If it doesn't count for Christ, it doesn't count.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Time Won't Let Me

I've been thinking about this "New Year" stuff.  You know, about how it marks a new beginning, a clean slate, another chance . .  all that stuff.

God created time.  We live in time. He lives in eternity.  How eternity works, how it "passes", how it feels, I cannot say.  I have no concept of life beyond time.  But, then, I have no real concept of Heaven and how it might be to live there. I only know that it is a place that the word "wonderful" does not begin to describe.  Taking the best of the best of our best moments in this life and imagining that this must be something like Heaven is to sell short the glory that awaits us there.  I believe I do get glimpses of the bliss of the presence of God, but even that is, as God describes it, "a deposit of things to come".  But, eternity and Heaven I cannot describe.

So, back to time.  God created it and man recognized the markers God put in place so that we may measure the passage of time.  Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, years, decades, centuries, millennia . . . on and on it goes, and yet, someday, some moment, it will all end.  Til then, we will continue to make perhaps more use of our measurement of time than we do of time itself. . . .  Not that this is a good thing.

i.e.  I'm gonna do that later.
       It's too soon.
       It's too late.
       It's time to go to work.
       It's time to finish work and go home.
       There's not enough time for that.
       That will take too much time.
       Next time I'll do better.
       I wish there was one more hour in the day.
       I wish there were more days in the week.
       I wish the week was shorter.
       When I get older I'm gonna . . .
       If I was younger I would . . . . .
       In another time and another place . . .
       etc . . .

Like rungs on a ladder, we reach for that next mark of time as if it can hold our weight and pull us up higher or further along.
We mark all the events in our life by time . . . everything that happens and every thing that doesn't happen.  Because we consider "not now", "later", "tomorrow" and so on to show up in life as surely as they do on our clocks and in our calendars we can comfortably consider procrastination to be more a matter of rescheduling . . . indefinitely.    We even say time changes everything, and we look at our measurements of time as if all important events in our lives are dominated by a past, present, or future moment in time or a date on that calendar.  As I am writing this, I wonder if we might be guilty of worshiping the false god of time - sometimes. Worshiping  as if time makes it happen.

God intended that time be measured and marked.  "In the beginning. . .  on the first day . . . on the second day . . . (whether they were literal days or not) He measured the lives of our ancestors by the many years that they lived.  He gave specific time frames to the Israelites in which to accomplish certain tasks, and He set forth dates of months, and numbers of years in which certain celebrations and observations were to take place. In Ecclesiastes we have that beautiful passage that states "To everything there is a time . . ."  And we are told by our Lord of an appointment ". . . about that day or hour no one knows . . .".          

So, time is useful.  Which is to say that time is to be used.  Things happen in time and over time, but not because of time.  

It is not the passing of the old year that wipes our slate clean. It is not the entrance of the new year that gives us yet another chance.  You don't have to wait for the stroke of midnight on one special day out of 365 days to put your past behind you and secure a clean, pure present and future. You shouldn't wait because it just doesn't happen that way.  And then there is such a thing as waiting too long. 

One event happening in one moment in time eliminates our need to falsely depend upon anything else ever again.  It happens once, and continues to happen every moment of our lives for the rest of our lives.  Once it happens, it is a past, present and future happening.  When it happens, it is the single most important moment of our lives. We are saved from the condemnation of our sins to a new eternal life in Jesus Christ.  We are irrevocably saved, and we live out that salvation from that moment on.  Never again will Satan hold any power or authority over us that we do not give him!  And there aren't enough fireworks in all of the roadside tents and stands in all of America to adequately celebrate that!

So, where does time fit into this?  And what do we do with the passing of the old year and the coming of the new year?  Just my suggestions: Take a look at where you were. Take a look at where you are.  Take a look at where God is leading you.

John 6:44 (NIV)  “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.

John 12:32 (NIV)  And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

By way of whatever path God has set before us, He is drawing us closer to Himself. He IS leading. The question is, "Are we following?".  Are we closer to Him now than we were at the beginning of last year?  Are we closer to Him today than we were yesterday?

John 17:22 (NIV)   I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—  
As you have heard me say many times, Jesus has a great desire that we Christians become one.  Just like everything else that He came to give us, this is a work that He does in us.  Do we still let our disagreements divide us, or do we now stand together, despite our disagreements?  Do we only want to "be right", to win the argument, or do we now seek His truth - even when we are proven wrong - which brings resolution between us and continues the process of our being made one?  Are we still intent on self, or have we moved on? 


John 13:34-35(NIV)   “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.   By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”


Do you and I love our brothers and sisters in Christ more than we did?  (considering that true love is an act, not a feeling)  We might say, "I couldn't love them more if I tried!"  Well . . . try!  And keep trying no matter how much love is already there.  Unless we love with all the love of God there is plenty of room for more.   And then there is that person that you just couldn't love last year. .  .  . How's that going? . . . I mean growing?

Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)   “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


Do we allow the light of Christ in us to shine in such a way that others give glory to God for what they see?  It is Christ's light.  He does the shining.  If we sincerely ask, He will show us how to do that and He will give us opportunities to be His light to someone else.  Does He shine brighter in you now than in years past?

I Corinthians 12  Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.   . . . There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.   There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.   . . . All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 


If you know Jesus, you have at least one spiritual gift.  Do you know yours?  Are you growing in the use of these gifts of the Spirit?  Does the fruit of your Spirit contain the variety born of your spiritual gift?  Are you more fruitful as time passes?   

It's OK to look at ourselves as one year ends and another begins.  Certainly we should.  There are always positive changes to be made.  For Christians, though, I believe it is so much more important to look within ourselves.  Is the work of Christ within us evident? Is He growing within us?  Does He influence our lives more and more as time passes?  This is something that we cannot address on an annual basis. It requires daily and even moment by moment attention.  And when we keep Him and His Kingdom at the center of our lives everything else we need or should want is added to us.  

New Year Resolution?        Resolve to rise.


Here is your video. Only 276 or so views on this one.. There are a lot of good ones like this, but one particular sign hit me hard. So that's why I'm posting this one. (I also just like the way it was done . . . and there is that great song.!) 

and for fun . . . "Time Won't Let Me"    The Outsiders