“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” Ephesians 5:15-16a
“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” Nelson Mandela
- It’s time to meet with your Father! I pray He will help you make the most of the time you spend today. Quiet your mind, relax your body, and listen to what the Spirit is whispering to you.
- Read Ephesians 5:15-17 in both the NIV (above), ESV, and NKJV. Write one version in your journal. Reading multiple versions of the same passage provides a deeper understanding of scripture.
One evening, I was sitting on the couch after a long day. It had started out well. My husband was on a business trip, so I planned a nice evening with my girls. Then bedtime came, and chaos broke out— hitting, yelling, and arguing, all out of nowhere. I was totally blindsided! How could we transition from a nice evening together to hair-pulling and yelling so quickly?!
I responded calmly…at first. Then came the talking back and yelling at me—the thoughtful mom who had spent the last two hours catering to everyone else’s delights. I soon found myself shouting, and I could hear the Holy Spirit speaking to me in the midst of the chaos. As I pointed out to my children that their behavior was bringing our girls’ night to a terrible end, the Spirit showed me how my harsh tone was undoing my careful efforts to pour love into my children’s hearts.
After the night’s battle ended and the children went to bed, I sat alone in silence. Then God reminded me of a sermon I heard years ago. The pastor encouraged parents to feed into their children’s hearts and lives as much as possible while they’re young because parents lose much of their influence by the time their children are around the age of 12. My heart sank at the realization that my oldest daughter—the one yelling—had recently turned 12. I pondered her subtle but swift transformations: updating her childish style, sleeping later, sitting on the couch next to me instead of on top of me, and spending more time entertaining herself.
All of these changes appear to be progress—in fact, they might be answers to prayers I made ten years ago! I am glad to see my daughter becoming (generally) more civilized as she ages; however, it is obvious that my time with her is fleeting. She is maturing into a woman, and my Father reminded me how important it is to pull her close and make the extra effort to reach her heart while I still can.
This evening helped me to better understand Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” How does numbering my days produce a wise heart? I’ve always applied this verse to my total number of days on earth—my life’s end—but there is so much more to it. Every season, every phase, every day is a precious gift from our Father. Soaking in this truth not only cultivates gratitude and joy, but also wisdom. By numbering my days, I can live wisely, making the most of every opportunity to model a godly life and disciple my children and loved ones.
I was ashamed of the way I had acted that night, not at all resembling Jesus in my temperament. As my heart softened toward my children, I forgave them completely and realized I needed to model Jesus to them through humility and repentance. After reflection and prayer, I went to each of my children and apologized for my outburst. I didn’t make excuses or condemn their behavior leading up to my yelling. I explained that God showed me that my behavior was wrong, and I would try to respond better next time. Even more importantly, I demonstrated that I love them enough to forgive them even before they apologize or repent.
The New King James Version of Ephesians 5:16 says to redeem the time. The definition of redeem is “to make amends for, to offset.” This charge to redeem our time is certainly not something we can do on our own. We cannot offset time, and we can only make amends by investing further time. However, God is not bound by time; He can work in the past. He can take the precious moments we’ve squandered, whether it is hours or years, and He can redeem it for His purpose. We cannot relive the past, but God can put our imperfect pasts to good use. He will show us how to salvage our sin and mistakes for His purpose and glory. All we need to do is ask and obey.
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- Think about this past week. What activities or thoughts wasted your time? What can you do differently going forward?
- Do you have a bad habit that is consistently draining your time and energy? For me, it usually involves using media to tune out of life: checking Facebook, surfing Pinterest, or shopping online. Pray about how to sacrifice this area to God. If media is your issue, disconnect your WiFi during quiet time or before bed (don’t forget to turn off cellular data on your phone too).
- Do you feel guilty over wasted time or missed opportunities? There is no condemnation for this is Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)! Ask for forgiveness, and move on, committing to improve and realizing you’ll inevitably stumble and need forgiveness again.
Whether it is by wasting time, harboring bitterness, or losing our tempers, we all sin and fall short of God’s purpose (Romans 3:23). However, there is hope. We can take all our sins and cares to our Father every day, and He will consistently forgive us and cover over our iniquity. God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23).
Not only do I ask God to forgive my sins every night, but I also ask Him to right my wrongs. Sometimes I must atone for my sins by apologizing, but other times there is simply nothing I can do to make amends. Instead of wallowing in guilt over my failure, I pray Scripture over it. God has given us great promises. Claim those promises and surrender your will to Him!
Here are some of the Scriptures I pray to cover over my sins when…
- I feel as though I’ve failed my children:
“All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace” (Isaiah 54:13).
- I am faced with a tough decision:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
- I don’t have faith:
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:10).
- I feel attacked on all fronts:
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and He will flee from you. Come near to God, and He will come near to you” (James 4:7-8a).
- I am in the midst of a difficult season:
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
- I need God to change my heart:
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).