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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

How Paul Motivates Wise Use Of Time

Notice the reasons

My father taught that when we read the Bible we should not just notice the commands — but also the reasons given for those commands.

That makes all the difference when I try to obey Paul’s command about using time —

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Eph 5:15-16

Make the best use of the time

So what IS the best use of our time?

We will each answer that differently, depending on our jobs, marital status, and so forth.

But there are some practices God calls all of us to pursue, like —

  • prayer
  • study of God’s Word
  • fellowship with other believers
  • evangelism

Clearly, these are some of the best uses of our time.

But let’s be honest —

This is not easy

We wake up tired — and sleep beckons.

We come home from work or school — and “Iron Chef” or “The X Factor” awaits.

We’ve got a free Saturday afternoon — and Drudge or Google news or Facebook invites.

And before we know it — another week is over and we’ve barely prayed, read God’s Word, connected meaningfully with other believers, or done anything to advance the Gospel.

So how can we obey Paul’s command?

Notice Paul’s reason

Paul doesn’t just COMMAND us to use our time wisely.

Paul gives us a REASON which the Holy Spirit will use to motivate us.

So what’s the reason?  Read the verses again and notice the word “because” —

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Eph 5:15-16

The reason is — “because the days are evil.”

How does THAT motivate me?

It’s puzzling.

How does the evil of the days motivate me to use my time wisely?

Here’s the connection Paul wants us to make —

Use your time wisely, because the days are evil, and your time can overcome some of that evil.

Let me explain —

The days are evil

The Fall happened.  Sin entered the world.

So evil exists.  It’s ugly, dangerous, and aggressive.

Evil is in Satan — who enslaves unbelievers and seeks to devour believers.

Evil is in unbelievers — hardening their hearts to the good news of Jesus.

And evil is in you and me — in our remaining sin — seeking to destroy us spiritually.

What can we do?

In great mercy, through Jesus, God has given us weapons by which we can conquer some of that evil.

Those weapons are prayer, God’s Word, fellowship, and evangelism.

So when you are tempted to waste time — think of it like this —

  • 5 minutes of Bible-reading right now could — by God’s grace — strengthen you against Satan.
  • 5 minutes of prayer right now for spiritual strength could — by God’s grace — weaken sin’s power in you.
  • 5 minutes of prayer right now for other believers could — by God’s grace — strengthen them against Satan’s attacks.
  • 5 minutes of prayer right now for unbelievers could — by God’s grace — bring more of God’s saving work into the world.
  • Calling a brother in Christ right now could — by God’s grace — encourage him to resist temptation.
  • Calling my neighbors and inviting them over could — by God’s grace — free them from Satan and bring them to faith.

Don’t misunderstand

We do need rest.

There are times when we need to relax and have fun.

And some of you might need to take more time to rest.

But others of us need to see that — the days are evil.  We are at war.  Eternity is at stake.  And there’s something we can do about it.

Imagine

Imagine that a vicious enemy is attacking your city to destroy you, your family, and everyone else.

But God has given you a bazooka which — every time you fire it — will always weaken the enemy, push back his attacks, and help spare your neighbors, friends, family, and yourself.

That’s the situation we face today.

The enemy is Satan and our sin.

The bazooka is prayer, God’s Word, fellowship, and evangelism.

So — as much as you can, given your other responsibilities — pick up the bazooka and fire away.

Make the best use of your time.

Thoughts?  Feedback?  Comments?

I’d love to hear — leave a reply below.  Thanks!

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Category: Motivation for Obedience

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8 Responses

  1. Jason Belk says:

    A worthy exhortation to reflect on daily, especially in the busy silicon valley where time slips by unnoticed with frivolity. I think the question you asked me several weeks ago is helpful for me to evaluate my time usage. How is this activity bringing more joy in Christ to me? How is it bringing me closer to God and more of Him? Yes there are mundane tasks we all do, but by God’s grace even those can be redeemed for God’s glory

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful and helpful push Steve. I value the theological and very practical insights you are drawing from Scripture to help Christians in their journey. It’s helped me.

  3. Natasha Kay says:

    This is GREAT! And so true.

    Once the twins were in full-time school, I started doing my devotional time during the day instead of first thing in the morning. But I missed the feeling of being up before everyone else (that Prov 31 lady sure knew what she was doing!) so I switched it back to early AM’s, setting my alarm with the label “The Devil wants you to keep sleeping”. LOL!

    Although the attack came fast and furious once I started doing my daily devotional time again, it’s nothing compared to the sweet intimacy with Christ that results from it!

  4. Kyle Laplante says:

    thanks for this one! i got convicted after reading this. my job requires that i spend ALOT of time on a computer and, of course, how do i spend most of it? facebook, chatting, etc. i could be doing so many better things with my time. like reading the bible or praying. this article is staying open in a separate window to remind me of the better ways i need to spend my time.

    • Steve Fuller says:

      I’m so glad you found this helpful, Kyle — thanks for letting me know.

      And may the Father powerfully meet you as you devote more and more time to what will overcome evil,

      Steve

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