by Patrick Murphy
Last month I received a phone call that no one wants to receive – it was the Apple Store telling me that my laptop had water damage and was going to cost $800 to repair. As a college student, this was a tragedy.
I went the next few weeks with no laptop. It was gruesome. I had to relearn how to do college. At first, it was evident how often I used my laptop, but what I came to understand a little later was how often it was a vessel for distraction in class. While I no longer had my laptop to take notes on during lectures, the lectures suddenly felt longer now that I was not able to spend time scrolling through Twitter and taking the latest Buzzfeed quiz every two minutes.
In college, you become good at wasting time. I’m pretty much an expert at it. This gets me in trouble when semesters pick up the pace. On a totally unrelated note, I’m currently suffering through the final weeks of the spring semester.
My calendar seems to keep filling up with more and more – classes, work, meetings, group projects, homework time, time with my girlfriend, trips to the gym, and on and on it goes. There does not seem to be enough time to accomplish all that I want to. This is the age old problem, isn’t it? We never have enough time.
If you’re a Christian, maybe you find yourself struggling with this when it comes to interacting with God. Sure you want to pray more or read your Bible more but you just don’t seem to have the time.
Paul calls us to use our time wisely in Ephesians. He writes in 5:15-16, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time…” Christians should be wise, especially in how we manage our time.
Our solution often is that we schedule things. We add it to our calendars or set a reminder on our phones. This is good, right? I mean Jesus tells us to in Matthew 6:33 to, “…seek first the kingdom of God…” So if we schedule time with God in the morning it’s good, right?
If you are like me, perhaps you run into a problem here. Too often we take Jesus’ command in Matthew 6:33 and think we should add God to our to-do list. Our lives get busy, our schedules get cramped, so we start making lists. God falls onto a list. He is scheduled off in a little block of time if he’s even scheduled at all.
We can pat ourselves on the back when we read the verse on our Bible app before we get out of bed. We tell ourselves we are good because we squeezed in that prayer as we brushed our teeth. But then we suddenly go the rest of our days and God is absent.
Think about that. The God who is always with us is rarely on our minds.
Throughout Paul’s writings in the New Testament he describes two polarizing ways our lives can be guided: by the flesh and by the Spirit. Paul reiterates that every human being will either be led by the Spirit or by their flesh. The result of the Spirit? Life. The result of the flesh? Death.
In Galatians 5:16 Paul commands this,
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
He is writing to Christians and instructing them to walk by the Spirit. That sounds kind of strange, doesn’t it? What he means is that we are to be directed and empowered by the Spirit. Where we go, where we walk, what we think should be in the direction the Spirit wants us and by the strength the Spirit gives us. Paul says when you walk by the Spirit, the flesh loses power. The flesh does not get what it wants. Another name for "the desires of the flesh?" Sin.
Sin loses when the Spirit leads.
Too often we put our relationship with God on a list that we go through throughout our day rather than making our relationship with God go throughout our day. God does not belong on a list. God must consume every aspect of your life.
God can show up when we are writing a paper, eating food with a coworker, walking around a campus, driving in our car, and on and on it goes. Christians cannot compartmentalize their lives. That is not option. God goes everywhere, we walk by God. The Christian faith is one of consistency. The beauty of our faith is that we get to walk by God. He cares enough to lead us.
So I want to encourage you let God lead. School might crazy, relationships might be stretched, work might be hectic, or whatever you have going on right now. Let God lead you through these things because He will lead you to true life.
You have a choice – the Spirit or the flesh. One will lead to life, the other to death. Which is making the best use of your time?