We know that the Lord guides us through our circum-stances. Yet, there is no guarantee that making the time for growth in Christ would be an easy thing. We are told in Scripture to not only lay aside sin but also “everything that hinders” (Hebrews 12:1 Emphasis added). Jude writes that we need to ‘contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). The word translated into English as “contend” is taken from the Greek word from which we get the word “agonize.” Keeping the faith is not an easy matter. It requires diligence,patience and sacrifice. Today, many of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world are learning this lesson to the extreme. Martyrdom and persecution are the price that they pay to keep their precious faith.
I suspect that too many of us expect our life in Christ to just “click into place” without effort. Our walk of faith must never be on “auto pilot.” Despite living in a culture of easy, instant spirituality, we are presented with many opportunities to actively and purposely grow in the faith. Being made in God’s image, we are creative beings. Be creative in finding ways to “redeem the time” and keep fellowship with Jesus. Some of these ways are nothing more than points of good time management. Schedule your time of prayer, Bible study, or meditation on the Word as you would a doctor’s appointment or a business meeting. Perhaps it means waking up half an hour earlier to carve out time which you thought you did not have. Lunchtime at work might provide a time for prayer, reading, or study. It may even mean going on a fast from listening to the radio in your car or watching television. Perhaps your car act can as a portal version of an “inner room” which provides you some small level of sanctuary and solitude to read, reflect and pray.
Something that has been helpful to me is the using a smart phone. I use an app created by Olive Tree for reading several Bible translations on my iPhone. I also keep a number of e- books available to read with a Kindle app). It continues to fascinate and challenge me that the equivalent of a large library can be kept and accessed on a device which fits in my shirt pocket. When waiting in a doctor’s office or stuck in a long line in a grocery store, it is really satisfying to get out my smart phone and read from the Bible or a work of classic Christian literature. When I find myself in a long line at a grocery store, I find that being able to pick what I read from my iPhone is a better use of my time than being assaulted by magazines with images of celebrities in the tabloid racks, beckoning me to read about their latest diet or love affair. It is a wonderful way to redeem the time.
I’m happy to report that Julie recovered and is doing well with no recurrence of her blood clots. My mother was able to return home and live there right up to the last week of life six years later. In the midst of some prolonged time pressures during that period in 2002, I’ve learned some very valuable lessons about my faith. You can find the time to maintain a good fellowship with God in the midst of difficult circumstances. He expects us to. The Lord has placed us in these times so that we will find Him.
We live in a society in which we face enormous time pressures. We’ve seen how this can be used as a strategy against us by the enemy of our soul (Matthew 13:39; Luke 10:19) with the goal of trying to separate us from fellowship with God. Realizing this, I am learning the value of being selective with the time and treasures that the Lord has given. Lastly, I know that none of this will happen without a struggle. It takes creativity to fight back against the time pressures we face. If you see me on the street or in a store, tell me about how your struggle is going. I’ll be the one standing in line, reading the Psalms on my smart phone.
End of Part 5
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