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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Plan, Pray, Partner

A disciplined approach to time.

Guardian of Time (7) 

So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom…
Let Your work appear to Your servants,
And Your glory to their children.
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.  Psalm 90.12, 16, 17

Time and our journey
We began this part of our study by considering the gift of time and our calling as stewards of this gift, that we should invest in such a way as to return glory and honor to God with all the time of our lives. Only as we work daily to purify our consciences from worldly concerns and to establish in it those Kingdom values and priorities that engender righteousness and wisdom will we be ready to redeem each moment of time for the progress of God’s Kingdom and the manifestation of His glory.

When we see our lives from the vantage point of Jesus Christ, exalted in glory and furthering His Kingdom on earth – in time – as it is in heaven, we understand better what we’re supposed to be doing with our time. Seeking the Kingdom of God with all our time is our highest priority, so we need to gain an understanding both of how we are using our time in the present, and how we can improve the use of our time in pursuing the Kingdom of God and His righteousness in all the time of our lives.

Paul offers us only two choices: make the best use of our time for the Kingdom or squander it to vanity; live as wise people or live as fools (Eph. 5.15-17).

Living our time as pilgrims, seeing our lives as a journey toward eternal glory, can help us to grow in the Lord, draw on His strength, live sacrificially for others, and do the good works for which we have been redeemed by the Lord (Eph. 2.8-10).

But how do we put this all together?

Putting it all together
Practically speaking, how can we get into a rhythm of redeeming and making the most of our time each day, so that, at the end of each day, we can have the satisfaction of knowing that the labors of that day – all the ways we have used our time – have not been in vain (1 Cor. 15.58)? Let me suggest three disciplines for an ongoing process that can help us to be good and faithful servants of God so that in our conscience, and all our soul, we are guarding our time for His Kingdom and glory.

First, put in place some system for continuous planning.

As Moses prayed, we should number our days – and all the moments of them – before we get to them. We should budget our time like we budget our money, accounting for each moment before the time comes for us to spend it. Thus, we’ll be more likely to use our time for the purposes of the Kingdom, than if we just wait around for the next moment to show up and see what it brings.

As Christians, we must live toward the future, arranging the days of our lives in patterns that foreshadow, anticipate, and make visible the eternal glory toward which we are journeying.

By planning our day carefully, thinking through in advance how we intend to live for the Kingdom and glory of God, we’ll have more success in making the most of our time because we will have accounted for the use of this most precious gift before we begin to unwrap it.

Second, learn to live within an envelope of prayer, so that you are continuously in communication with the living God, seeking His guidance for all the work before you each day.

In addition to Psalm 90.12, 16, and 17, let Psalm 139.23, 24 guide you here. Moment by moment, call upon the Lord to check your thoughts, renew your heart, and purify your conscience for the journey. Listen as He engages your conscience to confirm your thoughts, feelings, and actions, or to convict you of areas where change is needed. If this simple prayer can become the attitude of our hearts throughout the day, we’ll be open to however the Lord may want to convict, correct, or co-opt how we use our time for the purposes of His Kingdom.

Taking a few moments at different times of the day, to pray Psalm 139.23, 24 and listen for the Lord’s prompting can help to make this prayer an attitude in which you continuously pursue your journey with the Lord in the time of your life.

Finally, partner with a few soul friends who know how you’re trying to live your life and will provide prayer, encouragement, and accountability for every step of your journey. Begin with your spouse and look for other people who will take seriously the command to “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Heb. 10.24). As you meet with your soul friends for prayer, sharing, strategizing, and growth, you’ll find such companionship to be an invaluable resource to help you in your journey with the Lord.

The time of your life
The time of your life that remains to you, whether the days be many or few, can be a glorious, joyous, hope-filled adventure of living for Christ and His Kingdom. The time of your life can be, well, the time of your life – full of meaning, discovery, adventure, and fruitful living for the Lord.

But you’ll need to take seriously the challenge of stewardship which God has laid upon you by bestowing His most precious gift of time into your care. And this means purifying your conscience of everything that might distract, obstruct, or divert you from diligently pursuing your Kingdom-and-glory calling from the Lord and putting in place those disciplines that will allow you to make the best use of all the time of your life.

A disciplined approach to redeeming your time will strengthen your soul – heart, mind, and conscience – so that you become more like Jesus and more fruitful and consistent in serving Him.

For reflection
1.  What is your present approach to redeeming the time God gives you each day? Can you see any ways to improve this?

2.  How would planning, prayer, and partnering with a soul friend benefit your approach to redeeming the time of your life?

3.  Explain how having a purified conscience relates to making the best use of the time of our lives.

Next steps – Transformation: Planning, prayer, and partners: Are these three disciplines in place in your life? How might you add or strengthen each of these for your journey in the Lord?

T. M. Moore

Paul guides us through the ongoing struggle of growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Our book, The Know Him, unpacks the apostle’s teaching to help you make daily progress in the Lord. Learn more and order your free copy by clicking here. If you’re not sure what it means to enter and seek the Kingdom of God, order a free copy of our book, The Kingdom Turn, by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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