And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
We need to wake up and see what is going on. Too many Christians have been asleep far too long.
(Ephesians 5:15-16) See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
We aren’t paying attention to what’s going on around us. The Bible calls this foolish. These verses give us two instructions:
- Walk circumspectly – most exact; also translated diligently and perfectly
- Redeem the time – to rescue from loss (improve opportunity)
We aren’t paying attention to ourselves. And we need to start. Romans 13:11 says that it is “high time.” Jesus told his disciples that the fields were white unto harvest – in other words, it is so urgent, they should have already started.
“The best time to start is yesterday. The second best time is now.”
Because of the evil days we live in, we must watch ourselves even closer than before. The devil has more practice than ever before and more tools to use than ever before. The Apostle Paul didn’t have the luxury of slacking off – and it’s even less for us today.
I. There’s a time for everything
Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived, yet he made huge mistakes and walked away from God for a season. In his later years, he reflected over his life in the book of Ecclesiastes:
1. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5. A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6. A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
I remember Bible college like it was 10 years ago. The teachers didn’t seem to care what other classes I had. They didn’t seem to care what my work schedule was. They didn’t seem to care that I had a date on the Saturday before the midterm. They still placed requirements, assigned Scripture verses to memorize, and gave tests to watch us squirm.
Not only did I have several classes to content with, but I also had a job that thought there was nothing outside the four walls of their building. I had a girlfriend that thought she was the only one in the world. I had a bus captain that thought I was his personal slave on the weekend. Then there was that thing called sleep – I met with him once or twice a year.
Now, the $1 million question: which one was more important? My classes or my job? My bus route or the reports that were due? My girlfriend or my job?
They are all equally important, BUT only during their respective timeframes. There was a time for my classes and the respective assignments. There was a time for my job. There was a time for the bus route. There was a time for my girlfriend.
The underlying priority for everything, however, is Christ. He is to have the pre-eminence. Not just first thing in the morning. Not just the top of our to-do list. He is to be the center of everything in our lives. God’s laws, commands, and principles always apply – no matter the circumstance.
II. The body of Christ is an example
(1 Cor. 12:12-26) “As the body is one…”
This passage is referring to the body of Christ, and each of us being part of that body. God’s plan is not for everyone to be the same and have the function. He has a plan, purpose, and role for each of us. When we all do our part, the body works correctly.
Has your leg ever fallen asleep and you tried to walk? If you didn’t fall, you at least stumbled a little. Your body wasn’t functioning properly – just because of one part falling asleep on the job.
God doesn’t intend for us to do just one thing all day, every day. If we only read our Bibles, we would not have time to pray, go to church, or go soulwinning. If we only prayed, we would leave the other parts out. This would leave us spiritually unbalanced.
This principle applies to the rest of our life. God intends for us to have a balanced life. Yes, there will be seasons when one area needs and gets more focus. But it should just be a season, not a life-long pattern. If you start a church, it’s going to take a lot of your focus, time, and energy. You won’t have as much time for your family and other obligations. If you keep this up too long, though, you run the risk of losing your family. The same applies for each area of your life.
III. It’s time to walk circumspectly and redeem the time
Circumspectly means exactly, precisely. This doesn’t mean to throw fun out the window as you go by on your way to follow a regimented schedule. It means that you are deliberate and intentional about what you do.
When you sit down on Saturday evening to work on your report, it’s not time to play Candy Crush. It’s not time to talk with your friends. It’s time to focus on your report.
“Plan your work then work your plan.”
“What about fun?” Schedule it! Plan for it, but keep it under control. Don’t just wait to see what happens. If you just wait to see what happens, you’ll waste time needlessly. That is NOT redeeming the time.
Make a plan for how you need to spend your time. You know what time your classes are. You usually know what your work schedule is. You know what assignment, reports, and tests are coming up. You know what special events are coming up. Take them and schedule them. Then stick to the schedule.
(Proverbs 22:3) A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. (also Proverbs 27:12)
Yes, unexpected things will come up and try to tear your schedule to pieces. But if “something always happens,” you need to start expecting it! Compensate for it.