By LESLIE LUDY
God has entrusted us with the precious gift of time. Twenty-four hours in every day; seven days in a every week; each day significant, each hour important, and each moment of value to God. How many of those moments are being spent on things that truly matter in light of eternity? Only when we are willing to give God the best hours of our day — rather than whatever is left after we have wasted most of our time on earthly things — will we truly experience vibrant intimacy with our Heavenly King.
Many of us look at our daily schedules and can’t see any available time for seeking God or sharing the Gospel with others. Yet often, our lives are filled with worldly distractions and time-wasters that take up far more of our free time than we realize. Social media, Internet surfing, phone chats, movies, and television are a few of the most common culprits. It’s not that these mediums are necessarily always wrong in themselves, but if not put in their proper place, they can quickly dominate our time and pull us away from building our lives around God’s priorities. When we aren’t guarded in these areas, we often waste the majority of our time on temporal things, without even realizing we are doing so.
Financial consultants often recommend that their clients keep a record of exactly what they are spending their money on. Often, as the client really evaluates his spending habits, he is surprised to learn that he’s spending far more in various categories than he would have guessed. The same principle applies to the way we spend our time. If asked to guess how much time you spend each day on social media, you might say, “Oh, probably a half-hour or so.” But if you were to set a timer each time you are on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter, you might be surprised to learn that you are actually spending far more time in those areas than you had assumed you were.
Or how about texting and phone calls? I’ve never been much of a texter. But about a year ago, a friend of mine started texting me daily with various updates, comments, and ideas. I felt obligated to text her back whenever I had a pause in my work or family activities. After a few weeks, I began to realize that texting with my friend (often about trivial matters) was taking up at least an hour of my day, and I knew it was not the best way for me to be spending that time. It was amazing how much of my time freed up once I put an end to this unprofitable habit.
If you find yourself frequently wondering where all your time has gone, consider keeping a diary of your daily activities – especially the things you spend your free time on. For a week or two, write down exactly how much time you spend on the phone, emailing, texting, on Facebook, on Pinterest, posting on Instagram, watching movies, channel surfing, reading magazines, etc. Don’t just guess at how much time you are spending on these things. Set a timer or monitor the clock as you do them, and write down the exact number of minutes or hours being spent on each activity. Then, prayerfully evaluate whether there are time-wasters that need to be cut out or reduced from your daily life.
As you go about your daily life, prayerfully examine the motives behind why you spend time doing the things that you do. When evaluating any daily activity, ask yourself these questions: Am I doing this for selfish reasons, or Christ-honoring ones? Is this activity purely frivolous, or does it serve a higher purpose?
Here are some ways you can tell whether something truly has eternal value or not:
- It causes you to draw closer to Jesus Christ and/or learn more about Him.
- It builds meaningful relationships with people God has put in your life.
- It helps you bless others and assists you in sharing the love of Christ with them.
- It helps you become better equipped for the things God has called you to.
- It leaves you peacefully refreshed instead of agitated and distracted.
- It bears “good fruit” instead of “bad fruit” in your life. (See Galatians 5:19-26.)
One of the best ways to evaluate whether your daily life choices are serving God’s purposes for your life is to write down the specific things that you know God has called you to, and compare your daily actives against those things. During this season of my life, I know that God has called me to cultivate my relationship with Him, serve my husband and children, be a keeper of my home, and encourage women in Biblical femininity. When I’m evaluating my daily activities, it’s helpful to look at each of my pastimes in light of whether they are assisting me in those priorities or not. Reading a book on how to bless and serve my husband? Yes! Spending an hour chit-chatting on the phone while my kids run wildly around the house? No! Emailing a friend who is in need of encouragement? Yes! Texting about trivial things throughout the day? No!
The Bible says that even the small areas of our lives, like eating and drinking, should be done for His glory and not our own selfish pleasure. (See 1 Corinthians 10:31.) When you allow your daily activities to serve God’s purposes for your life rather than to satisfy your own whims and desires, you will begin to gain an eternal focus in everything you do.
See that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time,
because the days are evil.