DEALING WITH THE PRESSURE OF TIME
2/24/2012 11:00:08 AM -
No one knows about day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It is like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back - whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch! - Mark 13:32-37.
Today I am sharing with you an article which has its inspiration from Dr. Charles F. Stanley- Intouch Magazine, May 1990.
One of the scarcest commodities of the 21st Century is time. Christians seem just as afflicted by the time squeeze as anyone. Finding time for Bible study, church attendance, service, and other activities stretches their faith and patience. Is that the way God intends for us to live? Are we at the mercy of our generation's hectic pace, or has the Lord provided instruction in His Word that can help us use and invest our time wisely? The Apostle Paul exhorts believers in his letter to the Ephesian church regarding the proper use of their hours, days and weeks: Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is - Eph. 5:15-17.
Paul serves notice in this passage that people fall into one of two categories - those who invest their time wisely and those who spend their time foolishly. As we think about our lives, what are we living for? If we knew that we had only six months to live, how would we spend our time? Would there be a difference compared to how we presently manage our various duties and opportunities?
Tomorrow May Never Come
Many of us are trapped by the common way of life of planning for the future while wasting the present. We talk about what we will do where will we go and how we will spend our years once we retire. But who of us knows the span of our existence: Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth - Prov. 27:1.
Since we do not know the future, we must concern ourselves with how to invest the time we have been given now. But no matter how we define it or how often we are reminded of its importance there never seems to be enough time to accomplish all we desire. The modern conveniences that were supposed to liberate us have failed. Even what leisure time we have is scheduled around the competing activities of children and parents, all vying for our attention. So the years go by and we sigh: Time passes quickly, doesn't it? Although time is a space in the eternal heart and mind of God, we finite beings feel the pressure of living in the dimension of time.
Eternity Is Certain
The stress and anxiety that come from living in a time-conscious world affect our health. Our nation has one of the world's highest rates of high blood pressure. Ulcers, heart disease, and strokes can often be linked to our fast-paced lifestyles. We even try to cram God into our time box. We talk about worship on a particular day of the week, and on that day we limit our worship to an hour or so and if we stay longer it is for our own enjoyment. We danceour hearts out and sleep when the Word of God is preached. But cannot confine the Lord in such a manner because He sees all time against the backdrop of eternity someone describes eternity as: 'If a bird came once a year and carried away one grain of sand at a time and kept returning until all the grains of sand in the world were removed, then eternity would have just begun.' That idea staggers our thinking. Our finite minds can only dream of eternity, and even then we see a dim shadow of the glory of everlasting life.
But as Christians we are a people of eternity. We live in this space called time with the gift of eternal life indwelling our beings. We have an eternal inheritance. We possess the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life will never end and cannot be dated by a clock or a calendar. I can perhaps understand an unbeliever wasting his time with drinking or drugs or working day and night to achieve more fame, more money, more power. I can understand that because they are not sons and daughters of the Eternal One. But not us Christians!
Time Can Be Adequate
Despite the pressures we place on ourselves we can know that - that there is always enough time to do the will of God: So then do not be foolish, but understand what will of the Lord is - Eph. 5:17. God will make sure we have adequate time to achieve what He desires. He never requires or asks more of us in a given day than He has planned to do through us. That does not mean we will accomplish all we feel we should do.
As long as we are living in a right relationship to Christ and walking sensitively to His leadership, He enables us to achieve all that He expects. From the moment we wake up in the morning, God has already provided all the necessary time to do His will. If we let Him, He guides and governs our day, our opportunities, our chores, and our relationships in such a way that His plans are accomplished. Proper planning, can help us to fulfill His will. So many of us simply react to the turns of the day. While the unexpected can power be predicted, the one who prayerfully and carefully plans can depend upon the Lord for guidance because He is the one toWhom nothing is unexpected.
Planning means we must make decisions - choices that determine our activities and priorities. If we do not, we can be sure that someone else will do our planning for us. Isn't it amazing how many Christians drift through life, making no goals or plans, aimlessly shifting from one place to another.Emergencies may interrupt their lives for a season, but they soon return to their rudderless ways. We need to know that all of life and, thus, all of time is a gift from God. We should not give God only a portion of our time! All of time belongs to Him! We cannot leave God out of any aspect of our existence; we cannot fence Him out of our families or work or play.
In the dimension of time, the first priority is faithfulness. Faithfulness to God begins now in the time dimension. We do not wait until we are with Christ in heaven to became good stewards. Handling time, therefore, is not so much a matter of time management - finding the right kind of datebook or scheduling format - but of managing ourselves. That means setting personal priorities. What is more important when you start the day; an extra hour of sleep or an hour alone with the Sovereign Lord of the Universe? Establishing priorities involves decisions concerning what is most important in light of your relationship to Jesus Christ.
When people are not in church on Sunday, it is not because they do not have transportation. They have prioritized their lives and it does not include serving and worshipping the Living God. Our lives are defined by our priorities and so once we consider and arrange our priorities, then we must have the discipline to order our lives according to those guidelines.
Discipline is never easy. Time is often wasted because we do not have the discipline to follow our convictions. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you must cultivate a disciplined lifestyle which is a combination of your genuine hunger for God and a dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit. If we give Him our opportunities and our devotion He will help us to persevere. Our willingness and obedience along with God's enabling are essential because the Lord has settled many of our priorities in His Word. We do not have to decide whether to go to church, minister to our family, or serve others. The scriptures clearly underscore their importance. Once we base our convictions on God's Word and His principles, the rest of our priorities will come into place in time.
The Example of Jesus
Think about the life of Jesus. He lived thirty-three years, but thirty of those years were spent growing up and being in a carpenter's workshop. Ponder that for a moment. The Son of God, the King of kings, the Prince of Peace quietly, diligently laboured in a small town, hewing, sanding, and shaping pieces of wood. That was His life until the day He laid down His hammer and chisel to begin shaping lives into the image of His Father. Yet that part of His life lasted only three years. During that brief, incredibly short time, He did all the Father asked of Him. Jesus taught multitudes, but He also had time to have dinner with various people, spending as much time in homes as He did in crowded villages. He talked with the poor, blind beggars, and hated tax collectors, He visited women at the well and publicans and sinners at meals. What was His secret? And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there - Mark 1:35. And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray - Mark 6:46. And it was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God - Lk. 6:12. And it came about that while He was praying alone - Lk. 9:18.
Time Alone With God
Jesus had all the pressures of saving a sinful world. He had only three years to fulfill His public ministry; but we never read that Jesus rushed to Bethany or 'scurried' to Jerusalem or 'dashed' to Nazareth. His life was always in everything He did - even in the swirl of a crowd screaming for His crucifixion. The key for Jesus and the key for us to do the will of the Father is spending time alone with Him. If, for Jesus, prayer was critical and could not be substituted, how can we think there will be another route for us? When we make it our habit of getting alone with our Father, the peace and quiet of the Holy Spirit settles us and assures us of the love of our Father. The Holy Spirit saturates our hearts with the Lord's presence and stills our minds with His calm - Zeph. 3:17 check scripture). There, in the solitude, God speaks through His Word by His Spirit - changing our attitudes, convicting us of our prevailing sins and compelling us to actions that bring glory to His name.
We Have God's Wisdom
As we commit our days and resources to the Lord, we have His sure guidance and we cast our plans and schedules before Him, we have His wisdom. We look to Him to order our thoughts and direct our steps, not knowing the twists and turns the day will take. The wisest thing we can do to relieve the pressure of time is to spend time alone with the Lord Jesus Christ. After all, He is the All-knowing, All-wise One who knows our end from our beginning. It is He who knows all about us and our future, and who can orchestrate our days.
Eternity With Christ
We will all give an account one day of how we invested our time on earth. We will spend eternity in one of two places - heaven or hell. If you have not made that decision to spend eternity with Christ, I encourage you now to trust Him for the forgiveness of your sins, believing in Him as the Son of God who died so that you may have life. Only then will time take on real meaning. If you are a believer, I encourage you to examine your life and establish godly priorities so that you are ruled by the Lord Jesus Christ you can fully not by others, then commit to spending quality time alone with the Lord Jesus Christ each day.
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