Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ephesians 1:1-14

(The following is a devotional I wrote during my time as the central mailer with Alpha-Omega fan magazine.  Just pasting it here as I clean out some old jump drives on my desk...)

Ephesians 1:1-14

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Paul's text to the Ephesian church speaks of the blessing of our adoption and redemption, as well as the glories of our being predestined for an eternal inheritance. Reading this passage, and knowing the value that Christ has put on our lives, we are obligated to use our earthly time wisely and effectively, which brings me to the topic of time, and our usage of the limited time that we have.

Although as a concept this can be difficult to fully grasp, time is a convention created by God, and that belongs to God. As such, we should use time in accordance with His will, and not that of our own. And while this does apply to time lost due to sinful behavior, it also applies as well to non-moral behavior. Consider, we can sometimes wind up spending (or more accurately, wasting) life's precious time with watching television (a rerun of a sitcom we've already seen a half dozen times already), video games (you don't need another game of Tetris, Rob), exercise, or even sitting motionless rocking in a chair. Time is a very easy commodity to waste.

In every manner which we use time, we could question if we are using our time wisely as well as to the best of our abilities. Even work itself can be time poorly spent if our working is simply an excessive pursuit of overtime in an attempt to amass money, or when done only for material pursuit and to the detriment of spiritual growth and family commitments.

Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards wrote an excellent sermon on this very topic called "The Preciousness of Time" that's worth reading.  Edwards addresses the topic so much better than I, and while he makes no references to 'Tetris', he does point out a number of important considerations, not least of which is consideration of how precious time is to those who have come to the end of it. Those of us who aren't in that situation should appreciate what it would be like to be at our last days, and make the most of the time that we have. The internet is the pinnacle of time-wasting, with surfing, social networking, online gaming, etc, all being capable of burning up time which is a very precious commodity.  I've personally felt the soul-draining experience of time wasted with online gaming, as well as the regret of lost time that can never be regained.  Reading this text in Ephesians, we as Christians are given a clear picture of Christ's amazing love for us, and how important we as the elect are to him.  Knowing this, we are obligated to look at our lives and how we spend out time, and make the most of the time we've been given.

Time is short, and time cannot be recovered.

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