:28).  Christ’s arrival on the human scene marked a significant moment in time.  Not only was all history reinterpreted by that moment, but time itself became redefined.   We continue our series “Redeeming the Time” examining how God’s time translates into our current life plan.

“Once upon a time.”   This is the opening line of many fables and children’s fairy tales.  “Once upon a time” is used to move its reader to a specific time and place where heroes (or heroines) are introduced.  In our two scriptural texts, time is used to introduce Jesus Christ into the story of humanity.  However, Jesus’ arrival was not fantasy but a historical fact resulting in the offer of salvation until the end of time to “whomsoever would believe” (John 3:16).

Galatians speaks of Jesus’ arrival as in the “fullness of time.” This time (chronos) describes a space of time.  Here, the Apostle Paul uses time to describe the space of time in history that was vital in the preparation for Jesus Christ’s entrance into the world.  From a human viewpoint, these times hallmarked the continual saga of empires battling for power and control, but “it is amazing how God utilizes history to work out His purpose.”  Each change in world domination further prepared the way for the spread of the Good News to the world.  These political and social changes, filled with injustice, carnage and destruction, also prepared the hearts of both Jews and Gentiles, to receive the messianic message of hope and love that Jesus would offer (Luke 4:18-20).

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus’ entrance signified that “time was fulfilled.”  Time (kairos) in this context, represents the significance of a specific moment; in this instance, the appointed time in the purpose of God.  John the Baptist had been arrested and it was the appointed time in the purpose of God for Jesus to begin His public ministry.  There was a distinctive note in Jesus’ proclamation that God’s appointed time of preparation and expectation, the Old Testament era, now stood fulfilled in Him.  God’s kingdom, with its authority, activities and benefits (Eph. 3:16-20) had arrived in Jesus.  It was now “karios time” to deliver the “good news” that Emmanuel (“God with us”) had arrived to bring “redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

Let’s now move the time clock to the 21st century.   Jesus’ entrance from eternity into time provides us an opportunity to confront the reality of God in our daily life and to decide how we will respond to Him. Are we living in God’s “karios time”?  How has God used the “space on time” in which we now live to prepare us for proclaiming the arrival of the Kingdom of God?  We have the option to respond to God in love and obedience or with disregard and defiance.

Our experiences in and with time may be troubling or peaceful.  The important point is that our personal life has great significance and eternal value to God.  Let us daily examine how we invest our time to insure we are living in the kingdom of God’s sovereign rule.  We now live in an “acceptable time”—a time of God’s love and grace (Is. 49:8).

SELAH:  Examine how you spend time with God.  For one week log the time you “intentionally” spend in worship, prayer, and reading/meditating on God’s Word.  This represents your “chronos  time”—time in preparation for Jesus to enter your personal  space or world.  During that time, ask Jesus to share with you what His purpose is for your life in this specific moment—your “karios time”.

Don’t Squander the Day

“This is the day the LORD has made.” Psalm 118:24 (NKJ)

“Time is free, but it’s priceless.

You can’t own it, but you can use it.

You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.

Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.”

Time is something all living creatures share.  It is both illusive yet well within our control.  One writer said that the way we spend our time defines who we are.  Solomon stated that it is “time and chance” that makes the playing field level for all men (Eccl. 9:11-12).  What do you do with your time?  Are you using it to your best advantage or are you a victim caught in time’s swift movement?  “Don’t Squander the Day” will begin a new series entitled “Redeeming the Time.”  It is our hope that this WordBytes series will help you revisit how you think about time.

As I woke this morning, the Lord gave me this instruction, “Don’t squander the day!” What did God mean by that? I knew He saw my appointments for today and my “things to do” list. I had carefully prioritized them so that nothing would fall through the crack. To squander means to spend or use something wastefully. There are many things I do with my day but I felt squandering was not one of them. After presenting my defense, the Lord patiently began to share His heart with me.

“Don’t squander the day by…”

Rushing to do the routine rather than enjoying the uniqueness of the day. We are so busy planning our next hour or day that we fail to live in the moment—in the very present now. The rich fool spent his time in the routine of planting and it yielded a reward of “plenty”. So he began plans to erect new barns “to store all his crops and goods” not knowing that his soul would be required of him that very night (Luke 12:13-21).  He didn’t live to enjoy the uniqueness of the day. The rich man squandered the day.

Pondering over past hurts and offenses. There is little to be gained in such activities and definitely nothing that can be useful in accomplishing God’s purpose for our lives. The brother of the prodigal son was offended and jealous of the attention his brother received—the attention, he felt, should have been his (Luke 16:25-32). The father expressed love and appreciation for the faithfulness of the son who remained with him but the brother chose to “cling” to his anger. He was offended and “would not come in.” The brother of the prodigal squandered the day.

Instead of “squandering the day”, spend time with Abba Father…

Asking, listening, and reflecting. Think about the possibilities of your life; not rehashing what could or should have been. Playfully create new scenarios for your life with the Creator of the universe versus replaying old tapes. With God nothing will be impossible (Luke 1:37).

Watching. We spend great efforts attempting to “make things happen” rather than observing the work God is doing around us. He invites us to watch Him at work in the lives of individual believers and the Church to accomplish His purpose through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ep. 4:4-5).

Squandering the day expresses the failure to see the work of God in this present moment.  It is a failure on our part to see His hand on every person and in every circumstance that He allows in our life. “Don’t squander the day” is not a flippant directive but acknowledgment that God is present in our circumstances and working all things together for our good (Rom. 8:28).   It results in our witness to both the goodness and the greatness of the Lord.  Let us therefore confess and declare our confidence in His love and in His faithfulness. This is the day the LORD has made…DON’T SQUANDER IT!

SELAH:   Read and then meditate on Ecclesiastes 9:11-12.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you may be squandering your day.   Then spend time with Jesus asking, listening, reflecting and watching.  Record in your journal what you experience.