Redeeming the Time

They say that time heals, that it’s a thief, that it goes too fast when you’re old and not fast enough when you’re not old. They say that they have too much of it or they’re short on it – usually short, like missing that last ten cents at the corner store. When one has an excess of time, they might decide to kill some and it doesn’t seem to bother them at all. You might even hear some say that they’re living on borrowed time.

In our greed-driven world, you’ll hear that time is money, and yet somehow it’s still the single most wasted, non-renewable resource known to humanity. You can spend it, but you can’t earn it back. Once it’s gone, that’s it, and we have to make our peace someday with all the time we threw away like it was trash.

Time is the only thing that we all have the same amount of. Twenty-four hours in a day, split into repeating twelve-hour cycles. And in every one of those hours you get sixty minutes, and every minute gets sixty seconds. No one gets more, regardless of ethnicity, sex, nationality, personality, religion or lack thereof, or any other thing they received by virtue of being alive. There is not more for the good people and less for the bad people because time doesn’t care. Time doesn’t discriminate. It passes just as quickly for me as for you as for every other person on earth.

Time & Us

We surround ourselves with clocks, clocks everywhere and unwittingly remind ourselves how unlike God we are. We are finite, with a start date and an expiration date whereas He has no beginning and no ending. Our spirits will live eternally somewhere, but we will still have had a beginning. There will still have been a day when life started for us and before which we were nothing. God has no such beginning for He is outside of time while we are inextricably bound within it.

The Bible has a lot to say about the fleeting nature of time in relation to our human lives. It tells us that we’re like a vapour (James 4:14), our lives on earth so fragile that when it’s over it will be just like the dew that evaporates in the early morning sunshine. And God also gives us commands about time and how we should be using what’s allotted to us. We don’t know how much we get, so we are called to use each day wisely, always behaving in obedience to God’s Word and trying to please our Heavenly Father.

The commands that God gives us about time are not just because. We’re supposed to be wise with our use of time, to look beyond this world and consider our time as an investment in the world that we can’t see yet. Our interests in spending our time should be directed heavenward, not earthward.

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those thingswhich are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” – Colossians 3:1-2

And when it comes to the commands that God gives us about time, there’s one that I want to focus on specifically here, which is:

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” – Ephesians 5:15-17

Let’s do a quick study of a couple of words in this passage that might be unfamiliar to us.

First, the word “circumspectly” here is the Greek word “akribos” [ak-ree-boce’] which means “exactly, accurately, diligently” [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and Thayer Lexicon], and the word “walk” here doesn’t actually mean the act of putting one foot in front of the other to go somewhere. The context tells us that it’s speaking figuratively, and it is speaking of our mode of living. Paul, the writer, is telling the audience that they should live diligently and exactly.

The next word that we’ll look at is “redeeming“. This is the Greek word “exagorazo” [ex-ag-or-ad’-zo] which means “to buy up, that is ransom; [figuratively] to rescue from loss” [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible]. And what are we told to redeem? Well, the time that we are given, because if we don’t redeem them they will be lost by default. And we rescue our time from loss by investing it in something that will outlast it, something eternal.

How do you redeem time?

One of the primary ways that a Christian ought to be rescuing their time from loss is by investing it into learning God’s Word. We all know that daily time in our Bibles is crucial, and we all also know how challenging it can be to have a consistent routine. Our spirits know that it’s what we need and we are willing, but our physical body struggles hard against this. Our old sin nature still lives in us and it doesn’t want to give up its creature comforts to go study the Bible.

However, if we can implement things in our daily life that make it easier for our bodies to follow through with what we know we need to be doing, we will find that resisting the flesh becomes a lot easier. Yes, the battle is ultimately spiritual, but that doesn’t mean the physical is not a significant aspect of the fight.

If you’re finding that you struggle every day to meet with God before you fill your heart and mind with other things, then it might be time to examine your daily habits. How we are redeeming our time throughout the day before will impact how easy or hard it is to give our time where it should be the next morning.

I have found personally that how I spend my evenings will have a direct impact on how successful I am in being prepared for my morning appointment with the Lord. So, today I’m going to wrap up with some simple and helpful evening routines to add into your day to day life so that you can set yourself up for success spiritually. Because the physical always impacts the spiritual!

If you find yourself hitting that snooze button again and again, these are practices that I know from experience have helped me say goodbye to the snooze and get out of bed when I need to. I start this routine around an hour before bed, but you can fast track it too on nights when it’s just not possible to start that early.

Evening Routine

    1. Turn your phone on SILENT. Set up your phone so that it automatically stops alerting you of notifications after a certain time of day and then put your phone where you won’t be tempted to pick it up. Not only does the blue light interfere with your natural circadian rhythm, but the constant stream of information keeps your brain moving at high speed when it just needs to relax.
    2. Turn on some good music. Okay, this is the one exception where a cell phone will be your friend. Playing something soothing in the background just seems to help everything calm down and as you do it evening by evening, your brain will begin to recognize it as a sleep cue. Personally, I don’t play anything that even suggests lyrics myself so that I know I won’t be distracted.
    3. Dim as many lights as possible around you. I also enjoy either lighting a candle or turning on my diffuser for a little extra something. The more of my sense I engage in developing a habit or routine, the more likely that habit or routine is to stick around.
    4. Pick up your Bible or a good book and read for a while. I usually aim for 20-30 minutes, but you know how much time you can spend here. I’d also recommend staying away from fiction and going for something that’s good for you rather than just entertaining. Click here to check out some reading recommendations from yours truly on the blog!
    5. Get into a regular routine of stretching before bed. I find that giving my body a chance to decompress makes a big improvement in my sleep quality and how well my body moves in the morning. Give it 5-10 minutes, nothing fancy, and just aim for consistency.

And lastly, PRAYER! Now, this last thing on the list isn’t last because of its significance. It’s the last thing because it’s what I really want to leave you thinking about. Psalm 127:2 says that “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep“. What the psalmist is talking about here is the vanity of trying accomplish anything apart from the blessing and help of God, and this applies to sleeping.

Even our sleeping needs to be given over to God and just as we need to dedicate each day to our Heavenly Father and leave it with Him to use how He wants to, we should do the same with our sleeping hours. Taking time to talk with the Father before going to sleep, time to yield even this area over to His good will, time to leave our burdens with Him, is a worthwhile investment to make.

Conclusion

If you look closely, the patterns in your life will tell you where the problem is, but are you paying attention? Do you really want to see what’s actually going on? It’s so easy to build up idols in our hearts and minds that take over God’s place, and if you don’t believe me, make a chart of everywhere you spend your time besides with God. It is astounding how easy we find it to give time to everyone and everything else.

I hope this article is an encouragement to you and that you found something here that was helpful. I pray that as you read these words, you find that God has so many better plans for your time than you do. When we have little else to give, time is one thing we all can give a little more of.

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