Turning Points Magazine & Devotional

July 2024 Issue

The Time Has Come for a Great Reflection

From the April 2024 Issue

Time Bandits

Online Exclusive: From This Point Forward

Time Bandits

It’s hard to determine how much time we spend on leisure-based electronic pursuits. Just think of how many hours we all invest every day with our screens, whether watching movies or television, or on computers, tablets, or phones. Some of the time is well spent, but much of it isn’t.

Many parents feel pangs of concern when they see their children so absorbed in texting or gaming that they’re seemingly oblivious to their environments. One survey found that children and teens spent more than seven hours a day in media use.

We must be vigilant against time bandits.

I wonder how the Lord feels when He looks down and observes how His children are using the time He’s given them. In seeking to gain victory in every aspect of spiritual warfare, we must be vigilant against time bandits—those activities and influences that rob us of our greatest resource, the moments and minutes that fly past us in swift succession.

“Pick my left pocket of its silver dime,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes “but spare the right—it holds my golden time.”

That reminds me of the Bible’s golden rule about time, Ephesians 5:15-16: “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil” (HCSB).

What Jesus Said About Time

Jesus paid careful attention to how He walked, and He made the most of His time. He once implied there’s a vast difference between how godly and ungodly people view time. When His unconverted brothers tried to goad Him to go to Jerusalem and make Himself famous during the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready” (John 7:6). In other words, “My life and My time are preordained. But since your lives have little purpose, it matters little how you use your time.”

Time is the zone in which we accomplish God’s will for us. But if we’re not interested in accomplishing God’s will, time has less value. In that sense, Christians live in a different time zone than anyone else. We have a different clock ticking for us. Unbelievers can come and go as they please and use their time however they’d like. But we’re to follow our Lord’s example. Jesus chose to live a schedule predetermined by His Father, and it was important for Him to stay on task.

If you’ve studied the life of the Lord Jesus, you’ve discovered how carefully He invested His days.

If you’ve studied the life of the Lord Jesus, you’ve discovered how carefully He invested His days, months, and years, few though they were. He was born on schedule, He was baptized by John on schedule, He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, He died on Good Friday, and He rose on Resurrection Day—right on schedule. Ten times in John’s Gospel we’re reminded that Jesus was watching the clock, for He often said things like, “My hour is not yet come” or “The hour is here.”

Our Lord lived out the aforementioned advice from Ephesians 5: “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil” (HCSB).

What Time Says About Us

If I’d been alive in Christ’s day, I’d rather have spent time with Him than with His brothers. His life had purpose, and He lived on a schedule that reflected the Father’s agenda. His brothers had no such purpose or agenda or schedule—just like lots of people today. Without a driving purpose in life, we have no compelling reason to make the moments count. Without the hope of eternal life, we’re left with a mindlessness that renders our moments insignificant.

If our lives are meaningless, our time is purposeless. If our lives have purpose, our time is meaningful.

Our culture has a million ways of distracting itself from the implications of its own rejection of spiritual values. Society says there is no God, no Creator, no ultimate meaning, no essential values. We’re simply random accidents destined to perish. Most people cannot cope with that level of emptiness, so they need lots of diversions, lots of distractions, and lots of entertainment. The rise of the entertainment industry is in exact proportion to the collapse of our personal sense of significance. I’m not saying all entertainment is bad. I’m saying our world is drowning in entertainment of all kinds because it needs to be distracted from the despair of a life without God. Christians need periodic refreshment and occasional entertainment too, but we don’t need to drown in it. We have better things to do.

If our lives are meaningless, our time is purposeless. If our lives have purpose, our time is meaningful. The value of our time cannot exceed the meaning of our lives. God’s true people—those sold out to Jesus Christ—are blessed on earth; our lives have meaning. We have purpose. There’s a preordained agenda for us, and each day is a new opportunity to serve Him.

How to Capitalize on Time

If we’re in a war with time bandits and Satan is seeking to rob us of our golden time, we need some strategies for victory.

First, give God the best part of your day. When He’s in control of your schedule, He will always make time for Himself. If one day passes the next without your quiet time or prayer time or Bible study time, it’s a warning. God may not be Lord of your hours. On a notepad or the back of an envelope, take a moment to sketch out your schedule for today, just as it’s unfolding right now. How could you have adjusted your time today to have included the Lord? How can you do so tomorrow?

Second, rein in your screen time. Experts suggest we keep time logs for a few days to help us determine how we’re really spending our moments. For the next few days, conduct an informal study of your use of time. Look at yourself as though an efficiency expert were watching you. Perhaps, for example, you legitimately sit at your computer to check your email or research a project. But how likely are you to become distracted and end up surfing the Internet for a wasted hour?

Third, do the most important things. Satan distracts us from the best things by having us do things that are merely good. Perhaps you’re too busy at church or too involved in some ministry. Perhaps you need to say “No” to something so you can regain time for your family or for the well-being of your own soul. If we aren’t careful, we’ll end up living according to somebody else’s schedule instead of the one God ordains for us. In his book on leadership, Henry Blackaby said, “The key to successful leadership is not creating more time in one’s life or packing more activities into one’s day, but staying on God’s agenda.”1

Finally, learn the value of remnants. In earlier days when women typically made the family’s clothing, there were often scraps and cuttings left on the floor. These shards of cloth were never thrown away but tossed into a remnant chest and later converted into beautiful quilts. Every day we have shards of time that shouldn’t be thrown away—five minutes here, ten minutes there. Good stewards know the value of those moments—in reading, in jotting a note, in reviewing a memory verse, in meditating on a Bible passage. Learn to use the leftover bits of your hours. Time bandits will just as soon steal a minute as a day, so guard every moment.

Are you winning or losing in the battle for your time? Life is not a game. We need a battle cry—a helpful strategy to guard and regard our hours. Time is a great spoil in spiritual warfare. If the enemy controls your time, God gets little of you. But if God controls your time, Satan will have a hard time infiltrating your days. “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16, HCSB).


1Henry Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership (Nashville: B&H, 2001), 200.

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