Time is running out.
That thought smacked me in the head like a wet snowball.
I’d barely finished singing the last chorus of Auld Lang Syne when I sat down to make my New Year’s Resolutions (the ones I’d surely break in a few days).
But, like glitter that remains ground in the carpet long after the holidays are over, the song “Frosty the Snowman” stayed stuck in my head. It seemed Frosty and I had a lot in common.
Looking in the mirror, I saw a lot more drooping and sagging than before. I imagine Frosty started off firm and tight, too, but as time passed, he became softer and squishier.
Like Frosty, I saw time melting away, and I wondered if I’d done anything worthwhile with my life.
What if I’d wasted weeks and months chasing after worthless things?
What if I’d fretted away my days with endless worries over inconsequential things?
Had I misspent my minutes, pondering and procrastinating, but never progressing?
Had I missed the things that matter?If we misspend our minutes pondering, procrastinating, and never progressing, we may miss the things that really matter.
Making an Effort to Use Time Wisely
Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:15-16 HCSB
Ephesians 5:16 instructs us to make the best use of every opportunity.
I felt an urgency to use my time wisely, but I wasn’t sure what God wanted me to do.
Then I read further.
“So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.” – Ephesians 5:17-21 HCSB
Foolishness and drunkenness are not a good use of time.
Ephesians says that drunkenness leads to “reckless actions.”
The Greek word translated “reckless actions” is asotia. It literally means “excess, wastefulness, or riotous living.”
It means a waste of time, energy, and resources.The Bible tells us to make the most of the time we are given.
4 Ways We Do Not Use Time Wisely
The mind of the discerning acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks it. – Proverbs 18:15 HCSB
As I meditated on these verses and prayed for insight, God showed me a few time wasters that keep us from making the most of our time.
#1 – We Waste Time Through Procrastination
When there’s a job to be done, stalling wastes time. For example, you don’t need to check all of your social media accounts before you begin a task on your computer. Instead, you can take five-minute breaks to reward yourself with social media interaction when you complete tasks one at a time.
#2 – We Waste Time Through Perfectionism
Some important jobs merit careful, mistake-free work. But often, “good enough” will get the job done. It’s okay to let the little things go and not strive to be perfect in everything you do, and it’s also okay to delegate things to others if you have too much on your plate.
#3 – We Waste Time by Overanalyzing
Spending excessive amounts of time deliberating over inconsequential decisions wastes time. If you struggle with overanalyzing, ask a couple of trusted friends or family members to help you arrive at a reasonable choice.
#4 – We Waste Time by Overindulging
It’s not wrong to spend time shopping, watching TV, checking social media, or reading news stories. But these activities can crowd out more important pursuits. Ask God to help you recognize the feelings underneath your desire to overindulge, and open your heart to receive his encouragement and comfort instead.Here are four common time wasters with tips on how to overcome them.
Biblical Truth to Help You Use Your Time Wisely
Be filled by the Spirit. – Ephesians 5:18c HCSB
We can’t afford to waste our God-given talents and time. The key to making the best use of our time is this: be filled with the Spirit.
From this passage, I saw two main categories of time well spent.
Loving God: The Spirit-filled Christian spends time worshiping, praising, giving thanks, and drawing close to God.
Loving Others: The Spirit-filled Christian spends time encouraging and serving others.
As I thought about how I should be spending my time, my focus was on what I still wanted to accomplish.
I thought about how little time I had left to achieve something noteworthy.
But in God’s kingdom, the first place ribbon goes to the one who is the servant of all (Mk 9:35).
Some of the most important achievements, the ones that merit a “well-done” from our Master, are often the things that go unnoticed on earth.
When we’re caring for our families or serving in our churches and in our jobs, we’re doing important work.
When we’re encouraging our friends and sharing the love of Christ with the downtrodden, we’re using our time wisely.
Worthwhile activities do not always result in finished products or pictures to post on social media.
Simple acts of love are often the most significant activities of all.Some of our most important achievements often go unnoticed by others, but not by God.
4 Biblical Truths to Help You Use Time Wisely
For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10 HCSB
These four biblical truths will help you use time wisely. Put one into practice today and add more in as you build new habits.
Step #1: Pray Diligently
But I call to You for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer meets You. – Psalm 88:13 HCSB
Each morning, we can pray for God to fill us with His wisdom-giving Spirit and guide our daily objectives and long-range goals.
God has prepared good works for us—tasks suited to our abilities and gifts. Through prayer, we discover our unique, God-given assignments.
Each evening, we can thank and praise God for helping us meet our goals and showing us how to exercise our gifts.
Step #2: Plan Carefully
Commit your activities to the Lord, and your plans will be achieved. – Proverbs 16:3 HCSB
Having a plan keeps us from drifting from one distraction to another.
We need to schedule time for Bible study and prayer. For the sake of our mental health, we also need to leave some blank spaces on our calendars.
Next, we can write down the non-negotiables: hours spent on the job, appointments, and commitments.
Then we can plan time for rest, recreation, and relationship-building activities. These things are essential to a healthy, balanced life.Apply these four biblical truths to help you use time wisely.
Step #3: Prioritize Judiciously
A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps. – Proverbs 16:9 HCSB
After we’ve made our to-do lists, we can establish priorities.
It’s important to allow time to be available for the friend who wants to talk or the neighbor who needs a hand. If our schedules are too tight, we’ll be thrown off balance by unexpected delays such as lost keys or dawdling kids.
Where there’s wiggle room to choose activities, it’s wise to put people before projects and to value service and submission above achievement and accomplishment.
Step #4: Pay Attention
When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. – John 16:13a HCSB
We can give ourselves permission to alter our plans if God sends us in a different direction. Sticking too rigidly to an agenda can quench the Spirit.
We need to keep our eyes open for opportunities God sends our way. Praying for opportunities to use time wisely also keeps our hearts open for the Spirit’s prompting.
Blessings Flow When We Use Time Wisely
Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come. – Proverbs 31:25 HCSB
Maybe, like me, you fear that time is slipping away.
You may feel that time is running out:
- to achieve your goals.
- to make your dreams a reality.
- to fulfill your God-given purpose.
Let’s remember God has great plans for each of us, but His view of greatness is not the same as the world’s view.
If we pray, plan, prioritize, and pay attention to the Spirit’s leading, our days will be well spent.
Like Frosty, one day, we’ll each have to “hurry on our way.” If we use our time wisely, one day, we’ll hear the voice of the Father saying, “Well done” (Mt 25:21).
– Margaret Kemp
Margaret Kemp spends most days teaching a class of lively five-, six-, and seven-year-olds. She’s attracted to the printed word, the fragrance of vanilla, and all things blue and white. She loves spending time with her husband and family, singing, and traveling. Her heart desires to know God better and to find delight in Him. Read more of her writing at The Glorious Table, on her blog and Instagram.