In my last post I closed with the idea of ‘redeeming the time’ we are given, and also on the opportunity we have right now to begin to practice the redemption of our time.
God encourages us to pay careful attention to how we are conducting our lives. That often quickly becomes focused on whether we are sinning or not sinning. While that can certainly be implied by this directive, it goes much deeper than that. When caught up in the frenetic busyness we all call living, we may not really be living at all. There is a certain slavery that comes from the compulsion to keep moving and ‘doing things’. The question here is whether I am really free to do or not do. Unfortunately, the world system keeps us in a herd mentality, all moving to the rhythm of the system, instead of moving to the rhythm of God’s Kingdom and in His grace. It’s often difficult to even see we have been swept out by the rip-tide of the system to which we are accustomed.
The instruction to pay careful attention is—in essence—a call to live a self-aware and conscious life. Instead of just moving along as usual, we begin to ask whether the course of my life, and the decisions I am making on a daily basis, are really wise (going to be fruitful and life-giving). Have you ever gone about your day and had the feeling/thought, “Same thing, different day”? If you have, that isn’t a bad thing. Another way of stating the question is the statement “There’s gotta be more to life than this.” This is your soul responding to the cognitive dissonance that occurs when we are experiencing the difference between how we are living, and who God created us to be (and to live).
I like both translations of this verse. One states the exhortation in direct, easy-to-understand language, the other gives a spiritual angle on how we use our time.
To ‘use our time well’ speaks of consciously choosing things which will be beneficial to us and others … things which bring the LIFE of God in greater abundance to our own weary soul, and—as an overflow—choices that will bless and bring the LIFE of God to others. Some who read this will already be practicing this on a daily basis, or may be actively trying to learn how to do this more consistently. Kudos to you for listening to the Still Small Voice of the Holy Spirit in your daily walk! And all praise to God, who is the First-Mover in pursuing each of our hearts to draw us more closely to His own good heart.
For many of us, this sudden change in our lives (through COVID-19 stay-at-home orders) is a first real moment of breaking free of the system and our own unrelenting movement. When God implores us to not be foolish, He is speaking of our tendency to live a life of unawareness (even denial) in our life choices. The 'foolish way' is the way we chose which “seems right in our own eyes”. It does not enlist the wisdom of God or the empowerment of His grace. That is what grace is … the supernatural empowerment to do what God tells us is wise and fruitful (the path of real LIFE). We are encouraged to do the opposite of living in our own understanding, … to seek God … to invite Him to share His direction and purpose for our day. God’s will is simply what is to be done in my effective range of influence today. I will need His wisdom, the direction of His Spirit, and the empowerment of His LIFE to choose into the wise use of my time.
The phrase “Redeem The Time” is all about how we can be a LIFE-giving influence within the sphere of our daily lives. God has given us a tremendous power to choose to release His LIFE into the lives of others. It starts with drawing near to Him, but its net effect is ultimately to dispense His love, power, mercy and grace into the lives of those around us. You don’t have to raise the dead to display the power of God. Sometimes a smile (instead of indifference) will facilitate the Spirit of God to touch the heart of another. A kind word of encouragement can raise a soul from despair to hope again. You can redeem much around you, as you choose to wisely redeem the time.