Saturday, November 4, 2017

Don’t Fall Back – Redeem the Time!

Photo by Garry Knight 2012
Spring forward, fall back! Catchy saying that helps us remember which direction to change the clocks, but is it good advice, Biblically speaking, to fall back?

Paul encourages us to move forward in our Christian walk, using the metaphor of running a race (1 Corinthians 9:24) as does the writer of Hebrews (12:1). Yet even when we can’t sprint forward in our Christian walk, we should at least stand our ground. We can’t outrun the devil, so there is no point in fleeing from him, but we can resist him by submitting ourselves to God’s Word and promises, so that the devil will flee from us (James 4:7).

When discussing spiritual warfare, Paul tells us four times to stand our ground. Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.… 13 that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore.” He uses this metaphor over and over, telling us to stand fast in the faith (1 Corinthians 16:13), in Christian liberty (Galatians 5:1), in unity of spirit (Philippians 1:27), in the Lord (Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:8), and in Christian teaching (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

For those regions observing Daylight Savings Time, this Sunday is the time change most of us prefer. What will you do with that “extra” hour? On the night that we set the clocks back one hour, it seems like we get an extra hour to sleep or to stay up late doing whatever we like. But’s it’s just an illusion -- we don’t really get any extra time. Time marches on, and our moments left on earth dwindle away with every passing second.

Whether through death or the Rapture for believers, or the day of judgment for those who have not placed their faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), ttime is short before each of us will see Jesus face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). Our life is “but a vapor” (James 4:14), vanishing as quickly as the visible breath we exhale on a cold day.

Some may complain that “God isn’t fair” as they notice that money, talents, health, intelligence, power, beauty, and other blessings are not distributed equally among us. Every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17), and God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10), distributing resources according to His divine plan. Meanwhile, Satan paces the earth (Job 1:7), placing his henchmen in positions of authority (Ephesians 6:12) while trying to hinder believers from being productive for God.

But time does not play favorites --  each of us has 24 hours in a day, no more and no less. When that day is gone, it’s gone forever. We can’t store, buy, borrow, steal, or create time.

As J. R. R. Tolkien's
character Gandalf said, “All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”

So let’s make the right choice and redeem the time! (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5). With prayer and Holy Spirit guidance, believers can make each moment on earth have eternal significance. Once the clock stops on earth and we enter eternity, time lasts forever. So our top priority here should be to maximize our experience there, realizing that we will enjoy eternally the rewards we earn for our earthly service (Matthew 6:20).

Every soul led to Christ, every believer encouraged and uplifted, every gift given with the right motive to further His kingdom, will be the gold, silver and precious stones that will endure the fire of judgment (1 Corinthians 3: 12-14) and be a crown we can lay at Jesus’ feet (Revelation 4:10-11). May we hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21; Luke 19:17) and be rewarded with positions of responsibility in the Millennial Kingdom!

God created and controls time just as He created and controls everything else. One day to Him can be as a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8), and His power is so unlimited that He created the universe in six literal days (Exodus 20:11; 31:17). He created day and night to measure time (Genesis 1:5) and set aside one day of seven as a day of rest to divide time into weeks (Genesis 1:31;2:3). His creation and alignment of the sun, moon and planets gave rise to time divisions of months, seasons and years (Genesis 1:14). Those seasons reflect different times and purposes within our earthly life (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

God designed our bodies to have internal rhythms harmonizing with daily, monthly, and yearly cycles. Because He even designed atoms to have their own internal frequencies, extremely accurate atomic clocks can measure time using the microwave signal that electrons in atoms emit when they change energy levels.

The clock keeps ticking, but nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26). He can even stop the sun and moon to accomplish His plan (Joshua 10: 12-14). He can add 15 years to a life that should have ended, although when He did so for King Hezekiah in answer to his prayer (2 Kings 20: 1-11), there were negative consequences that Hezekiah could not have anticipated (2 Kings 20:12-18; 21: 1-6).

What if you knew that extra hour on Time Change Sunday, or any hour, would be your last? How would you spend it? My prayer is that those who keep putting off trusting Christ would realize that now is the accepted time of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). And as believers, may we get our hearts right with God by dying to our sin nature (1 Corinthians 15:31), yielding to the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), asking others for forgiveness and forgiving them (Matthew 18:21-35), expressing love to family and friends (1 Peter 1:22), and telling everyone who would listen that Jesus saves!
But we are not promised tomorrow (James 4:13), or even another hour, so why not do all that now? We can get so busy with work, school, hobbies and even church that we forget to redeem the time and make every moment count. This earth is not our home, and we should spend our “time of sojourning” here considering how God will evaluate what we have done with our time (1 Peter 1:17).

Before we rush off to put out the fires and jump the hurdles we will encounter every day, we should make time to hear God through His Word (Psalm 119:97,105,133),and to pray that He would open the right doors, show us the right paths (Proverbs 3:5-6), and guide us through the day’s journey (Psalm 5:3; 143:8; Mark 1:35). Time spent in prayer allows us to use our time more productively and wisely. A wise preacher once said that he was too busy not to pray!

The peace and wisdom found in prayer will order our thoughts and steps (Psalms 37:23), calm our anxieties, and make us more focused and productive in all we do. Whatever we do, we can do it to glorify God in an attitude of service and excellence (Colossians 3:23).

While showering and dressing, we can renew our minds (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23) with Christian radio or CDs. If we’re stuck in traffic, we can use the time to listen for God’s directions and to pray for our loved ones. While we wait in a checkout line at the supermarket, we can pray that all those in the store who are not saved will come to know Christ as their Savior, and that all the believers there will grow in faith, wisdom, and fruitfulness. Or, we can strike up a friendly conversation with the person behind us in line and pray that God will open the door for us to witness.

In the waiting room at the doctor’s office, why not bring our Bible to increase our wisdom, joy and peace, instead of thumbing through old magazines? Someone might ask us about what we’re reading, and it could be a divine appointment to share the meaning of God’s Word in our life.

In a sense, every hour that we’re on earth is that “one extra hour,” because it allows us a new beginning, a time to start over in doing what pleases God. So don’t fall back in your Christian walk -- redeem the time! 

© 2013 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives 


Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
During my younger years I had often wished time away, especially at school and at work when a holiday was coming up. I now realise how sinful that attitude was. Now as a retiree, I am aware how precious time actually is, and I often step out of doors to the copse of trees outside our back garden to give thanks to God for each day I'm here.
As for standing firm against the wiles of the Devil, only this morning we had a sermon at church about the victory of Christ through his death and resurrection placing Satan under our feet, instead of giving in to him.
The adversary's most skillful deceit is to get us to think that our works will contribute to our salvation, believed by many to this day. This subtle way of reasoning could catch out any one of us, no matter how Mature in Christ we may be.
An excellent, thought provoking post. God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
As our 80 year-old pastor says every time I see him, "Another day -- each one is a gift!"
May we resist the devil by being firmly rooted in Christ and His Word, using Scripture to defeat his lies.
Thanks as always for your insightful comment. God bless,

Susan said...

Amen, with man it is impossible (that includes everything) but with God all things are possible. God does so many incredible things every day, and often times we take Him and what He does for us for granted. We only notice when things don’t go the way we want them to, and then complain about it, myself included. “Who can deliver me from this body of death. I thank God my Saviour through Christ Jesus” All glory and honour and praise belong to God alone, and if we are blessed, He shares His goodness and mercy with us, in His time that He has appointed.

Donald Fishgrab said...

It is easy to get distracted by what is going on around us and forget what God is doing. We need to spend the time in prayer and Bible study to keep ourselves focused on what really matters.

Great post.

Laurie Collett said...

So true, Susan! All good things come from Him, and He works all things together for good for those who love Him, according to His purpose. I read a saying once, "What if today we only had those things that we thanked God for yesterday?" As you say, if we are not mindful, it is easy to take God for granted. Praise Him for His goodness!
God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald! If we seek Him first, and His righteousness, He will provide for all our needs. And as we are doing that, we are fixing our hearts on Him and storing up rewards in Heaven.
God bless,

Unknown said...

Hello :) I just found your blog. It is lovely. Your ballroom, the classes, and the people are delightful. Thank you

Laurie Collett said...

Thank you, Christina! I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you'll be back soon!
God bless,

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
I love this particular sentence in your post:-

'This earth is not our home, and we should spend our “time of sojourning” here considering how God will evaluate what we have done with our time.'

My prime desire is to do what God wants me to do on this earth, as I am sure yours is.
God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Brenda! May we always hear His still, small voice and follow it as He guides us to His perfect will. Thanks as always for your lovely comment and insights.
God bless you,