In one of the greatest revelations ever given to the church, the book of Ephesians, God instructs us with some vital words of wisdom that we must be carefully mindful of every day. To ignore these words of truth is to live foolishly and will cause a tragic waste of our lives. I have no doubt that God has strongly laid these words upon my heart, so you would be wise to have ears to hear and eyes to see, the great truth of walking circumspectly by redeeming the time. What are you doing with the moments God has given you?
Ephesians 5:15,16 (KJV): See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
ESV: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Verse 16: (Phillips): Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days.
Message: So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
When we confessed Jesus Christ Lord of our lives and received salvation, do you know that Jesus Christ is Lord of our time also. Our time is not our own. Every breath belongs to God. Every minute is his. Every day He has given us. We must be good stewards of our time if we are ever to be disciples of Jesus Christ. There are 24 hours, 1440 minutes and 86,400 seconds every day. What are doing with them? Is our time wasting away? Are we careful how we use our time or are we frivolous with time and let it slip thru our hands like sand in an hourglass?
Time is a precious commodity. Time has high value. Time is not our property! It is God’s and we must give account to Him for the use of every hour. Those who waste, squander, and kill time waste one of the greatest talents God has given to us and rob Him of a sacred trust He has entrusted them with. Lost time is irrevocable. Once time is lost it is gone forever.
There are many inequities in the world, but one thing we all have in common is the same amount of time each day. God has allotted twenty-four hours to each one of us. Perhaps, because we are products of our fast-paced society, we tend to think and act as though God has short changed us when it comes to time. It is not uncommon to hear comments like, “There just isn’t enough time in a day to do everything I need to do.” “I just don’t know where the time goes.” “I’ll try to find time, but I’m hard pressed for time at the present.” But this is not true when Jesus Christ becomes Lord of our time.
Mackenzie: Most of us sense something else about time: it is a resource. Moreover, it is a unique resource. It cannot be accumulated like money or stockpiled like raw materials. We are forced to spend it, whether we choose to or not, and at a fixed rate of 60 seconds every minute. It cannot be turned on and off like a machine or replaced like a man. It is irretrievable.
ETERNITY will be appreciated only in the measure that we have rightly handled TIME!
For the Christian our rewards in heaven and our future position in His kingdom are all determined by what you did with all the minutes, hours and days God has given us.
Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset,
two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes.
No reward offered, for they are gone forever.
Eadie writes that…
The “unwise” allow the propitious moment to pass, and it cannot be recalled. They may eulogize it, but they have missed it. The “wise,” on the other hand, who walk correctly, recognize it, appreciate it, take hold of it, make it at whatever sacrifice their own, and thriftily turn it to the best advantage. They redeem it. Time is not yours to dispose of as you please; it is a glorious talent, which men must be accountable for–as well as any other talent. Ah, beloved, have not you need to improve your time–who have much work to do, in so short a time:
your souls to save,
a God to honor,
a Christ to exalt,
a hell to escape,
a race to run,
a crown to win,
temptations to withstand,
corruptions to conquer,
afflictions to bear,
mercies to improve, and
your generation to serve!
Many people fool away their time, some in idle visits, others in recreations and pleasures which secretly bewitch the heart and take it away from better things. What are our golden hours for—but to attend to our souls? Time misspent is not time lived—but time lost!
Time is a precious commodity. Think of your SHORT STAY in the world. “We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a shadow, gone so soon without a trace!” (1Chr. 29:15).
We have no other time in which to live.
The past is gone;
the future has not arrived;
we never shall have any time but time present.
Serve God now, but be careful as to the way in which you perform what you find to do-“do it with thy might.” Do it promptly; do not fritter away your life in thinking of what you intend to do tomorrow as if that could recompense for the idleness of to-day. No man ever served God by doing things tomorrow. If we honour Christ and are blessed, it is by the things which we do today
James Montgomery Boice, the great Christian pastor and writer wrote,
There are a number of biblical words for “time” and contrasted kairos, which deals with the significant moment or opportunity, and chronos, which deals only with time’s duration. There is another biblical word which I did not mention then but which I turn to now as an appropriate closing: the word nun. It means “now,” and it occurs in verses which show that the kairos in which we live, the pregnant present moment, is eternally significant. “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1Pe 2:10-note). “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh” (Lk 6:21). “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2Co 6:2).If you and I are going to redeem time, as wise men and women, we had better do it now, because there may be no opportunity tomorrow. If we are to understand the will of God, now is the moment that counts.
Barnes: Redeeming the time-The word here rendered “redeeming” means to purchase, to buy up from the possession or power of any one and then to redeem, to set free-as one from service or bondage. Here it means to rescue or recover our time from waste; to improve it for great and important purposes.
Kairos is occasionally translated opportunity in the NAS. (See also related word eukaira translated “good opportunity” in Mt 26:16, Lk 22:6) The English word opportunity has a fascinating origin. Hundreds of years ago when living by the sea was critically important to everyday business and industry, the word opportunity was first coined. Time-tables for everything from commerce to transportation depended on the rise and fall of tides. The specific time when the water was deep enough to sail out to sea was known as ob portu-when time and tide converged. As believers, our lives are filled with God given opportunities, those moments for example when an urgent need converges with your ability to help meet that need. If you have the eyes to recognize that opportunity, you can seize the moment and redeem the time for the glory of God, joining in with Him where He is at work. As we learn to recognize and choose to join God when He presents us with an ob portu moment, we begin to enter into the fullness of joy He desires for our Christian life.
The Greek word kairos which is translated “time” in Ephesians means “the right point in time, the proper time or season of action, a specific and decisive point in time, the exact or critical time.” It is a measure of time, a season, an opportunity of time, the exact right time that comes along that demands action or the opportunity is lost and the season is gone.
Kairos then does not emphasize a point of time but rather a space of time filled with possibilities and opportunities. Paul tells the saints at Colossae and Ephesus to buy up every one of these opportunities for yourselves and ultimately for God’s glory.
Time should not be spent, it should be invested in the kingdom of God. -John Blanchard
Redeem the time because…
It is very precious for the richest man in the world cannot purchase a single second!
It has eternal consequences (1Timothy 4:8)
It is so short (see Thomas Watson’s sermon below — Time is so Short)
It cannot be recovered once it is past.
It is not your own (1Corinthians 6:19,20)
G. T. Dunney says we should redeem the time…
With an eye to God’s judgment day employing it (2Cor. 5:10), rescuing each opportunity from the chains of sloth, ease, and listlessness
When you are redeemed, you are set free from bondage to the old life. This is why Ephesians 5:16 tells us to “redeem the time.” Don’t live the rest of your life the way you used to live. You have been set free from that. “The old has gone, the new has come!” (2Cor. 5:17). Therefore, redeem the time, buy up the opportunity, make the most of the rest of your life.
Colossians 4:5 (AMPLIFIED): Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity.
Ravenhill: Paul talks about redeeming the time, buying back the opportunity. Of the things we waste, we certainly waste time. The word that has been very much on my mind these past two or three weeks is in Ephesians. Ephesians 2:7 “But in the ages to come … ” How often do we preach on that? I think there is a danger of something I call “The Peril of the Immediate.” We are living in the framework of the immediate. We live there as much as other men. We are not supposed to. We are to live as men branded for eternity. “In the ages to come… “Look at Elijah. Elijah was told to hide in the cave. He goes in there for three whole years! Most of us can’t stand three hours without turning on a radio or TV. Try three days, try three weeks, cutting yourself off from everything external, everything worldly that has been labeled and poisoned by the world systems. We need to think and get things straight. Hebrews 11 tells me Moses endured as seeing Him who is invisible. Paul tells us the things that are seen are temporal and the things that are unseen are eternal. We need to be careful of living in the visible all the time. Visible values, the durability of things that are only for time.
Handley C. G. Moule comments that…
buying up the opportunity, as it evermore occurs, “buying it out” from alien ownership, from the mere use of self, securing it for your Master at the expense of self-denying watchfulness. [The same phrase occurs (Aramaic and Greek) Daniel 2:8: ‘I knew of a certainty that ye would buy the time’; where the meaning plainly is, ‘that ye would get your desired opportunity at the expense of a subterfuge.’… In Col. 4:5 the special thought is of opportunities in intercourse with ‘them that are without.'” Here surely it is the same. The thought of seizing occasions to let in “the light” upon “the darkness,” that it may become “light,” is still in view. Do this, remembering that you will need to do it if you are to be really serviceable to Him; it will not do to let things drift, as if circumstances would take care of themselves, and automatically serve the Lord’s servant; because the days are evil; the “days” of your human life in a sinful world do not lend themselves to holy uses where the man who lives them does not watch for opportunities.
Pulpit Commentary: Special opportunities are of special value. St Paul urges us to “buy up the seasons.” All time is not of equal value. There are moments of peculiar preciousness. Woe to him through heedlessness or willful negligence lets them slip. The moment that the rope floats by the drowning man it must be seized or he dies. The true value of time can only be obtained at a cost. We have to buy it up before we can make use of it. We must spend thought in considering how we can best use our time and in watching for right opportunities. We must sacrifice our own pleasure in giving up time that we are tempted to expend on ourselves, our amusement or our rest, to the service of God. He who gives to God only his leisure moments, when he is worn and jaded from his own selfish work, makes but a poor offering. We must put out greater energy in order to make our time of more value.
Are we giving God the scraps from our table of time, the leftover minutes after we have exhausted our hearts and minds and energy on everything else? Is God just getting the minutes that we are too tired and worn out to praise Him, thank Him, love Him, and converse with Him with any conviction and heartfelt genuineness? Are we only giving God a distracted, hurried moment before we move on to more important things?
“Improve Time in time, while the Time doth last.
For all Time is no time, when the Time is past.”
Redeeming the time refers to exercising wisdom as we recognize the times and seasons God has ordained for our lives. Ecclesiastes 3:1: “To everything there is a season, a TIME for every purpose under heaven.”
Esther 4:14: For if you (Esther) keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
God raised up Esther for this moment in history and she did not miss her opportune time or the day of God’s visitation. She saved an entire nation by not wasting her time and her opportunity. Jesus wept over Jerusalem in Luke 19 because they had missed their day of visitation. Have we missed God’s opportune moments in our lives because we are wasting our time on other things? Have we missed God’s whispers and God’s visitation because our heart is preoccupied and distracted with the things of this world?
God is not in time as we are in time. Our Heavenly Father has access to every moment of our lives from the beginning to end as if they were the present. God can step in and out of time according to His plans and purposes. God sees all time and once and does not have to wait for anything to happen. All is present for Him.
Wayne Barber gives us some practical advice on how we can redeem the time writing…
What do you mean, “redeem the time”? Purchase it. To purchase it, I have to have the collateral. Not only do you have to have the collateral, you have to have the right kind of collateral if you are going purchase anything. So what is the collateral to purchase time? It is my choices.
We have to understand this. Life is filled with one choice after another choice after another choice. It is not putting the garment on in the morning and thinking it is going to stay on you all day. You have to continue all day long to make those choices.
What are those choices motivated by? They are motivated by what the Word of God has taught us. They are motivated by our respect for God. Now to be the right choice it has to be a choice that honors Christ and His Word. That is the way I purchase time. I have only got one time around, and I have to learn to make proper choices.
How many choices did you make yesterday? We have to learn that time is short. We only have one season. We only go around one time. Make those choices. Why? Because every time you choose, you are going to do something. That is called a deed and one day we will answer for those deeds at the Bema Seat of Christ (2Cor. 5:10).
Adoniram Judson alluded to making the most of your opportunities when he wrote that…
A life once spent is irrevocable. It will remain to be contemplated through eternity…the same may be said of each day. When it is once past, it is gone forever. All the marks which we put upon it, it will exhibit forever…each day will not only be a witness of our conduct, but will affect our everlasting destiny….How shall we then wish to see each day marked with usefulness…! It is too late to mend the days that are past. The future is in our power. Let us, then, each morning, resolve to send the day into eternity in such a garb as we shall wish it to wear forever. And at night let us reflect that one more day is irrevocably gone, indelibly marked.
Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90 is a meditation (vss. 1-11) and a prayer (vss. 12-17). The prayer flows out of the Psalmist’s meditation on God’s greatness and eternality which stands in stark contrast to man’s frailty, sinfulness, and temporality. In this Psalm, Moses prayed for the practical outcome of his meditation, mainly, that he would have the ability to make the life God had given him more meaningful and that God might confirm or establish the work of his hands (vs. 17). He wanted his life to count for God and that it might have eternal value, but an essential part of this was an awareness of the value and purpose of his time on earth. Man’s problem is that he tends to live for the moment rather than for eternity. But where does time management begin? By calculating not only the brevity of life, but also the approximate days he might have left according to the average life span. With that life span in view, he prayed that he might devote himself to bringing in a harvest of God’s wisdom so he might live wisely, walking circumspectly in the light of God’s wisdom (Eph. 5:15-18). God wants us to realize the importance of every day, every hour and every moment on this earth.
God commands us in Ephesians to walk circumspectly in this world by redeeming our time. Circumspectly (akribos) means characterized by exactness, thoroughness, precision, accuracy in addition to the associated idea of looking, examining, and investigating something with great care and alertness. Akribos pertains to strict conformity to a norm or standard, involving both detail and completeness, with focus on careful attention. In context akribos refers to ethical behavior with a focus on careful attention especially regarding the dangers and deceptions that continually assault us from our mortal enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil.
See to it that you walk circumspectly (akribos – accurately, diligently, carefully). Walk warily, exactly or diligently. Our English word circumspect is from the Latin circum- = around + specere = look, and conveys the literal picture of looking around or figuratively being cautious. One who is walking circumspectly is one who is surveying all circumstances and possible consequences before acting or deciding. A great word picture!
The idea of akribos is that our walk is in strict conformity to a standard, and as such calls for carefulness against any departure from what is proper to a believer’s walk. How does one accomplish this charge to be careful how we walk? By not walking unwisely, but wisely, as those who are continually redeeming for themselves the precious time God gives, by understanding His good and acceptable and perfect will and by not being filled with wine but being filled with His Spirit.
Note that the NAS translates the adverb akribos (199) somewhat vaguely. Here are other translations that translate akribos more literally…
Be constantly taking heed therefore how accurately (akribos) you are conducting yourselves… (Wuest)
See, then, how exactly (akribos) ye walk (Young’s Literal)
See then that ye walk circumspectly (akribos)… (KJV)
See to it that you walk carefully, with circumspection and not carelessly
Wuest adds that you are to…
see to it that your conduct is accurate with respect to the demands of the Word of God. It is like a motorist accurately following on the right side of the center line dividing traffic. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
To reiterate, Paul’s command in this passage is calling for continual attention to how we walk. Why? For we are continually in danger of walking down the wrong path, for our mortal enemies (Sin [flesh], Satan, System [of the fallen world]) are continually bombarding us with “fiery missiles” in an attempt to tempt us to doubt the goodness and sufficiency of God’s way and try the errant way. (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25, 12:15)
I want you to look at time in a different matter. I want you to see it as a precious treasure God has given you. I want you to value and esteem it higher than any earthly possession and much more valuable than millions of dollars or a winning lottery ticket.
We have becomes masters at wasting our time. The Devil constantly throws things in front of our faces to distract us to waste our time on so many things that have no significance to the kingdom of our God or our relationship with God and growth as a Christian. We live in the Age of Distraction with IPads, IPhones, Xboxes, TV, video games, the internet and so much more. What is Lord of our time? We have let these things capture the gaze of our eyes and our attention while God is ignored day after day. Here are some staggering statistics: The average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube. The number of hours per day that TV is on in an average U.S. home: 6 hours, 47 minutes. Oh by the way the Devil owns television; he is the prince of the power of the air. Who do you think is feeding your mind and heart for those four hours? As Eric Ludy has said that it causes a DISCONNECT with God often taking hours and days to get back in meaningful fellowship with him. The number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 3.5 minutes. The number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680. Number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school: 8,000. Number of violent acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000. What about the internet? The average person in US spends 2 hours and 35 minutes a day on the internet and this is on top of the time spent on television. Global Time Spent Online Per Month is 35,000,000,000 hours (35 Billion) which is equivalent to 3,995,444 years The average American adult spends eight and a half hours a day in front of a screen, whether it’s on a computer, TV, mobile phone or other gadget. Users who spend the most time in front of a screen are those in the 45-54 age group, who dedicate nine and a half hours to this per day. The average person stares at his/her phone 150 times per day. That works out to once every 6.5 minutes of every hour that the average person is awake. Each Facebook user spends on average 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on the site Some of these statistics are a few years old and with the advancement of technology these figures are going to only increase. Is this redeeming our time for God? Is this using our time wisely? Is this living circumspectly? Oh how we waste the time that God has given us!
I want you to engage in an exercise with me. I want us to analyze a typical day of our lives and see how we manage our time. Let’s fill in the blanks with the amount of time we spend on each activity. This is not meant to bring anyone into condemnation but we must examine prayfully our use of time that God has given us so we can be wise stewards of our time. Put an amount of time after each activity in your typical day. Sleep _______. Work_______. Prayer________. Bible study_______. Watching TV_________. Internet_______. Games_______. Witnessing________. Eating______. Driving__________. Household chores______. Meaningful time with spouse_________. Meaningful time with children_______. Church________. Watching movies_______. Cell phone talking, texting etc______. Eating______.
These are just some main activities but go thru your day and analyze where you spending your time like you would when you analyze where you are spending your money. The results will be enlightening. As Christians we must begin to redeem our time and be careful how we live. We must prioritize our time with the help of our Heavenly Father and begin to consider every moment a precious gift given to us by God.
Beware of wasting the present. Instead of killing time, redeem your spare moments today. Wasting the gift of time insults the Giver of time.
Psalm 31:14,15 (ESV): But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
Psalm 34:4,5 (NLT): “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”
Man’s life is fleeting, like a handbreadth, which was the shortest means of measurement in David’s time. Man’s life is like one’s breath seen on cold morning that quickly vanishes. Without God, man’s life is without substance; he is like a phantom or a shadow. Man can amass great wealth, but he can’t take it with him. He must leave it behind and who knows what will become of his fame or fortune. Time is precious, but we do not know yet how precious it really is. We will only know when we are no longer able to take advantage of it…. Liberal and generous in every way, God in the wise economy of his providence teaches us how we should be prudent about the proper use of time. The great saints of old learned the wisdom of having only two days on their calendars: today and that day (the day they would be with the Lord). If we want a heart of wisdom, we will learn to live each day in light of that day. When we daily remind ourselves of the purpose for our sojourn here on earth, we will cultivate an eternal perspective on time; and it will influence our work and all our relationships.
Seize the moment so it will remembered throughout all eternity. Time is given us to use in view of eternity.
Author Dr. Michael Brown tells us about an important life=changing Hebrew word, aharit, which literally means “that which comes after; after effects, the end and the final consequences.” It is related to the Hebrew word for the back and from our normal vantage point we cannot see the back until it passes. It is like if I had an ugly hole in my suit jacket and you would not see it until I walked past you. From our human point of view we often cannot see that which comes after, the final consequences of a matter. But God sees the whole picture. Proverbs 19:20 says God wants us to be wise in our final end (aharit). Satan never shows us the aharit. Instead his focus is on the here and now, on the pleasure of the moment, on the need of the hour. And so he does his best to get our eyes off the aharit. Just think of Esau, who sold his life-long birthright for one meal, because he was hungry at the moment. Everything in our fallen nature works against the aharit vision. It says, “Forget about the consequences. Just think about now.” But it is the final end that counts, the final score that matters. The Word assures us the aharit of the wicked is destruction, and that their hope will be cut off. But the aharit of the child of God and believer is different. Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future (aharit) and a hope.” God has purposes, plans, projects, and counsel for our lives to give us our aharit. But have we failed to implement God’s plans for our lives because our eyes are distracted with the temporal instead of the eternal? We must look not at the things that are seen but the things which are not seen when we manage every moment of our lives. We must see God’s eternal plans as our aharit and therefore always live with our eyes fixed on eternity and redeem time according. We must see the consequences in all eternity of wasting the moment and throwing away our time with temporal things. We must see the aharit of our time management every day and allow Jesus Christ to be Lord of our time also.
Matthew 6:11-Give us this day our daily bread.
Skip Moen in “Words to Lead by: A Practical Daily Devotional on Leading Like Jesus”, talks about this word “daily”:“The Greek word is epiousion. This is one of the most unusual words in the entire Bible. The word appears in this verse for the first and only time…We can learn something about this word by looking at its parts. “Epi” usually means “upon.” “Ousia” is the Greek word for “being” (to exist). Perhaps the word is telling us that God gives us our being-our very existence-one day at a time. Without God’s grace, I would simply cease to be. Do you ever thank God that you just are? We know that our basic needs must come to us one day at a time. We are healed for this day. We are helped for this day. We are whole for this day. The basic necessities of our life cannot be stored up for tomorrow nor appropriated from yesterday. We can only live daily. Even life’s most basic needs are a gift from God.”
Our time is one of the most precious gifts of God that he gives us one day at a time full of 24 hours, 1440 minutes and 86,400 seconds. What are we going to do with our time to glorify God from this day forward? We should pray, “O Lord help me to manage my time to bring you honor and glorify your name. Show me how to use each moment wisely so I can love you more, walk with you more and grow in you deeper. Forgive me if I have wasted precious moments on my own selfishness and teach me how to use my time for you. I confess Jesus Christ as Lord of my time also and will allow him to exercise lordship of how I spend my time. Let me never waste or whittle away another second. Help me redeem the time and walk in godly wisdom being careful and accurate in the way I live according to your Word. Let eternity be the focus of my time and let me enjoy every moment in your glorious presence. Amen.”