Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17
We usually use the word “redeem” in relation to sin. It means “to buy back, repurchase; to get, or win back.” The story of the cross is one where Jesus is our Redeemer; His death and resurrection having paved the way for us to be alive in Him, be “repurchased back” into His family, and receive eternal life.
Often, we don’t equate redemption with time. Ephesians 5;15-17, however, tells us that it is possible to redeem the time. In fact, God wants us to redeem the time. And the verses give a reason: because the days are evil.
Now, how often do we think of TIME in our battles against evil?
This makes me think of all the hours I have misused in the past—all those lazy days which could have been spent building the Kingdom of God or spending time with Jesus or loving others. Too much time on Facebook or Netflix could have been time spent to make goodness or faith grow, or to pray, or to give generously to the poor.
There is a saying that goes, “Time is gold.” Time lost is time gone. It cannot be repeated. However, I’m glad that the Bible says it can be redeemed. Since none of us is an expert at being Redeemers, I find that when I am bothered by the way I have wasted my time, or if I feel that I need more time, I can go to Jesus and ask Him to make a way for me to recover the lost time. I do this because I know He has numbered my days and set them with purpose. “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! (Psalm 139:16-17)
What I love about God is that He is not bound by time, and yet He knows how to operate within time. He is Lord over time. I believe that despite our mistakes with time, He can adjust things in our lives so we can still accomplish the good works He planned for us to do beforehand. Joel 2 gives us a glimpse of God’s character when it comes to restoring “lost years.” In verse 25, God says to Israel, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.” If He has that kind of restorative character for His people Israel, I believe we can ask Him, too, to restore the years or time we’ve lost, so we can fulfill the fullest destiny He has for us!
God is a restorer. Jesus is a Redeemer. Despite our mistakes and wastage of time, He’s still enthroned, and He can intervene when we repent. Romans 8:28 assures those who love Jesus with these words: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Yes, God can make our mistakes with time still work overall for our good.
Granted, some days in our lives are really supposed to be on “pause days” or days of rest. If God Himself rested on the seventh day of Creation and ordained a Sabbath day for us to be holy and rest, then an aspect of redeeming the time is to know when to rest. We all need rest to regain strength for our daily battles!
I also believe that God grants us time to heal after life’s challenges. Losing time is not just because of laziness or mistakes we’ve made. Sometimes, we feel we lose time because of sickness or uncontrollable factors. When this happens, we can still go to our Redeemer. When our minutes and hours and days are placed in His hands, He can still use the “time out” phase to make us like Him. Nothing is ever wasted when He’s in the picture!
Let’s treat time as precious. God holds the MASTER keys to time. He can intervene. He can redeem. And He can teach us to “redeem the time because the days are evil.” As we go through our days, observant that a DAY is a measure of time, and that NIGHT is also a measure of time, let’s be wise about how we live. Time is a gift. Our lives are not our own. Let’s live with purpose and redeem the time!
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.