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The King of the Disciplines

The spiritual discipline of time is the king of all of the other disciplines. Below are 3 texts from God's Word, 3 warnings, and 3 principles to steward our time to the glory of God.

Three Scripture Texts

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Ephesians 5:15-17 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

James 4:14 What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Three Warnings

1-Don’t let “busyness” become your idol (i.e., your identity). It used to be that when people asked how you were doing, the common response was more often “good.” Today, the most common response is “busy.” We see the dangers of busyness in Jesus’s warning to Martha: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42). God has made us stewards by His grace. Anxiety quickly sneaks in when we begin to trust ourselves rather than God.

“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? … Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you” -Jesus in Matthew 6:27, 33).

2-Don’t let a sense of urgency lead to impatience. If you’re too busy to be kind, you’re too busy. Jesus was neither in a rush or wasted time. Don’t let the “cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word,” and prove it “unfruitful” (Mark 4:19).

Grace + Intentionality = Transformation (Brad Rhoades)

3-Time drifts towards disorder. Like an unkempt garden, all things—including time—drift towards disorder. God called us to be stewards so that we could extend—or “multiply”—His goodness throughout the earth (Gen 1:28). This takes ownership (dominion) on our part.

Don’t waste your life … few things if any fill me with more longing these months and years than the longing that my children not waste their lives on fatal success. … Don't coast through life without a passion … whatever you do, find the God centered, Christ exalting, Bible saturated passion of your life and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it.[1]

Three Principles

1-We make time for what’s most important. Your calendar reveals what you actually value. We are accountable for how we spend the time we’ve been given. Therefore, live with the end in mind. Resolve to live in such a way that you will not think on your deathbed “Why did I spend so much time _________ (watching TV, playing video games, doom scrolling).

“How many people tie their shoes in the morning not knowing that the undertaker will be taking them off. Every breath is a gift.” -Don Whitney

2-Discipline = Freedom: Take ownership of your time and plan how you’re going to spend it wisely.[2] Everything, including time, drifts towards disorder. It will take effort on your part to restore order. A mentor once told us, “If you plan your vacations, why don't you plan your life.” Take time early in January to get away and plan how you’re going to spend your life (Family Retreat Template). Prune branches that aren’t bearing good fruit so that the nutrients can get to those that are (John 15:1-11).

“Prioritize and execute” -Jocko Willink and Lief Babin

3-Ruthlessly eliminate hurry and distraction from your life. Being hurried and being distracted are the two ditches in our era that seem to be our greatest temptations. There are times that I get up from the table and don’t feel like I have tasted my food. There are other times where I have been distracted and unfaithful to the task at hand. Yet, I have never gotten any sense that Jesus was ever in a rush or that He wasn’t diligent with His time. The quality of craftsmanship comes to mind as the narrow road between these two ditches. Jesus was both intentional and patient. He spent the time that was necessary to do the job well.

“As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” Jesus (Luke 8:15)

Prayer: Lord, teach us to number our days that we might gain a heart of wisdom. Give us wisdom to make that which is most important to you most important to us.

Other Resources on Time

[1]John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2003), 46–47. [2]Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win, Second edition (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2017).


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