Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29, 2011 … Again – Living Unselfishly

Passage of the Day: Ephesians 5: 16 [highlight verse in bold/underlined] … 15 Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

My Journal for Today: Yes, we return to Ephesians 5: 16 one more time! And I’ve learned that any time an accomplished and gifted teacher like John MacArthur repeats a biblical exposition like this, as he does in today’s Strength for Today devotional, one should take notice. And so, I hope you, who read this, will join me in paying close attention to this entry.

According to MacArthur, the use of our time as Christians measures our willingness to live for self or for others. So, MacArthur returns to a focus on the Apostle Paul’s exhortation in today’s verse, indicating that believers should be “… making the most of our time.” (from the NASB translation). If I were to paraphrase this portion of today’s verse, I’d say it this way: “making Christlike choices as we live our lives.” Such choices, in my humble estimation, reflect the degree to which we are living as wise Christians in answer to the question James asked on DAY ONE this month (from James 3: 13), “Who is wise and understanding among you (Christians)?”

Jesus, when He was teaching about how we invest the providence of our financial gain, said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [Matt. 6: 21] Christ wants us to be willing to give our all for Him, … not just our treasures, but also our time. However, through His grace, He only demands the first portion of our God-given providence (see Prov. 3: 9 – 10, Matt. 6: 33, and 2nd Cor. 9: 6 – 7). And our investment of time falls under these edicts of truth as well as would our treasure or our talents.

So, what are we doing with our time? When we have daily or long-range planning choices to make involving our time, do we think of God first? This morning when our feet hit the floor, did we choose to invest the FIRST portion of our day with God; or did we invest that time thinking of selfish concerns or other worldly, frivolous matters?

Let’s reflect for a moment. Allow me to ask myself (and you) these questions concerning the time investment choices in our lives …

>>> What did we do yesterday for our Lord or His Kingdom?
>>> What do I plan to do on this very day which will definitely glorify my Father in Heaven?
>>> What goals and plans do I have for tomorrow and beyond that reflect my love of God?

And a few more questions … How do the answers to those questions above help me measure my Godly wisdom? Am I wise enough to realize that I’m spending my time to get to know the mind of God and His will for my life? Am I accounting for my time in a way that reflects my understanding of God’s word and His plan for my life? How am I using my time to understand and internalize God’s word? Am I spending my time using the spiritual gift or gifts God has given me to reap eternal rewards in Heaven from the investment of the time God has given me in this life? As it directs in Matt. 6: 33, am I really seeking to invest my time first for God and His righteous, or do I consider my own fleshly choices first as I plan my life?

These are hard questions which demand straight AND honest answers; because the answers will lead us to do what the Apostle Paul has exhorted in Ephesians 5: 16 … to make the most of every opportunity to serve our God.

My Prayer Today: Help me, Lord … convict me … direct me … to live for You … FIRST! … Yes, Lord, as Fernando Ortega sings at this link, “You can have all this world, … just give me Jesus!”

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