Friday, June 3, 2011

Time Wasted is Time Lost

Today I want to talk about wasting time.  We all have a certain amount of time allotted to us in the world and we tend to waste so much of it on useless things.  The sad truth is that time is the one thing you have that you can not earn back.  You can not save time, you can not increase time, you can not reverse time, and all we can do is to be smart in using what time we do have.  I believe the Bible teaches us that any time not spent unto the Lord is time wasted.  What I mean is that any time we spend that does not glorify God, serve God, preach the Gospel, or build ourselves up in the Lord is wasted time and something that we will have to give an account of. 
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.  Matthew 12:36 NKJV
I know there is no condemnation in Christ, but we will have to stand before Him and give an account for all that we did with the time He gave us on earth.  Idle here basically means lazy.  It means doing something other than what you should be doing.  It means wasting the time you have.  If we have to give an account for every idle word, how much more then for every idle action.  Our eternal position in Christ is as secure as our willingness to abide in Him, but our eternal rewards or whatever losses we suffer as we enter eternity will be determined by what we did with our time on earth. 

Please do not think that I am saying that there is no such thing as relaxation or recreation in the Lord.  God knows we need time to have fun.  God knows we need a little levity in our lives. The health of these tents we dwell in depend on it.  The question we need to ask ourselves, though, is if our choice of recreation is something that edifies or is it something that takes us away from the Lord.  That should be a question as ask of anything we do in life as everything we do in life should be as unto the Lord.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. Colossians 3:23-25 NKJV
What we do for the Lord will be rewarded, but there will be consequences for what we do not do for the Lord.  Even in our relaxation and recreation, it must be unto the Lord.  For example, if you choose to read, do you read something that builds you up spiritually or something that caters to the flesh?  If you listen to music, do you listen to music that edifies you or music that spouts filthy language and glorifies sinful behavior?  If you watch television or movies, do you watch things that can build you up spiritually or do you watch things that tempt you away from Christ?  What about sports?  Many of us play sports for recreation. If you play as a Christian and have it as a means of fellowship and as means of encouraging and building each other up then it is a good thing.  If you play with unbelievers and play as a witness for Christ where you behavior is a testimony for the word the Lord has done in you, then again it is a good thing.  However, if you act just like the world and use that time to tear down, taunt, and trash talk, then what you are doing is wasting time and spewing idle words.  When we are together with our friends, do we talk about what the Lord is doing in our lives, what the Word has been speaking to us, and as a means to lift each other up and support each other through hard times or do we spend that time talking about useless worldly things that have nothing to do with the Lord?  These are but a few examples, but we need to always ask ourselves if what we are doing is as to the Lord or if it is to the flesh.  The things we do for the flesh are wasted time.

Of course this all begs a question.  What if those things just are not "fun" for you without incorporating the things we should not be doing?  What if you like to hang out with people, but have more "fun" if you drink until you are drunk?  What if you like watching sexually charged movies or reading books that may be considered to be erotic?  What if when you play sports it is just not fun unless you are trash talking and taunting?  What if you do not like talking about the Lord when in the fellowship of other brothers and sisters.  What if you would rather be conformed to the world than to be a witness to it?  What if you would rather insult then encourage?  What if you would rather taunt a child than be an example to one?  The Bible has the answer.
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we [have spent] enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles--when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 1 Peter 4:1-3 NKJV
All those things are in our past before Christ and we spent enough time in them.  There is no place for them in the crucified life of a Christian.  If those things are "fun" for you and you would rather ignore the message of wasting our time in sinful passions, then you need to ask yourself if you really want to even be a Christian.  I mean that, too.  Do you want to spend eternity in Heaven in the presence of the Lord where none of those things exist or do you just not want to go to Hell.  If, for you, Heaven is merely the lesser of two evils then you better make sure that you have even accepted Jesus.  I am not talking about getting tripped up in sin.  We all do that.  I am not excusing it, but it is reality and a cause for us clinging to Jesus all the more.  What I am talking about is knowing what you do is damaging your relationship with God and not caring at all.  What I am talking about is getting drunk at a party and seeing nothing wrong about it (and this goes for those who laugh at it and think it is "funny" as maybe you are not partaking in drinking, but you are celebrating sin and evil).  What I am talking about is a willful rejection of the crucified life because you do not want to give up that which you consider to be "fun."  If the Holy Spirit is not screaming inside your heart when you are reveling in your sin, then I am not even sure you can say with any surety that you have Him. 

The fact is that all of our time on earth is preparation for our eternity with our Lord.  We are as a bride waiting for her special day.  For those of you who are married, can you imagine willfully doing things to hurt your relationship with the one you chose to spend your life with and not even caring?  Can you imagine doing things that take you away from her?  Can you imagine not having fun doing things that involve you spending time with her or growing closer to her?  I mean if you do not even want to spend time with the one you plan to marry then are you even sure you want to be married to that person?  And that is how it is with our Lord.  If you chose not just to spend our lives with Him, but all of eternity, shouldn't it bother you that you do not desire to soak up every minute getting to know your Lord and telling others about Him?  It really should if that is true for you. 

What this all comes down to is love.  Jesus tells us that if we love Him, we will follow His commands.  He is not saying that as a command, but as a natural effect of loving the Lord.  If we love the Lord, we will want to follow His commands.  If we love the Lord, our desire will be to please Him and not hurt him.  We often have this selfish view of love.  We believe we love in terms of what someone does for us or how they make us feel.  That is not loving that person, that is loving yourself as the focus is on self satisfaction.  Love is wanting to do for the one you love.  Love is wanting to be near the one you love.  Love is wanting to bring joy to the one you love.  Jesus did not wait for us to please Him before He died for us, but He represented love in that He died for us while we were yet sinners.  We must follow that same example of love the Lord in terms of what we can do for Him.  If we do not have that desire, we can not truly say that we love Him.  If you love Jesus, you will want to spend as much time with Him as you can.  If you love Him, you would want to do things that are pleasing to Him.  If you loved Him, you would want to get to know Him more and more each and every day.  If you loved Him, you would not want to hurt Him or take advantage of His goodness.  If you loved Him you would not waste your time on things that drive you further from Him. 

Please, let's not waste are time on useless things.  We had enough of worldly living when we were living in the world.  It is time to put all of that behind us and devote ourselves truly to the Lord.  If you are out in the world, it is time to leave that all behind for something better.  If you grew up in a church, it is time to take those principles instilled in you from a young child and make that personal commitment to Christ and not just take for granted that you are Christian by absorption.  If you are in Christ, then walk with Him, always.  There will come a time when we will stand face to face with the Lord and give an account for every idle word and deed we have ever done.  It is that when our eternal rewards (or losses should no fruit be found) will be given.  The time we spend for the Lord now will only make eternity that much better.  And so we must ask ourselves the question: Would we rather be good servants or a lazy servants?
His lord said to him, 'Well [done], good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'  Matthew 25:21 NKJV

But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 'Therefore take the talent from him, and give [it] to him who has ten talents.  Matthew 25:26-28 NKJV

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