Making the most of the time (Ephesians 5:16)

The goal of the disciple of Jesus is to be “making the most of the time,” as Paul commends us in Ephesians 5:15-16. That goal is clear from Scripture. Moses asks the Lord to “teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12).” Same idea. We are called to make the most of every day. But the question is, how do we do that? That is, who is to say what “making the most of the time” looks like? With so many ways to spend my time, who determines when I am “making the most of my time?”

PRINCIPLE: “Making the most of the time” is spending your time according to God’s priorities for life. These priorities are expressed in the Bible and are constrained by and applied through the circumstances of each individual life, with its specific roles and responsibilities.

Because the best source for discovering God’s priorities is the Bible, the better a person knows the Bible, the better they can “make the most of the time.”

            “But wait a minute” you may say. “The Bible is a big book full of all kinds of teaching and stories and songs and prayers. How do I find God’s priorities for life in all that?” A great question! While it is true that there is not a special section in the Bible that explicitly spells out God’s priorities for life, it is also true that the Bible is a book that is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) and is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16). God Himself has inspired the Bible to be His word to His people, and so the Bible informs ANY life, and it informs ALL of life. The Bible is written such that it speaks to any believer in any circumstance and communicates God’s message to that believer, regardless of their circumstances. And the Bible is written to communicate God’s guidance for all aspects of life, “that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17).”

            So, again I say, the better a person knows the Bible, the better they can “make the most of the time.”

            Practically speaking, God’s priorities gradually become our own over time as we abide with the Lord in His word and in prayer. After years spent living and reliving the many narrative stories in the Scriptures, we gradually absorb their lessons, and we see the errors and the successes of hundreds of characters, and we learn something of God’s priorities. Reading and rereading the gospels allows us to learn from the God-Man Himself, the Lord Jesus, and so have God’s priorities shape us. Repeated trips through Job and the Psalms and Proverbs and Ecclesiastes allow us to implicitly see God’s priorities as we read the wisdom literature. The point is that extended time with God in His word will gradually instill His priorities in your heart.

            So, when Paul exhorts us to “make the most of the time, because the days are evil,” He has not given the follower of Jesus Christ an impossible assignment. Diligently read your Bible, be often in prayer, and carefully examine your life to make sure that you are intentionally living for Jesus, and you will probably be making the most of the time.

SDG                 rmb                 1/14/2021

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