Ephesians 5:16, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
— Time lost can never be retrieved — USE OR LOSE.
Making time for God is the way you prove your opinion of God.
Most Christians feed their bodies with three meals a day and snacks. But only feed their spirit man one or two meals a week in church and very few personal meals of time with God.
It is your daily life-style that reveals your true spiritual evaluation of the value you think of time with God.
In this book we will teach you to help manage your time. In order to do all of the things God requires, you must be able to manage your time. You will have to be able to establish good schedules.
Ephesians 5:16 says, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” This word “redeem” means buy up every opportunity. Time lost can never be retrieved You use it or you lose it. You can’t save it. Time is one thing you can’t save for a rainy day. You can’t store it up in the bank and save it and say, “I’m going to use it tomorrow.” If you don’t use time properly it’s gone, it’s lost forever. If we waste time, we are dishonoring the gift that God has given us. A person who doesn’t use his time to the fullest and evaluate and judge it, is dishonoring the gift God has given. Time is a gift from God. Every day we live is a gift from God.
Many times, the reason people don’t manage their time or manage their lives, is because they don’t realize the value of it. They think it’s an imposition upon them, because what they’re saying is, “I just want to be like I want to be.” That person is not committed. He’s not going to be obedient to the Word, he’s not going to be able to discipline himself.
Realize that time is a gift from God. If someone gives you a gift you should be respectful and appreciative of the gift. One of the gifts God has given you is time. We reveal our appreciation by the way we use or abuse our time.
The reason people don’t manage their time is that they never really understand the value of time. Mankind has only a few short years here. We need to realize how the world is out to rob us of our time. If you don’t learn how to think the truth about your time, you’ll just fizzle along in life, and never be effective in the things of the Lord.
EVERY INDIVIDUAL HAS AS MUCH TIME AS ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD
— 24 HOURS. God put us all on an equal basis. I don’t have any more time than you have, and
you don’t have any more time than I do. God has given each of us the same Holy Spirit, the same salvation, the same amount of time. Now what are you going to do with it? Many times Christians use this as a copout, as to why we can’t do this and why we can’t do that. We’re going to see in this chapter that we do have the time. If anyone else can get things done, we have no excuse for not doing it ourselves.
TIME IS NOT THE PROBLEM, BUT EACH INDIVIDUAL.
A. Each individual is responsible for its use, so stop blaming someone else.
B. One cannot do anything about time, but one can about himself. You can’t change the time factor; therefore, if you’re not getting a lot done in your time, then who is the problem? Your problem is not time, because if anyone else can achieve anything in that same length of time, then they have rendered you without excuse. Really what they’ve done, they’ve shown you what you really love. Because you do with your time what you love and enjoy, you use your time like you want to. Otherwise, if you didn’t want to use it that way, then you’d use it another way. Realize time is not the problem. The problem is the individual.
Any time we’re not walking in victory, God is not the problem, it’s us. God has given every person the same amount of time, so it’s not a matter that we don’t have sufficient time. When God created time He fixed it with a 24 hour day. He established that as the correct amount of time a man would need. When He established a certain normal length of life, He said, “That’s the correct amount of time for you to achieve everything that needs to be achieved for the plan I have for you.”
God didn’t establish the things in the Bible for you and me and then say, “OK., now, it’s going to take you 80 years to do it, but you have only 60.” That would be unfair to start with. The plan that God has for us and the things God desires for your life and mine, we can achieve in our lifetime. Otherwise God would be unjust in setting things before us that we could not achieve in our lifetime.
Too many times we say, “I’ll tell you what; I won’t live long enough to get everything done. It will take me 50 more years to do all these things.” No, God planned this thing better than that. He put it within our reach by establishing the life span and establishing the time frame for us to be able to do it. Therefore, remember—time is not the problem, each individual is.
THE VERY FACT THAT ANOTHER CAN DO MORE IN THE SAME TIME IS PRIMARILY DUE TO POOR PLANNING OF TIME USAGE.
The very fact that another person can do more in the same 24 hours than you can is primarily due to poor management of time. They have the same amount of time you do. They simply utilize and manage their time better than you do.
All may not have the same ability, but in the parable of the pounds, in Luke 19:12-27, the servant who had less ability but showed equal faithfulness received the same reward. You may say, “I have less ability than Joe Doe.” You may have, but you can utilize your time just as effectively. You can be just as busy for the Lord as he can.
He may do 100 pounds worth, and you may do only 50, but you can still be just as time-conscious, as busy, and studious about it. He can spend five hours studying the Word and he may learn 100 Scriptures. You may spend five hours and learn 50, but you’re just as diligent, and you’re using your time just as effectively and just as wisely as he is. Realize it’s not ability. This is what the Lord is showing us: Too many times we want to say it’s because of our inability that we can’t. The ability of most people will tremendously increase as they discipline themselves and dedicate themselves to it.
We need to realize the very fact that one person can do more in his time means that you need to reevaluate your time and your concept of it. Most people’s concept of time is so poor that you can hardly teach them about time. One thing about which people rebel quicker than anything else is your talking about their time.
IV. UNTEACHABLENESS, PRIDE, AND REBELLION:
These usually show up more here than in most areas. If you take someone’s life and start showing them where they’re wasting their time, and that they’re not properly organized, they will get mad at you. When you begin to try to deal with people about organizing their life, they’ll become more unteachable and express more pride and rebellion than in other areas. They are saying, “It’s my life; don’t try to tell me I’m not using my time right.” No individual will ever organize his time better until he becomes conscious of it, until he realizes time is a gift from God and we are to be good stewards of it.
My wife and I have had discussions about this a few times. My wife runs a good house, but compared to me she doesn’t nearly dot the I’s and cross the T’s. I say, “You ought to know everything that’s in those cupboards. You ought not to go to the store and come back and say, ‘Well, I already had that.’ That’s poor management.” I mean, there’s no excuse for it. You don’t go down and buy another car and come back and say, “Oh, I had a car already.” You’re conscious of that; well, you ought to be just as conscious of other things.
Since I’ve been in the ministry, other ministers would get agitated and say I put them under condemnation because of the things I can get done in any particular day. It’s simply because I realize time is a gift from God, and I’m not going to waste it. I’m not going to sin against God by wasting time.
Unteachableness, pride, and rebellion reveal themselves in an unwillingness to assess and evaluate why you do less or why you’re disorganized. When a person is not willing to assess and evaluate and reevaluate his life as to why he can’t do as much as others, he’s rebelling against it by saying, “You’re trying to get more work out of me, and I don’t want to.” You may ask yourself, when someone starts talking about your time and how you use it, do you rejoice because you are about to learn something, or do you kind of stick your lip out?
It manifests itself in words of, “Well, you’re just being picky.” Whenever a person begins to talk that way, what’s he’s saying is, “Leave me alone; I like my life-style. Don’t try to put me under condemnation. I live a slow life; I don’t get much done, and I ain’t wanting to do much more.” What he’s saying, really, is, “I’m lazy; leave me alone. You aren’t going to make me work very much, because if I discipline my life I’ll have to be hustling, and I’d rather just goof off all my life.” That’s what he’s saying, because if he weren’t he would say, “Show me how I can do more. Take a look at my time. How do you get as much done as you do? I’d like to learn.”
You will find when you get into this area of time and start talking about people’s life, how they evaluate and assess their life, they get upset at you. That’s the spirit of unteachableness, pride and rebellion. They know if they reevaluate their time they’re going to have to go to work. This is why time management is so important in the business world. This is why they have consultants regarding it.
Are you teachable about managing your time? Or does it irk you when someone tries to say, “You ought to be getting more done; you ought to organize things better?” Does it make you mad? Does it frustrate you? When your desk, or your house, or your shop is all upside down, everything here and there, and you can’t find it half the time? Do you have to spend a lot of time searching for something? If you do, it’s an indication that you are poorly organized.
Things that are valuable to you, you have in a place where you can get to them. Everything should be of value; and your time is the most valuable thing you possess. You can’t store it up for tomorrow; you either use it or abuse it.
“I DON’T HAVE THE TIME” OR “I JUST HAVE TOO MUCH TO DO” IS USUALLY THE REFUGE AND ESCAPE METHOD OF THE INEFFICIENT AND LIFE THAT IS POORLY MANAGED.
“I just don’t have the time; I just have too much to do; I’m so busy doing this and doing that” — that’s usually their copout. It’s a sign of a poorly managed life, because there is time to do it all.
Most people get tired of running to do 15 things, when if they would stop and think a little bit and plan things out, they could make one trip and do all 15 and be so much more rested. They would feel so much more comfortable, because it’s a good sense of accomplishment and organization when you’re lining things up.
VI. PROCRASTINATION AND DISORDERLY LIVING IS THE DEVIL’S MOST EFFECTIVE THIEF OF ONE’S TIME, AND CORRESPONDS WITH MAN’S NATURAL INCLINATIONS.
The voice cries, “Later! Some other day” — excuse after excuse to justify the present status.
Realize, a disorderly life is a sign of demonic activity. The devil wants your life to be disorganized so you will never be able to find the time to do the greater things. He knows if you begin to get your life organized you will have time for meditation, time for prayer and study. He knows you will find sufficient time for everything.
What the devil will do, is have you overemphasize things that should not have as much value as they do. The next thing you know, in your life, you’re a procrastinator, and disorderly. When you live this kind of life, it’s the devil’s most effective weapon. It’s the natural thing for a person to do.
Do you think God is very organized? Do you suppose He knows where the sun is right now? Do you suppose He knows where the moon is? Do you suppose He knows about the spinning of the world, and what the number is? Do you suppose He knows how many angels He has? I wonder if He’s got anything out of place? Just stop and think!
Do you think when God walks in at nighttime He just takes His clothes off and throws His shirt in one place, His pants in another, and His shoes in the corner? The whole nature of God is order. This world has to be perfectly organized to function like it does. The very nature of God is organization. Can you picture God with a whole bunch of stuff lying on His desk — “Let me look through it and see if I can find what I need?”
God is orderly, so what would Satan be? Disorderly. What would he try to get us to be? The opposite of what God would be. Amen? When we realize these things it will help us to assess and evaluate our life-style, and we will always be able to get more out of it. You say, “Why do I want to get more? For the glory of God — more time in the Word, more time to study.
You need to grow more so you’ll be more effective for the Lord. You will get blessed because of it; besides you’ll be a greater blessing to other people.
ONE WHO CANNOT MANAGE HIS OWN LIFE AND TIME WILL NEVER BE EFFECTIVE IN ASSISTING OR DIRECTING OTHERS.
You cannot help or teach what you don’t know and, especially, what you don’t do. Do you want God to use you? Well, if you can’t manage your own life and time, you’ll never be effective in assisting or directing others. One of the biggest failures of ministries is that they are poorly organized. They don’t direct their own time and lives, and they’re slothful and get lazy.
I’ve dealt with ministers for years, and just about all of them have gotten resentful at me at various times when I mentioned to them about their loafing around and about their time. I know if they don’t learn how to handle themselves, they’ll never be effective with others.
We need to realize it’s our Christian responsibility to be efficient and effective and orderly. Just stop and think a minute. How do you think the Lord wants you to organize your life? He wants you to have some good ideas about what you are doing every day and where you are going.
It takes years to be effective and efficient in it. It takes a continual working at it, but if you don’t ever come to realize the value of managing your time, you’ll float all through life and miss and miss and miss, and God will not be able to use you. There will come times when you’ll have so much to do, the Lord will have you so busy, if you can’t learn to manage your time and arrange time for God, the next thing you know you’ll begin to dry up.
If you can’t arrange time for God now, what would you do if you were in a place of responsibility? “Well, when I get there I’ll do it.” No, if you don’t already have the pattern established, you’re a goner. You’ll get into a place of responsibility and you’ll fail.
This is why so many men who have a lot of ability, when they get to a place of responsibility, carry it on for a few years and then fail. They can’t stand the pressure of it, because they’re not disciplined and organized. They don’t know how to do it. They have tremendous ability, but they can’t persevere because the pressure of things gets to them.
Remember, you cannot help or teach what you don’t know, and that’s especially true about your time. We need to be an example of good use of our time, because our time is a gift from God, and you can use it or abuse it. If you don’t ever realize time is a gift from God and how valuable it is, you’ll never really organized your life. You’ll not get your life fine-tuned; you’ll not fine-tune your life.
VIII. RECOGNITION OF THE SUBTLETY OF EASE IS AN ABSOLUTE.
In order to manage your time, you must recognize the subtlety of ease.
A. Leisure hours constitute a subtle danger or a glorious opportunity; it’s your choice. The subtlety of ease — of having a lot of time that’s free, that’s not controlled by your job or certain demands at home! This time can be a subtlety or it can be a glorious opportunity. Really, the 40 hour work week that man has today should be a glorious opportunity. For many years it was 50 or 60, and they worked from sunup to sunset. Christians today have a 40 hour work week — plenty of time.
“Oh, but Brother Willis, I don’t have it.” Then it’s not organized. You can do tremendous things if it is organized. Every Christian needs to evaluate his/her leisure time. How many Christians have honestly looked at their leisure time? How many have ever taken a sheet of paper and put 24 lines on it, and for a week kept up with what you do with your time?
B. Natural nature’s love of ease is not easily overcome. To be lazy and slothful and take it easy is the natural nature of man, and is not easily overcome.
Ease is the line of least resistance. It’s easier to do nothing than to make yourself study. It’s easier not to organize and plan your day and your time. Ease requires nothing and gives nothing. Ease is connected to laziness.
C. Ease opposes effort. It doesn’t want anything that requires effort. To start thinking in the morning to line up your whole day requires effort. To evaluate your time and be honest about it requires effort. Ease opposes effort. But God’s grace is sufficient, we can do it. Very few people are “workaholics.” Did you ever hear of anybody who worked himself to death?
Efforts to overcome ease must become a continuous part of one’s life. You can’t make a one time decision; you must continually make that decision. To take it easy and to be disorganized and unmanaged is a natural thing. Proper time management must be a continual part of one’s life.
D. Lust of ease steals one’s personal Word time. There is nothing more important in the Christian life than personal time to study God’s Word.
E. Those who live a life of ease will be exposed in times of pressure and crisis. If you’re not diligent in the easy times, you will fail when the enemy puts the pressure on. There is no way you and I can be unfaithful to God without its being exposed. It’s going to come out, sooner or later. I’ve often thought, I wonder how God is going to judge us concerning our time.
F. Conquest of ease births success. The conquest of ease births success, because organization begins to come forth as you recognize the importance of diligence in time management.
IX. BEWARE OF THE BARRENNESS OF BUSYNESS.
The majority of people get caught up in ease, however some people are just busybodies. Busyness can be as destructive as ease.
A. You are snared when you become busy doing good, personal and pleasurable things and unable to do the most excellent. That’s a disordered life and a poorly managed life. It shows lack of judgment, lack of insight, lack of wisdom, when a person will spend his life busy doing good things, personal and pleasurable things, and neglecting the greater.
The greater things are the things of God, the things that are going to do you good forever. Many people cannot succeed naturally over a long period of time because they will not be continually evaluating these things and doing the things that are most important. They’ll forsake the best for the good and pleasurable things. Busyness can get you down.
B. Busyness is a cheap sellout that can pacify and deceive the Christian mind. Many people think because they are busy, they are diligent and successful. A lot of people are busy, busy, busy all day long, and get little or nothing done. They’re running, beginning at daylight, and when they get to the end of the day very little has been done. They have a spirit of busyness. It’s not how busy you are, it’s how much you accomplish. Recognize this concerning managing your time.
MAJOR TIME WASTERS:
A. Procrastination, which is just laziness, goofing off, slothfulness.
B. Failure to set priorities. You can organize your priorities as A’s, B’s, or C’s. A’s are the things that must be done — top priorities. B’s are the things that should be done; and C’s are the things that are nice to do but not extremely important. Most of the things most people do are in the C category.
The first priority in your life should be God: meditating the Word, studying the Word, prayer, ministering to the Lord. That should be above everything else.
C. Failure to plan. You have to plan what you’re going to do. You may say, “Well, Brother Willis, I just get up and go to work.” That’s why you go there and run around like a chicken with its head cut off. Plan ahead what you’re going to do when you get there. In the business world, money is not the biggest cause of failure; it’s lack of knowledge, lack of diligence, lack of being persistent, and staying with it, because those things will overcome just about anything else. The same is true in the Christian life.
D. Poor schedule. Doing your C’s when you ought to be doing your B’s and A’s — that’s a poor schedule. A poor schedule is having five things to do, and running to town three times to do five things.
I really began to understand some of these things years ago when I was in the financial business. I worked in the collection department to start off with. They would teach us to take time and sit down with a map, and plot out our course, so that we would not be backtracking and running here and there. You’d have ten people you were going to try to contact that day; therefore, you organized your day.
E. Attempting too much. Many people attempt to do too much. They attempt to do too much at one time. They don’t plan their work.
One of the main things is a bad confession. I’ve seen this for years in the business world, and since I’ve been in the ministry. When people have a lot of work to do they say, “Oh, this is too much, I don’t know how I’m going to do it. I’ll never get it done.” When they begin talking like that, they are in trouble; because they won’t get much done that day. They’re snared by the words of their mouth.
They’re confused, they’re frustrated, because they won’t take time to sit down and plan. When you get where you have so many things to do you don’t know what to do, sit down and get you a pencil and paper, and start planning. Systematically plan how you are going to get it all done. And usually when you do that you’ll get everything done and have time to spare. But when your mind gets in a turmoil and gets confused, you begin to waste much of your time.
F. Visitors: Your dear Christian brothers and sisters who don’t have anything to do will eat up all your time. Remember the pyramid? The further you begin to go up the less time you’ll have for yourself, and for others who are not diligent.
G. Socializing. Socializing is one of the major time wasters.
H. No self discipline. Not disciplining yourself to watch your time and evaluate your time, and watch your socializing and watch your visiting. Watch attempting too much, watch your poor schedule, watch your failure to plan, and failure to set priorities. These are just a few major time wasters. There are a lot more you can add in. Say to yourself, “How do I waste my time? The days go by and I don’t really get anything accomplished. What am I doing?” Be honest about it, and the Lord will help you.
XI. TIME CONFESSIONS:
A. “No one has any more time than I do.”
B. “No Word, no breakfast. No meditation, no dinner. No confessions, no supper.”
C. “If I don’t have time for God, I take it or I make it.”
“No one has any more time than I do. No other human beings in the world have any more time today than I have. They may use their time better, be more wise and plan it better and get more done than I do, but they don’t have more time. Therefore, the problem is ME.
“No Word, no breakfast.” So if you get up and get some Word, leave food off and get the Word. “No meditation,” don’t eat any dinner. “No confessions,” don’t eat any supper. You do that for a day or two, and you will study a lot of Word, do a lot of meditation, and a lot of confession.
Realize you will never have time for the things of the Lord, unless you make the time. If you’re waiting for the time just to pop up, you’ll never have it, because of the spirit of ease. Always make time for God. It is possible for every Believer to do it as he manages his time properly.