“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity (redeem the time) in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do” (Eph 5:15-17)
Life is a mystery. You cannot live successfully and happily, except you are born again and filled with the Holy Spirit.
We are commanded to wisely ‘redeem the time’. What does it mean?
To redeem it means to greatly value something that I lost, and now, I am ready to pay the price to buy it again. I buy back something that was mine. I re-purchase something by paying for it a second time. To redeem it also means to free something from the consequences of sin. The desire to redeem comes from your appreciation for its value. It is because I love something I lost, that is why I am ready to pay for it the second time.
God has redeemed us from the curse of sin by sending Jesus to die on the Cross for us.
The days are evil because we live in a fallen world. It is not that Monday is more dangerous than Tuesday, for example. But we live among selfish, greedy, ungrateful people who waste their time on earth and think nothing of their souls.
A heart of wisdom knows the value of time on this earth and the value of eternity. Time is a gift of God. It is a grace gift. We do not merit even a second of life. If our life is short or long, the truth is that God gives us enough time to fulfill our destiny on earth. We have to pray and find that holy path. Each step in accordance with God’s will for my life means that I redeem my gift of time. As I follow the lead of the Spirit, I multiply my seconds on earth and start to taste eternity. I lose the fear of old age or even death. Redeeming the time ends in great joy.
God will demand an account for the way we spend our allotted time on earth. We have to use our time to seek God, to invest in the Kingdom of God, to worship God, to save souls and to bless others.
It is great wisdom to know how to manage your time on earth. The devil fights that wisdom. There are dangers and hindrances directly connected with time management. Each day is unique and it can never be repeated. You can waste time in doing worldly, fleshly things that profit nothing. The root of this waste of opportunities can be too much sleep, watching TV or Computer too much, being idle or day dreaming.
The Holy Spirit directs your activities and if you are attentive to His voice, you will use all available opportunities wisely and efficiently. For me, the spiritual things have priority always. Let’s say I am cooking and my phone rings with a request for counsel or prayer. I always put off the fire and abandon the pots as they are. I forget ‘the pepper soup’ at whatever stage it is. I give all attention to this open door of the Spirit to plant seeds producing fruit that abide forever. I can never tell an anxious soul looking for Jesus that I am not available because the dust on the table has to be removed. I also pray that God makes me more efficient with my house chores. He has answered my prayer. I waste very little time in cooking for example, for these days I make almost no mistakes in that area. This is a miracle for most of the time I cook Nigerian food, something that is so different than my ‘native’ Romanian food. I am almost like a computer in the kitchen. I can organize my time. I know how many minutes will pass between boiling the meat and adding the salt. To cook stew it takes longer time, so I plan it wisely. For example, I cook stew in the evenings after I finished all my spiritual ‘assignments’ for the day. In this way, cooking is like entertainment and relaxation for me. Just in case you ask, my God likes my prayer time and my husband likes my cooking. At the end of the day, I can sleep thanking God for allowing me to serve Him in so many ways, all in the space of only 24 hours. Jesus’ yoke is easy indeed!
Another enemy of redeeming the time is procrastination. This means to habitually postpone doing something that has to be done. The flesh hates to do the things of the Spirit and will use any excuse to postpone prayer, the study of God’s Word or spiritual ministry. I ‘beat up’ my flesh; ‘I force’ myself to read the Bible daily. I do it in the morning, when my body and mind are at their best. I tell myself that if I like it or not, I shall read my daily allotted portions of scriptures. I do not depend on my emotions or my moods. I force myself to read and pray. With time, little by little this spiritual burden became a joy and a fulfillment. Like anything in this life, the beginning is hard, but if you persevere, you shall reap a great harvest. I cannot describe in words the happiness I experience when I can master something that was ‘impossible’ for me before.
Some other practical advice:
Plan your day in advance. It is said that one minute of planning will save an hour of labor later.
Pick the right time for the right thing to do. Give priority to spiritual things above the natural things.
Perform! Do not procrastinate!
Have peace with God and with yourself!
Lastly, give thanks to God for your life and rejoice always!
In Jesus name, amen!