March 15, 2014

What AREN'T You Doing with Your Time?

This is a question that we do not ask ourselves enough. We all assume we already know the answer. “I’m busy. I am always doing something. I work, I take care of children, I clean the house, and I run errands. What am I NOT doing with my time?” Hmmm…good point. What AREN’T you doing with your time might be a better question than what ARE you doing with your time. I'm sure that most people would agree that too much idle time and laziness are no good, but what if your days never have enough time to accomplish all that is on your to-do list? Let's take a minute to look at this; you’re a parent involved in your children's lives, you drive them back and forth to school functions, back and forth to leisure activities, appointments and everything else that calls your attention to raising them. This isn't so bad is it? Oh, but don't forget, you work a full time job as well. Who's cooking dinner? Who's keeping the house clean? Who's doing the yard work? Does any of this sound familiar? Is there any time left in the day for you? How about those of you who are doing this all yourself? By the way, did you remember to brush your teeth on the way out this morning?

It sounds like there's not much time in the day for any extras that aren't centered around checking items off your never ending list of to-do tasks. Where in the busyness of our schedules are we fitting God into the equation? Does He even have a set place, or is His place whenever you can find time for Him? Unfortunately, many people are living their lives with God as an afterthought, "If only I had more time..." So, if what you AREN’T doing with your time involves: you AREN’T putting God first, you AREN’T taking time to be alone with God each day, you AREN’T taking time to read God’s Word, you AREN’T increasing your prayer life, you AREN’T allowing yourself to rest and listen for the Holy Spirit’s voice…then is everything that you really ARE doing really mattering in the way it should? Time is a precious gift and unless we take the initiative to allow time for God then our days, months, years and our lives will pass by I the blink of an eye as we remain stagnant, still caught up in our hectic schedule with no peace to be found because we are lacking a relationship with God. 

"I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own, it is not for man to direct his steps." (Jeremiah 10:23) 

As Christians, our lives are not our own, we've given ourselves to God and He should be the first place we go to balance the time in our lives. It's not about removing something from our schedules to make time for God, it's about God being the foundation of your schedule and building everything around Him. How do we find balance? How do we prioritize time? How do we find the energy and the strength to do everything that a typical day demands of us? Well, if we AREN’T looking for those answers in the Word of God, we will never find them, and we will never have balance, or the strength to accomplish the priorities of our lives. The power to persevere, accomplish, and prioritize is given to us, after we give ourselves fully over to Christ, Our Savior. He comes first, and everything else is secondary.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)

With God as the foundation of our lives, what should our time with Him look like? A better question might be, "What am I looking to receive from Him?" The answer to that question is simple. If your are consumed by the distractions of this world, you'll receive nothing. Jesus says, "My sheep listen to my voice..." How do we even hear His voice if we don't take the time to listen, if we're constantly in a rush? Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." Be still and listen, be still and hear His voice, be still and know that He is God. Now does this mean we have to sit in a silent room, void of other things and people, for countless hours every day in order to give God the time it requires to deepen our relationship with him? Absolutely not. God is with you, wherever you go. You can find him in your morning routine, in your lunch hour, in those moments after work when you kick your shoes off and close your eyes for a moment, or before bed when you help ease yourself to sleep by reading His Word. You can seek Him constantly throughout your day, but you have to make a willful attempt to do so.

“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.” (Haggai 1:9) 

Our lives are filled with responsibilities and other activities, but these shouldn't be the things that pull us away from God, instead it should be the craziness of our lives that draw us near to Him. Our time is not our own, it belongs to the Lord. The busyness of our lives can take us away from our life with God, and away from doing God’s Work. He doesn't want us to be overwhelmed by our circumstances; He wants us to find peace. We do that when we seek Him first, and through Him, everything else will find balance. How do we seek Him? By giving Him your time, taking the time to be still and listening to His voice. When we hear Him, when we allow Him to place all of our responsibilities into His rightful timing and perspective, when He turns chaos into order, it is then when we are confident in knowing He is God and can find peace and rest from the world.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

Without God as our main focus in all things, we're living for ourselves. When we live for ourselves, we falter. Only God can keep us on the straight and narrow path, and bring us up out of the pit when we are being crushed by the demands and responsibilities of life. Are you using your time to live for yourself or are you honoring God by using your time to build a relationship with Him, to live for Him? Take time to think about how you are spending your time, or again, how you AREN’T spending your time.

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