One characteristic that separates successful people from people who have limited success is the way they use time. People who are successful have the ability to use the majority of their time productively.
For us on the outside it can feel like they can accomplish in a day what it would take a week for us to do. Successful people understand that time is a valuable resource that needs to be used wisely.
On the other side of the spectrum, people who have limited success usually see time as a limitless. For them time is less valuable. Their mantra is, “There is always tomorrow.”
I have come to the conviction that many of us need to change the way we view time. Time is one of the most valuable resources God has given to us. Just as we are called to be good stewards of our money, we need to be good stewards of our time.
The apostle Paul addressed the issue of time in Ephesians 5:
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16; NKJV)
Notice they way Paul describes our days: they are evil.
This reality is the reason we need to be mindful in the way we use our time. Living in evil days means that if we are not wise in the use of our time we allow evil to win. Since the days are evil we need to live with wisdom, and this requires that we are good stewards of our time. Only by living with wisdom can we hope to redeem the time that we live in.
To redeem something is to reclaim it. Our days are lost to evil, but we can reclaim our time by living with wisdom.
This brings us to this question: How do we live with wisdom?
At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus told this short parable:
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27; NKJV)
According to Jesus the key to living with wisdom is to follow his teachings.
For us to do that we have to first believe that his teachings contain the wisdom we need for life. If we do not believe that truth, then it doesn’t matter how much we study what Jesus taught, we will not obey it.
The second step that we must do is we must obey the teaching. In his letter James wrote:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25; NKJV)
When we come to Jesus we realize that something is wrong in our lives. Like the rich, but moral, young man who asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, we come to Jesus because we know something is missing in our lives.
One of the purposes of God’s Word, according to James, is to act as a mirror. It shows us what is wrong and what we need to fix. It is foolishness to know that something is wrong, to know what that something is, and then fail to fix the problem. We wouldn’t leave the house if the bathroom mirror revealed that our hair needed to be combed, our face needed to be washed, and our zipper was down. We would correct those issues before we went out the door.
This means we need to commit to obey the teachings of Jesus. Obedience is the way we will experience change in our lives.
My belief is that the more we obey Jesus, the more we will experience his teaching as wisdom, which will lead to us have greater confidence in the wisdom that he has to offer to us. The more confident we are in the teachings of Jesus the more likely we will apply those teachings to our lives.
We live in evil days. The one way the Bible gives to reclaim our days for God’s kingdom is to live with wisdom.
The wisdom that we need is found in the teachings and example of Jesus. That is why the only way to live as wise people in this world is to follow him.