See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16 (ASV)
Being a time conscious person, I have always liked this verse. The idea of being exhorted to make the most of my time just resonates with me. This important advice is given in the context of the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to his readers to live a holy life.
Using the contrast of deeds of darkness versus deeds of the light, he challenges all of us to live in the light. “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:14) He goes on to say “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.” (vs. 15)
Then he proceeds to tell us how to be wise and gives us four nuggets of wisdom for redeeming our time and making the most of every day.
1. PREVIEW – Start your day with Jesus. Don’t just plunge thoughtlessly into the demands and busyness of each day. Take some time upon arising to pray and dedicate your day to Him so that He will guide you through your day and help you “understand what the Lord wants you to do.” (vs. 16)
If you are going to make the most of the opportunities that God wants to give you each day you must first recognize them. Taking time to commit your day to the Lord by asking for His direction, and His priorities makes a huge difference in how you respond to the unfolding of your day. Beginning the day with prayer and study of His Word prepares you as nothing else can to redeem the time. Be with Him and listen before doing.
2. CUT OUT EXCESS – Don’t give in to self-indulgent time wasters. The specific reference here is to not get “drunk with wine because that will ruin your life.” (vs. 17) In essence, drunkenness can be excessive indulgence in anything – the internet, email, Facebook, cell phones, TV, even multitasking etc. Drunken excess leads to loss of perspective and a needless, wasteful squandering of precious resources. Making the most of our time requires being vigilant against such time and life robbers.
3. SING – Depend on the Holy Spirit throughout the day. Being filled with the Spirit happens when we fully yield ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus in our lives. Going through the day with a repeated consciousness of the Holy Spirit’s presence and asking Him to lead and guide comes with intentional awareness.
Paul reveals one of the secrets to gaining and maintaining this awareness of the Spirit’s presence and power. It’s singing! Yes literally “singing…spiritual songs…and making music in your heart.” (vs. 18) Of course, a great way to facilitate this is through listening to worshipful music as your are able via radio, internet, iPod etc.
4. REVIEW – Close your day with Jesus. Take time before retiring to review the day. As you recall each event of the day, pause and thank the Lord for His presence and guidance through each aspect. Ask and receive forgiveness where you have sinned. Give Him the glory for your victories and commit to Him your trials and defeats. “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (vs. 20)
OK – try it – go do your day with Jesus!