The Glory of Christ and His Church—Redeem the Time
Did you know that time is one of our most precious assets?
An ancient mariner proverb states, “Time and tides wait for no man.” The simple meaning is that time, like the tide, continues to change constantly—it waits for no one. In life, we are offered windows of time or opportunity to believe God and respond in faith.
For fishermen, favorable tides mean opportunity, but they must capitalize on the right tide and conditions to realize a harvest. Farmers understand this concept as well with seasons—planting and harvest.
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.” (Eccl. 3:1-2 NLT)
The challenge for most of us is that we don’t make the most of our time or opportunities. We fail to “redeem time.” Continuing in our study in Ephesians, let’s examine what it means to redeem time.
Live Wisely and Use Time Carefully
Paul explains in Ephesians 5 how we once were in darkness, but, through our new life in Christ, we are now children of light, so we must live in the light of Christ (Eph. 5:8-9).
He continues in Ephesians 5:15-21 NLT, exhorting us to:
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Ephesians 5:16 NKJV states it like this: “redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
Evil surrounded the people of Paul’s day, and we face the same dilemma. We must learn to be careful and intentional about how we spend our time—that’s wisdom—and the result is that we will then understand God’s will for our lives and live as overcomers despite evil in the world.
Paul explained to Timothy, who was the overseer of the church in Ephesus, regarding the evil of their day and what the Church would face in the last of the last days:
“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days, there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” (2 Tim. 3:1-5 NLT)
Paul tells us to redeem the time because the days are evil. To Timothy, “in the last days, there will be difficult times.” It’s important to understand that, despite difficult times, we are to persevere for Christ.
Adversity is merely opportunity for God! It’s in the darkness that the light shines brightest. Expect God’s love, power, and glory to be revealed through His radiant Church! God desires to confound the powers of darkness through His Church (Eph. 3:10).
Seize the Day
The 1989 movie, Dead Poets Society, with the late Robin Williams, was an impacting film that underscores the importance of redeeming time. In the movie, Williams played the role of a passionate English teacher, John Keating, in an Ivy League prep school for boys. Mr. Keating declares to a group of new students, who are standing in front of a trophy case peering at photos of other classes decades before them:
“They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you. Their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see, gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But, if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? Carpe—hear it?—Carpe… carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary!”
Carpe diem is a Latin phrase meaning “Seize the Day.”
The truth is that all of us will one day pass away. However, the richness of the life we live today and the legacy we leave tomorrow will be determined by whether we can overcome our fears, hurts, and failures of the past and find the strength and courage to be the extraordinary person we were created to be. (For more on this subject, see my book Fulfill Your Dreams: Seize the Day and Be Extraordinary.)
You are the only person who can “seize your day” and redeem time. You must wisely use time and learn to live in God’s will to fulfill your purpose and calling.
Principles to Redeeming Time
Invest time according to God’s will.
We can be busy but not accomplishing what God intends for us if we don’t know His will. Our time then is spent unwisely.
In our Ephesians passage, Paul tells us, and this is my paraphrase, “Use your time wisely. The days are evil. Don’t waste your time living carelessly. Rather, be filled with God’s Spirit to know His will and pursue that!”
Paul gives a basic foundational truth in Romans 12:2 about knowing the will of God:
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom. 12:2 NLT)
Through our union with Christ in the Spirit, we have the potential to live out of the understanding of knowing God’s will and purpose.
If you are copying the behavior and customs of this world, you won’t know the will of God for your life. Allow the Holy Spirit to change your thinking to align with God’s Word and nature. THEN, you will begin to understand His will for your life. This is FUNDAMENTAL!
So, what should have the greatest effect on our thinking? The news media? Secular teachers? Or should it be God’s ways as revealed in scripture? What is God saying? That should be our baseline of thinking.
In other words, you must guard your heart and mind to ensure that you are focused on His leading and will for your life (Prov. 4:23). God wants to do “above all that we can ask for or think” in your life as you embrace His revealed will.
Invest time in the lives of others.
We are to be imitators of God. God is love. God is kind. It’s easy to lose sight of the value of love and relationships. We must invest time into love and relationships.
Jesus said it was more blessed to give than to receive. Give your time to your marriages, families, friendships, and business relationships. Pouring our time into Kingdom relationships that will build people and expand the Kingdom leaves a legacy. Legacy matters!
We must build into the lives of our children—we build in them expectation for the future. HOPE is one of our greatest gifts we can give them. Amid dark and evil times, there is always HOPE—that’s the essence of the gospel or good news! Jesus holds His own close to heart; He never leaves us for the slightest moment. We need to impart this as a living truth into the hearts of others.
Invest time in today; don’t worry about tomorrow.
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matt. 6:31-34 NLT)
Jesus wants us to live from intimate faith and trust in God. He wants us to live with a present mindset, with an eye on the future, but free from worry about tomorrow.
Focus on today. Ask the Lord daily where your concentration needs to be for the day. Sometimes, God will redirect. “Lord, what is on Your heart?” Be open to divine interruption! We can be so task-oriented that we miss God’s schedule changes for the day.
What season are you in today? This is an important question to ask and understand. Yet, realize that rarely is there a perfect moment to act in faith. Remember the farmer?
Nehemiah sensed a moment, a divine invitation, to return to Israel to rebuild the wall, yet in the natural, everything seemed contrary.
When we built our new church sanctuary building, it was during the great recession of 2008. In the natural, it didn’t seem to be the right time, but it was God’s time! Most worthwhile endeavors are always challenging with obstacles.
We are in the season of grace through Christ. Today, hear His voice and obey Jesus! Don’t be influenced by culture; rather, by Who is in you and what His Word reveals as truth!
Invest time for your future.
Realize your tomorrow begins today. Life is a journey, so understand that what you do today affects your tomorrow.
Have you noticed that you never stop learning in life? Commit yourself to daily growth in the Lord. Get education, get training, ask God how you can better prepare for what He has called you to or is bringing you into.
In Christ, you are God’s masterpiece, His special creation destined to accomplish the good things He planned for you long ago (Eph. 2:10). When we are born again, we are taken from the Kingdom of darkness and brought into the light of Christ. Now, you must try hard not to be extraordinary! You are living in your future now; invest wisely!
Invest time for eternity.
All of us are presently eternal beings who, one day, will depart from this earthly realm.
Sow your life into eternal pursuits—for God’s Kingdom. Invest your life in the lives of others, for this is eternal fruit. Leading others to Christ, making disciples, praying for the sick, ministering to the poor, and helping the needy matters eternally. Jesus said, “As much as you do it to the least of these, you have done it to Me!”
Keep in mind that you are an eternal spiritual being having only a temporary human experience!
Seize the day. Be intentional about redeeming time! Your time and your life matter. God has created you with your future in mind—live today as though it matters!
Don’t just let your days slip away. Ask God how you can better invest your time to fulfill your purpose and calling.
The first step is to repent of sin and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We can be successful without Christ, but we will also be separated from God and without hope in this world.
The second step is to grow in Christ by reading and studying God’s Word and continuing steadfastly in prayer. We begin to know the mind and will of Christ when we spend time in communication with Him.
Next, we learn to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit. (I’ll share more on this after Easter.)
Lastly, build relationships with others in community. Be accountable, allow others to help disciple you, and find a place to serve in the body of Christ. These disciplines, and others, will help you use your time wisely and live in God’s will.
Today, ask God to forgive you for allowing time to slip away and ask Him to empower you to live in the fullness of each day He gives you!
“Father, forgive me for not using my time wisely. With Your help, I choose today to live according to Your revealed will in Your Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. I choose to invest my time wisely in my life, the life of others, and for the furtherance of Your Kingdom. Amen.”
For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “Redeeming the Time”: