Spending Our Time Wisely

Spending Our Time Wisely

If we are going to be followers of Jesus, we need to be prepared for the pandemonium, persecution, and rejection that is coming. Jesus said these things would occur before He returned. And when we see them, we are not to fear, because Jesus has conquered death and given us eternal life. Much of the New Testament was written to prepare us for suffering and to encourage us to spend our time wisely as we await for Christ’s return.

The first book of Peter was written to give hope in the midst of suffering, but also to encourage us to live as shining lights in the dark world. For example, let’s read 1 Peter 4:1-11.

Now let’s look at it closely.

Verse 1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.

Other versions say “arm yourself with the same attitude of Christ”. What was that attitude? Christ’s attitude was one of humility and servanthood. That is to be our attitude—humility and servanthood. We are no longer masters of our lives—God is.

Jesus also suffered in His flesh according to the will of the Father. We, as the Body of Christ, are also called to suffer according to the will of the Father.

Philippians 1:29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.

Suffering for Christ begins when we stop sinning. Suffering for doing right is part of our servanthood unto God. God will take us through sufferings that are not consequences for wrong behavior, but for glorifying Jesus Christ. From the beginning of Creation, God’s desire is that we might be one with Him. This is why we go through the things God is taking us through; to conform us to the image of Christ. They are meant to make us useful in God’s hands, and to enable us to understand what transpires in other souls so that we will be prepared to minister to them with the love of Jesus.

Verse 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

The will of God is for us to walk by His Spirit; no longer by our sinful human desires.

Galatians 5:16-18 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

Are we willing to give up our individual desires and follow Jesus?

If so, we will not know exactly why God is taking us the way He is taking us. We may not understand at the time what God is putting us through. We will go through it more or less perplexed. Then later we will realize and say, “Now I can see the good that God intended.”

Romans 8:28-29 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

None of us are fully conformed to the image of Christ as yet. We are in the process of being conformed. Our development and growth depends on our repentance and obedience.

Verse 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.

We have wasted enough time by sinning. Nevertheless, we still have a choice. We can choose to sin and please ourselves, or we can choose to obey God and embrace the suffering that choice will bring us. The choice is not as austere, nor as difficult as it sounds. We will choose to serve the one we love most—ourselves or God.

If we are being saved and sanctified by the sovereign grace of God, then the Holy Spirit causes us to repent of sin and choose to spend our life as God’s servant. By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to spend every ounce of energy we have, every bit of mental, moral, and spiritual life for Jesus Christ regardless of where we are or what we are doing. We do it because we love Him more than our own life.

Colossians 3:23-25 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

That is how we serve and worship God. It is 100% of the time in everything we do and say. That is how we love Jesus Christ with all our heart and follow Him.

Verse 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;

Keep in mind why we are here. God has left us on the earth to be His ambassadors and that makes us different from others. We are in a foreign land. This is not our home.

People think we are strange because we don’t do what they do, we don’t have the same interests they have, and we don’t fit in. When we live and speak the Truth before them, they persecute us and malign us in an attempt to alleviate their conviction.

Are we willing to endure abuse for the sake of Jesus? Are we willing to be broken bread and poured out wine for Him, as He is for us—to be wasted for this age, for this life, to be spoiled from every standpoint except one—that we can disciple men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ? If not, then we must become willing in order to serve God.

Verse 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Not only will the pagans have to give an account for their choices, but we will have to give an account for what we choose now. The past is forgiven, we have been given a new life. What will we do with it? Our time on earth is like a coin. How will we spend it?

Jesus indicated in the Parable of the Talents that we will give an accounting someday of how we invested the time He gave us while He is away. So invest your time wisely.

Verse 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

The reason we are here is to preach the Gospel and to live in the Spirit of God. That is it! We have no other purpose on this earth. “Make disciples”, Jesus said. We have been given no other task. Has it ever dawned on you that we are responsible for other souls spiritually before God?

Ezekiel 33:7-9 Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.

Furthermore, if we allow any sin in our life, everyone in our sphere of influence will suffer. The whole body of Christ is affected. Therefore, if we love God and we love one another, we will stop sinning and warn others about the consequences of sin and the Judgment that is coming.

Verse 7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

To remain sober-minded and self-controlled, focus on Christ and things above. Pray continuously and walk by the Spirit. As the end gets closer, the worse things will become.

Fear will overcome us if we are looking at the pandemonium and persecution instead of Jesus. We will be victorious if we do not love our lives and the lives of our family even unto death. We must love Jesus Christ with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength to endure to the end.

However, it is impossible for us to focus on God if we will not spend time with God. A Christian must keep the sense of God’s call and Presence always before him. Spend plenty of time with God; let other things go, but don’t neglect God. God created you to know Him and to have fellowship with Him. If we are going to be of any use to Jesus Christ, we must spend a great deal of time with Him as our Lord and Master. Then He can reveal Himself to others through us. After we spend time with God, then we can take time to form relationships with people so they can see Christ in us and believe in Him.

We are in a very real struggle with our flesh, Satan, with the world, and many influences that want our time and attention. Therefore, the only way that we can have victory is by abiding in Christ, spending our time with Him. The goal is to walk in close communion with our Lord and to be filled with His Spirit. Only then can we reflect Jesus to a lost and dying world.

Spending time with God is something that God desires of us. God wants us to know His ways, His purposes, and His plan for our life. A million things will creep in to try to steal away our time with God. Therefore, we must choose to make our time with God a priority.

How do we spend time with God? All of our time should be spent with God, but we need intimate moments with Him. So, set aside a time and a place to meet with God every day. It doesn’t matter when or where. Just do it!

Begin talking and listening to God. That is called prayer. Pray that God will reveal something to you in His Word. Read it with a pen and paper nearby so you can jot any thoughts down. Meditate on what you read and think about what God is saying to you. Then act on it.

While praying, share yourself completely with God. You are coming before the One who knows you better than you know yourself. There is no point in trying to be fake. If you are sinning, tell God. If you’re hurting, tell God. If you’re filled with joy, doubt, fear, or worry, share that with God. He is your Father who loves you. As you continue to pray and listen to Him, God will redirect your thoughts and attitude to conform them to Christ.

Peter also tells us how we should spend our time with each other.

Verse 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

God is love, and it is His love that atoned for our sins. Love is a characteristic of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us. When we love each other deeply, like God loves us, that love in us will cover and forgive a multitude of sins that we commit against one another.

Verse 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Hospitality is the work of a servant. It can be costly to have guests in your home. The fleshly nature grumbles about the work, the cost, and time spent serving others. However, the Spirit of God in us will gladly offer hospitality and think nothing about the work and cost. By showing hospitality to one another, we show hospitality to Christ.

Verse 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

This is how God’s church should operate, serving one another in love and unity. Everyone has a gift and can serve the whole Body of Christ. If you are not here, we don’t have every gift we need. We need each other, and we need everyone to use the gift God has given them. There is something you can do in the Body of Christ if you are willing to serve.

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

Verse 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

In matters of speech, speak for the glory of Jesus Christ. In matters of service, be humble and do it in the power of the Holy Spirit. In every matter, spend your time on this earth so that God will be praised through Jesus Christ!

We have to realize that our time and personal life are meant for Jesus Christ. Whenever we spend our life for Jesus, unbelievers will say it is fanatical or foolish.

However, Jesus said in Matthew 10:39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

The world never considers the advantage of being a loser. However, to enter the Kingdom of God, losing our life is a requirement. Jim Elliott said, “A man is no fool to give up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

Will we lose our individual life entirely for Jesus? If so, it will mean giving up not only bad things, but things which are right and good, that are not about HIM.

If we have to calculate what we are willing to spend for Jesus Christ, we cannot say that we love Him with all our heart! Jesus Christ asks us to give everything we have for Him, including our time and our right to ourselves. Self-realization must be renounced in order that Jesus Christ may realize Himself in us.

Are you tired of wasting your time by living a selfish life? I hope you are tired. You see, you have to be tired of your way before you will desire a new life and the way of Christ.

Jesus came to give us life—His Life. Jesus Christ is the only One who has the authority and power to give us a new life, because He is the Resurrection and the Life.

To receive a new life, believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your Redeemer, and the sacrifice for your sin. If you do believe, then repent of your sin and selfish living. Publicly confess your faith in Jesus by dying to your old life through baptism. Jesus will resurrect you from the watery grave and give you His Life, an eternal life, born of the Holy Spirit.