This Sunday we continued our series in Ephesians; you can view the sermon here.
In last week’s post, we mentioned that Paul is looking at our identity in Christ, as children of God, from different angles. In Eph. 5:15-17, he teaches that as a child of God we have been given the wisdom of God. We are wise in Christ, and we must exercise that wisdom. Paul immediately jumps to the use of our time in verse 5:16.
The passage can be broken down based on the three definite articles Paul uses:
- The Best Use
- The Time
- The Days are Evil
The Best Use of The Time
We will look at the first two points together.
Other translations render the phrase “make the best use of the time” as “make the most of the time” (NASB and CSB), and the NIV translates it as “make the most of every opportunity.” We are to redeem the time that God has given us, as we walk in wisdom.
Time here refers to an allotted amount of time. God has given each one of us a definite amount of time in this life, and we are to make the most of that time. We do not have unlimited time and we cannot borrow time.
You can borrow money. You might take money out of your savings account and plan to put it back; but with time you can’t do this. If you do not make the most of the opportunities that you are given for God’s glory, then it is wasted and can never be paid back.
How do we make the best use of the time? We do it by seeking to be obedient to what God has commanded in His word for His glory, for our good, and for the good of others. We will come back to this in the application.
The Days are Evil
Paul says we are to make the best use of the time because the days are evil.
Since Genesis 3, the days have been evil and they will be until Jesus comes again. Our flesh, the world, and the devil will do everything they can to have us waste the time God has given us.
How might this happen?
We live in a culture that is about constant movement; we always need to be doing something. Busyness = productivity, or so we think; we can waste the time by being continually busy. The Bible says we are to work hard, but being a workaholic is not a way to make the best use of the time.
Social media is a great tool that our age has given us, but we all know that if we are not careful we can use it as a mindless time filler. Likewise, binge-watching television is another way we can waste the time God has given to us.
These may seem broad, but that is intentional. Each of us have different life circumstances. You will have to look at your life and use the wisdom God has given you, to determine how you can make the best use of your time in these evil days. God has given us the wisdom of Christ in His word.
Applying it to Life
How can you apply this today?
Earlier I mentioned we need to do this for God’s glory, our own good, and the good of others.
God’s glory. We are to do everything for God’s glory (1 Cor. 10:31). If we have a decision to make about how to use our time, it is a great practice to ask yourself what will glorify God the most. In your mind, using the wisdom God has given you, discern what will bring God the most glory and make that choice.
Your good. Thinking through this decision you should ask; “what will make me more holy.” Will binge-watching this new show make me more like Jesus? Will this potential lunch appointment help me grow in holiness?
The good of others. God has given you time to use, but that time is not ultimately about you. All three of these components need to be present in order for us to live as Paul calls us to. Your time, gifts, and talents are not about you. God has given them so you can glorify Him and help others. One author defines a productive life as someone who helps their neighbor. After all, Jesus said the second part of the great commandment is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
This is probably the hardest part for us. We are told that our time is about us. But God has given it to us to glorify Him, to grow in holiness, and to love our neighbor.
How will you make the best use of the time you have in these evil days?