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Make the Most of Your Time, All of the Time



“Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” – Ephesians 5:15-17

“The Great Time-waster.” That’s what I should probably re-name YouTube on my Google bookmarks bar. Perhaps then I would think twice before I click on it and find myself mindlessly watching video after video until I come to myself with a start, only to realize that 45 minutes or an hour has passed and I have nothing to show for it.

Please don’t misunderstand me: there’s nothing wrong with browsing appropriate, amusing, or informative videos on YouTube. My problem is that I usually don’t use my time wisely when I am on the channel. If I watched for a few minutes as a well-earned break to refresh myself between tasks, that would be fine. If I watched as an incentive to exercise on my stationary bike, that would be helpful. But instead, I watch when I should be working, so I end up behind on my projects. I watch when I should be talking with friends and family, so I miss out on relationships. I watch when I should be praying, so I forego important time with the Lord.

For you, YouTube may not be enticing. But, I suspect you have your own time-devouring temptations. Perhaps you lose yourself in social media. Maybe you spend hours watching TV or movies. You might be hooked on online gaming. Or, you might bury yourself in magazines, newspapers, or books.

I want to emphasize that none of these things is intrinsically bad (unless the content is inappropriate). The problem arises when we engage in activities in a manner that is not consistent with God’s will. For example, if I take twenty minutes to browse YouTube when I should be working or serving or praying, that is not consistent with God’s will. However, taking twenty minutes to watch videos at a time when I have no other obligations is perfectly fine.

Here are three questions from Ephesians 5:15-17 we need to ask ourselves regularly throughout the day as we make choices on how to spend our time:

* Am I being careful and wise about the activities I am engaging in?

* Am I making the most of my time if I engage in this activity right now?

* What is God’s will for me in this moment, this hour, this day?

Regarding that last question, don’t get hung up on the term “God’s will” as if it is some deep mystery. God has clearly communicated to us about his will. Here are some examples from Ephesians:

Do something good for someone. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Use your spiritual gifts to build up people’s faith. “He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Spend time strengthening your own faith. “We are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15)

Encourage someone. “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)

Pray, pray, pray. “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18)

Let’s take these words to heart and make whatever changes we need to so that we can make the most of our time – all of the time.

“Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” – Ephesians 5:15-17

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