"And God spoke all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage...Thou shalt not steal." Exodus 20:1,2,15
Apart from life itself, what is the most important thing we have to deal with? It is TIME. Our economy is valued in time; the wages we get paid are in relation to our ability and the time we spend exercising that ability. Time is a very important commodity. As Christians, we have a responsibility to invest our time wisely for His glory. But how do we spend our TIME? We steal time by squandering it aimlessly in the pursuit of meaningless desires and pleasure of the flesh. How often we have said to ourselves after some event or occasion, "What a waste of time." We realize we have not spent our time wisely. We steal time that God has set for the development and maturing of our lives. Athletes spend countless hours, months, and years for a special event or for their participation in sports. Their whole life centers upon the honing of their skills to the maximum. When the time of opportunity comes, they are ready. So God seeks to bring us to spiritual maturity through the process of conforming us to the image of His Son. We must not shrink from the TIME needed to prepare and mature us. We steal time from the opportunities God sends our way that may never come again. We need to be an encouragement to those who are in despair, lonely, and in need of someone to come alongside of them and let them know we care. TIME to encourage others! We steal time God has given us to feed upon His Word in meditation, in studying the Scriptures, in letting God speak to us intimately and personally. We need to spend time in prayer, communing with Him, and lifting up our hearts in praise, adoration, and worship. We need time for God to respond and reveal Himself to us. TIME with God! We steal time from the process of faith that God wants to instill in our hearts. Through our adversities, God wants to deepen and stretch our faith so it will be securely anchored in HIM. When we read of Paul's lifelong encounters with suffering, trials, beatings, shipwreck, hunger, and persecution, and his being cast down, distressed, perplexed, ! some may ask, "Was that like a God of infinite power that was in control of his life?" Yes, it was just like the Lord! TIME when God was working! He was molding Paul's life to be the great man of God he was to become. What was Paul's response? He rises above all his adversities and says, "But thanks be unto God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him, for we are unto God the aroma of Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:14). Can anything compare to such workings of His grace in our lives that we may "become unto God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing"? TIME when we are becoming like Him!
When the Lord was sovereign in Paul's life, severe conflicts immediately came, which were always persistent and never ended. Perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; he "always emerged victorious" through Jesus Christ! TIME WITH GOD IS IMPERATIVE if we are to grow in grace and be "conformed to the image of His Son."
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission