“We have time enough if we will but use it aright.”
Two different audiences will be reading this post.
1) Those to whom it will be a confirmation.
2) Those who really need to hear this message and take action on it.
Last week, I presented four ways to know if you’re growing in the Lord or not. Today, I want to invert the pyramid on that subject and talk about one of the causes.
In our busier-than-ever-yet-I-invite-you-to-play-FarmVille-and-Candy-Crush-with-me culture, I often hear Christians in their 20s and 30s say, “I just don’t have time” when it comes to taking advantage of golden opportunities to accelerate their spiritual growth.
The response, “I just don’t have time” is an excuse. And it’s not an honest one.
The truth is, we make time for what’s important to us.
On this point, Michael Frost made this statement in response to those who say, “I don’t have time” when it comes to spiritual opportunities:
“Repent. Seriously, I’m not insensitive to the needs and pressures of contemporary life. Look, it’s not rocket science. I just think our society’s values of materialism, consumerism and individuality have a stranglehold on us. They are shaping us into the kinds of people we don’t want to be.”
Case in point: When I was in my 20s and 30s, I was as busy as any other mortal being a university student, having a full-time job, family, and all that each demands.
Yet I found time to listen to audio messages from the few people who were changing my life back then.
I found time to connect with other believers who wanted more of the Lord.
I found time to read the books and articles by the few authors who were making a revolutionary impact on my heart and mind.
I found time to read the Scriptures (not every day, mind you, and not huge amounts in one sitting).
I found time to fellowship with the Lord throughout the day.
I found time to read the one newsletter I subscribed to every month.
I found time to attend conferences and events that I believed could change my life.
Point: I don’t care how busy you are (or think you are), you can always find time to sharpen the blade of your spiritual life.
The real question is: how important is it to you?
Here’s how I made time:
- I listened to audio messages while I was exercising, walking, driving (commuting), or doing house work. ANYONE can find time to do this.
- I went to bed an hour earlier and I woke up an hour earlier to read. Sometimes I reversed the order and read at night.
- I stripped away those things that weren’t really helping me much — which was most of the books my Christians friends recommended to me. You know, the “pop” books that have multiple copies in bookstores and that are featured on devil-vision, I mean, television. I reduced my spiritual input to the best and the highest. I used my limited time for those people who were ministering Jesus Christ to me (and not “things” about Him or “information”) and who were showing me God’s Eternal Purpose, which is the reason for living.
I’m convinced that I couldn’t have the impact I have today if I didn’t invest my time in high-quality ministry and reading high-quality content over the years (“deeper life” material that’s enduring and filled with Christ.)
Those resources inspired me to get to know the Lord for myself and to find Him in the Scriptures. And to find the time to do so.
In my experience, those who say “I just don’t have the time” really mean, “I don’t want to make the time. It’s not important enough to me.”
Here’s the stinger. In virtually every case I’ve seen, the same people have time to watch movies.
They have time to play (and invite all their friends to play) FarmVille and/or Candy Crush Soda Saga (or some other life-altering game).
They have time to descend into fruitless, no-win arguments on Facebook over guns, Hilary Clinton, Donald Trump, gender-roles, biblical inerrancy, ( ____ fill in the blank), ISIS, etc.
They have time to watch sporting events.
They have time to attend parties.
They have time to play video games.
They have time to watch The Walking Dead or some other life-changing TV show.
The list goes on.
Resolve: Consider all the spiritual content you’re letting into your life — books, blogs, podcasts, etc. — and consider the non-spiritual things you’re consuming — then stream it down to the gold. Strip it down to that which gives you Jesus Christ and shows you His Eternal Purpose.
And make the time for that. The time is there if you look for it. You have to be intentional or else you’ll find your spiritual life being squeezed out by other less important things.
Of course, I’m saying all of this with the assumption that you’re interested in growing spiritually to the point where you’ll make a tremendous impact on the Kingdom of God. If not, well, just ignore my riff here and keep using your time on those things that lack eternal value.