Now is the Time!

Now is the Time!

So here we are, at the end of 2019. Another decade has passed. I wonder what we will happen in 2020. For sure, it is an election year. We can expect the smeary politics will intensify. The media will be abuzz with advertisements and biased news reports to influence our thinking. We will be tempted to take our eyes off of Jesus, our hope and Lord, and get caught up in politics.

Therefore, post this Scripture where it will remind you daily. Ephesians 5:15-16 Be very careful, then, how you live not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Yes, we can expect much evil in 2020, but it is an opportunity for the light of Jesus Christ in us to shine brighter as the world increases in darkness. There will be opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in normal conversations and events all around us. Therefore, we need to take advantage of those opportunities because our time in this world is limited.

Psalm 39:4 Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.

Psalm 90:10 The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

Neither you nor I have a guarantee of even one more day to live. All we have is now. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t be timid or fearful. Don’t let the cares of this world distract us from rescuing the perishing and making disciples of Jesus Christ. Be bold ambassadors of Christ.

Jesus said in John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Satan is the thief, and one of the things he tries to steal from us through temptation is our life and our time. Therefore, time is a very precious.

Just think of the time wasted in sinning. Furthermore, think about all the time wasted from the consequences of the sins we have committed. Sin makes us ineffective, self-centered, guilt-ridden, joyless, afraid, and ashamed to speak about our faith.

But it is not just sin and Satan that robs us of our time and testimony. Sometimes good things can cause us to spend our time unwisely.

Luke 10:38-42 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Now, was Martha committing a sin by fixing a meal in the kitchen? No, of course not! But here’s the problem. She was so preoccupied with the service that she thought would please Jesus that she didn’t hear what Jesus was saying. Oh, she may have heard Him talking, but she wasn’t concentrating on what He was saying and so, she didn’t benefit from His teaching.

That’s the same mistake you and I make almost every day. We get so focused on what we think will serve the Lord that we fail to hear what He is saying. We are too busy. We spend our time with the good and we fail to spend time with Jesus.

For example, we’re overloaded with commitments. We’ve committed ourselves to go here and there, to take part in this activity and that social function. Sometimes, we need to be in two places at once. To reduce our commitments, we are tempted to stop going to church, reading our Bible, and praying.

We’re also overloaded with possessions that we must care for. Our closets are full, and our garages are overflowing. This situation creates stress because we worry that it might be stolen, or destroyed, or we might need it someday. When we do need it, we can’t find it. So we buy more stuff.

There is also an information overload from television, radio, newspapers, magazines, the internet, and social websites. But we can’t possibly absorb it all. Nevertheless, we feel obligated to stay informed and keep up with people’s websites. If only we felt that way about God’s Word. It is the only information that is necessary. We must choose what is better.

Ephesians 5:17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Now what do you think God’s will is for you in 2020? Do you think He wants your mind so saturated with worries and anxieties that you can’t hear Him? Do you think He wants your calendar so crowded that you don’t have time for the important things? What is the “good portion” that God wants for us?

The next verses tells us. Ephesians 5:18-20 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

According to these verses, our priorities should be #1-be filled with the Spirit, #2-worship God in your heart, and #3-give thanks to God for everything.

In other words, God should be our first priority. If we would do these things first and continue throughout the day, stress and anxiety would be replaced with God’s peace and contentment.

Secondly, we must also spend time with our family. Spend time with your spouse—just the two of you—no one else. Do this often. Make memories. Don’t put it off, for tomorrow may be too late. Now is the time.

Spend time with your children, too. They grow up quickly. These are precious days. Don’t let them get away. Make sure that you spend quality time with your children. Now is the time to do these things. Before you realize it, they will be gone.

Psalm 118:24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Learn how to live in the present. Unfortunately, many of us are living either in the regrets of the past or in the anxiety of the future, and we miss living in the joy and opportunities of today. In fact, many of us are engaged in the “wish” game of, "I wish I hadn’t done that," or "I wish it were next month," or some such thing.

Now is the time! Do what God wants you to do today, for we do not know what tomorrow will bring.

James 4:13-17 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

This does not mean there are not goals to pursue. After all, God has set goals before us. We are to pursue Him who gives us life and leads us to Heaven.

Phil 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

We all have an imperfect past. If we are not careful, our present enjoyment of God’s grace will be hindered by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But Jesus is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them in order for us to learn from them and turn the past into a ministry for the future.

Therefore, we don’t have to be a slave to our past. Yes, our yesterdays present irreparable things to us. It is true that we have lost opportunities, which will never return. It is true that we still suffer the consequences of past sin, but God transforms our losses and regrets into constructive lessons for the future. Leave the past under the blood of Christ. No matter our current circumstances, we can move on to better and greater things.

Moving on (straining forward) only happens by intentional, determined effort. Forget what is behind; strain towards what is ahead; press on towards God each day the Lord gives us. The goal is worth the effort. God has promised a prize—Heaven. Now is the time to get moving.

However, there are things keeping us from moving forward. We must get rid of them before we can “press on toward the goal” of taking hold of Jesus Christ this year.

First, repent of a lukewarm relationship with Christ. Jesus rejects those who are lukewarm.

Revelation 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

I repeat, spend time in the Word and prayer. If you’ve never developed that habit, pick a time and commit to it, letting nothing else interfere. It may mean going to bed earlier and rising earlier in the morning to allow time before other things must be done. Now is the time to repent and get on fire for Christ.

Secondly, repent of a half-hearted obedience to Jesus. Partial obedience is disobedience.

John 14:23-24 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

There is no fellowship with Jesus if we walk in disobedience and sin. Obey Him because you love Him. Now is the time to repent.

Next, repent of unforgiveness. When we choose to forgive, we are the one set free. We may not think we can do it, because the hurt is so great, but we must forgive for our sake. If we don’t forgive, our Father will not forgive us and we cannot press on toward the goal to win the prize.

Another thing we can do is repent of “that sin” we personally struggle with and have given up on conquering. You know what “that sin” is for you. Maybe it’s lying. Maybe it’s gossiping or anger. Maybe it’s looking at inappropriate material on the internet, TV, or in books and magazines. Maybe it’s coveting, or an addiction, or gluttony. Maybe it’s just plain laziness and not taking responsibility for what’s under your care. Whatever it is, we can begin repenting of “that sin” in 2020 to make it a thing of the past.

And lastly, repent of mediocrity. Mediocrity is the default position of life. Anybody can be mediocre, and most people are, especially when it comes to living for Christ and serving Him.

Excellence, on the other hand, is rarely achieved without intentionally straining forward. I’m not saying perfection. I’m saying excellence without the pride of ostentation or arrogance. There is room for improvement and ways to perform our service to God more excellently and Christ-like. When we humbly work toward excellence, we glorify Christ.

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Let’s make 2020 the best year yet in our walk with Christ and our service for Him. Let’s surrender ourselves, our time, and our lives to the Holy Spirit so that we may accomplish God’s will and purpose for us this year.

However, if you have never made Jesus your Lord and Savior, you remain without much hope for making 2020 any better. But, there is good news. Now is the time for you, too. Today is the day of salvation. You can end your life of sin in 2019 and start living a new life in Jesus Christ today. Tomorrow may be too late.

If you believe Jesus is the Son of God, who atoned for your sin on the cross, publicly profess your faith. Give Jesus your past, your sin, and your life, by repenting of being your own lord and being baptized. He will give you forgiveness and a new life in His Spirit. You will become a new creation and all things will become new.

Now is the time.