Redeeming the Time

God is not constrained by time, so let’s trust him with all of our time.

Chapter five of Jen Wilkins book, None Like Him, gives us insight on the timelessness of God, and on our numbered days. God created time but he lives outside of it. He created us, and determined exactly into what time period he would place us. Our perspectives are molded by the issues and ideas around us in our lives; our perspective is limited by how many years we’ve lived on earth. How different from God!

He exists in the past, present, and future simultaneously! “…bending time to his perfect will, unfettered by its constraints. The past holds for him no missed opportunity. The present holds for him no anxiety. The future holds no uncertainty. He was, and is, and is to come.”

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

She outlines three ways we can redeem the time in this chapter:

  1. The first is to let go of the past. She says we tend to cling to it in two ways: sinful nostalgia or regret. Sinful nostalgia causes discontentment in our present lives because we wish it were like a time in the past. Being grateful for the gifts he’s given us right now helps to combat this. Regret causes us to dwell on past mistakes or hurts, “robbing us of joy in the present.” I love what she says:

    When I become discouraged about giving in once again to a past sin, the “lifter of my head” reminds me that though I am not yet who I will be, I am not who I was. He draws me from the past back to the present with an assurance that sanctification is slowly doing its work today. He keeps me from rehearsing my past hurts by reminding me to forgive as I have been forgiven. We can combat the “bad news” of the past by remembering and trusting the good news of the gospel.
    Jen Wilkin (None Like Him)

  2. The second way is to let go of the future. The two ways we hold too tightly to the future are sinful anticipation and anxiety. When we constantly desire the next stage of life, or thinking about when we can finally do X (whatever that things is for you), thinking it will be better than now; that’s sinful anticipation. And again it causes discontentment in the present, and can be fought by choosing to be grateful for what we have from God now. Anxiety is living in fear of what might happen in the future. God calls us not to worry – and that is really a call to trust him! “The antidote for anxiety is to remember and confess that we can trust the future to God.”
  3. The third way to redeem the time was to live today fully. There are two ways we can squander today: laziness and busyness. Either we think we will always have more time, or we think we’ll never have enough time; that the time given to us is not precious or that it is not adequate. We redeem the time by knowing when it is time to be busy and a time to be still and rest at the feet of our Lord.
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What stood out most to me in this chapter was “Tomorrow, if the Lord wills.” He who is eternal, knows the number of our days, and we never know if we will have a tomorrow. “We live differently when we regard the future as a place we will go ‘if the Lord wills.'” What should we do, knowing that we may not have tomorrow? We should live today investing in matters of eternal importance. “When we invest our time in what has eternal significance, we store up treasure in heaven.” How we live and interact with others impacts people for eternity!

When I first wrote this, I thought my biggest problems were that I tended to anticipae what we could do in the future- longing to be able to do things that we are unable to do right now, and also leaning to the side of laziness, not using my time with a purpose, just kind of drifting through. But I realized this morning that what affects me the most is dwelling on the past. Something happens, and it changes my mood completely. Even if I was in a good mood before, it could completely sour my mood. An example happened this morning, and it was actually what made me realize this!

Z and E were playing in one of our bedrooms, and as I went in to them, I noticed something weird on the floor. It was the little gel beads from inside E’s diaper. It had gotten so filled, it burst. I got into a bad mood. I would have to clean it up and I didn’t want to. I blamed Joe for not changing him right away when he got E out of bed. I was huffing around, and then just as I was heading to clean up the mess, the thought came to me, “You should be thankful.” I thought, “whoa, I should be thankful to clean this up! It means my baby is alive, and his body is working right!” Later I realized there were other things to be thankful for: we had the money to buy disposable diapers, and that we had a house to live in. But that initial thought changed my whole attitude right then and there. It was amazing! I was no longer upset, but looking at the situation with joy. This attitude change from bad to good doesn’t happen that quickly for me, ever.

What areas do you tend to struggle with?

I’m thankful the Lord has revealed to me this area of struggle in myself, and a way to fight it that is effective! I’m going to be praying that he makes me more aware of the times when I’m struggling, so I can be thankful for what I do have. That he would make me more aware of the number of my days, so I can be more intentional about using my time for eternal purposes. I want to use it for his glory!

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