You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. | Psalm 39:5
You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. | James 4:14
The Bible makes it clear that our time on earth is short. In order for us to live as God wants us to live, we must make the best possible use of the time He has given us.
There is no doubt that the responsibilities and pressures of our lives scream for our attention. The many things pulling us in different directions makes it easy for our time to get swallowed up in our regular daily activities. The activities that have eternal value, then, often get pushed to the back burner.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul cautioned the church:
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. | Ephesians 5:15-16
Living wisely involves using our time carefully, knowing that we are living here on earth in order to fulfill the purpose for which we were created.
Here are three tips that I try to incorporate into my life that have been helpful:
1. Ask the Lord to guide you.
Recognize that God has ordained for you a series of good works to accomplish. We read in Ephesians 2:10, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Ask the Lord each morning to help you identify the good works that He has planned for you on that particular day. Ask the Lord to show you how and when and to whom you might minister by using the good gifts and talents that He has given you.
Don’t limit your prayer for God’s guidance to the time you spend at work or in ministry.
Ask the Lord to help you manage your free time, your friendship, renew your creative energy, and give opportunities for ministering to the needs of others.
Months can go by without you making any progress toward the fulfillment of your goals if you don’t plan your schedule and set your goals and dreams into the context of deadlines.
Organize your time for maximum productivity and efficiency.
If mornings are your most productive hours, set aside those times for work directly related to your goals. Put your greatest concentration and effort into those hours.
Most people I know find it easiest and most productive to spend time with the Lord first thing in the morning. Others find their best prayer and Bible-reading time is right before they go to bed. There is no set rule. Do what works for you!
Ask the Lord to show you how to set your schedule in any given day, week, and year to allow for a good balance of work and rest, alone time and family time.
3. Review your day.
At the close of a day, review the way in which you have spent your time. Evaluate your schedule. Compare what you did with what you intended to do. Ask yourself:
- Did I make good use of my time?
- Did I procrastinate?
- Was I able to maintain my concentration?
- Did I engage in activities that truly were priorities?
- Did I make progress (even a little) toward the accomplishment of my God-given goals?
As you see yourself doing things you desire to do in order to be successful in God’s eyes, give thanks and praise to God for His guidance, help, and encouragement.
We need to place our focus on things that are eternal as opposed to the fleeting pleasures of this passing world.
Accordingly, we should move forward with diligence and divine purpose as the courses of our lives progress toward God’s ultimate goal. We should accomplish as much as we can with the time He has given us. We will be eternally rewarded for investing our time in good works (1 Corinthians 3:14).