"Time is running out!" Pastor General Herbert W. Armstrong boldly tells his audiences. World events will soon reach a grand smash climax culminating in the return of Jesus Christ. There is only limited time for us to do God's work and build the character necessary to be a part of the God Family. Satan knows this as well as anyone. From his perspective, he has limited time to thwart our progress (Revelation 12:12). The apostle Paul wrote that we should not let Satan get an advantage over us; after all, we are not ignorant of his devices (II Corinthians 2:11). One of Satan's favorite devices, particularly in this modern age, is to waste our time.
Too busy for God
Satan knows that the more hectic, busy and jam-packed our lives are, the less time we will have for contact with God. He wants us to become preoccupied with various projects, errands and responsibilities — the more, the better, so long as God is crowded out of our thoughts. Are you a victim of this tactic? Sometimes at the end of the day do you suddenly realize that you have devoted little or no time to spiritual pursuits? Bible study and prayer can easily be overshadowed and nudged out by other activities and distractions. It's amazing how quickly time can slip away. We may wake up one morning with just enough time to get ready for work. When we come home that evening, it's time to unwind, socialize with the family and enjoy our evening meal... "It's still early" we assure ourselves. "There will be plenty of time for Bible study later." At 6:50 we receive a phone call, at 7:15 one of our children comes to us for help on his homework, at 7:45 we catch a glimpse of an exciting television program that hooks us until its 9 o'clock conclusion. The list grows. Soon we are drowsy and ready for bed — too late for quality Bible study, prayer or meditation. Obviously, many of the things we do each day are important. We cannot simply ignore them. How can we squeeze everything in without neglecting our spiritual lives? Consider Martha's dilemma. She was given the privilege of having Jesus Christ and a few of His disciples dine in her home. Naturally, she wanted everything to be just right, and that takes time and energy. This project became the most important thing on her mind. Her sister, Mary, was more concerned about hearing Christ's words. When Martha protested, Jesus was careful to put the priorities in perspective: "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:41-42). Martha had failed to recognize the most important use of her (and Mary's) time. Jesus clearly summarized that No. 1 priority: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). Here is the solution for getting everything done that needs to be done. If we faithfully and consistently put God first. He will make certain there is time for everything else that is of importance.
Redeem the time
Yes, time is running out. "Behold, I come quickly," Christ warns (Revelation 22:12). Every day should count toward the moment when Jesus Christ returns to rule this earth. We must be "redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16). How can we redeem the time? The following points should help: • Recognize your own tendencies to lose time and to let priorities slip. • Make a commitment to pray and study every day, without exception. Choose a time when you are mentally alert and there will be few, if any, interruptions. • Keep Bible study organized. Have a purpose and goal in mind Glean as much as you can in the time you have. Prayer time, too, should be well spent. • Maintain contact with God throughout the day. The transition time between projects, for example, might be a good time to send up a short, silent prayer. • Review your progress every week. If priorities got jumbled, figure out why and plan to do better before wrong habits arc established. • Continually seek strength and encouragement from God. He knows we cannot do it all ourselves, and He is more than happy to help us. Don't let Satan waste your precious time. Make a commitment, now, to put first things first. "knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearerth an when we believed" (Romans 13:11).