How God Transforms Our Watches

Watches and wallets. A couple of small items which reveal much about our hearts. Watches tell how we spend our time. Wallets open up to where we spend our money. Simply put, watches and wallets make clear what we treasure. If you look at your life, evaluate what you spend your time doing and what you are willing to spend your money on, chances are you will find out what you treasure. Oftentimes, these treasures do not last and do not satisfy. That is because we are pursuing the wrong things or we are pursuing the good, but not ultimate, things too much. With our watches and our wallets, we need to pursue the ultimate thing: a relationship with our triune God. While both categories of time and money are necessary discussion points, for the scope of this article we will zoom in to see how our pursuit of the triune God transforms our watches as Christians.

Time Not Our Own

God, first, transforms our watches by reminding us our time is not our own. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein”. Everything and everyone belongs to God. This includes our time. Ephesians 5:15–16 shares, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” We are stewards of the time God has entrusted to us. Therefore, Psalm 90:12 reminds us, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom”. We gain a heart of wisdom when we learn to humbly number our days, and this only comes as God teaches us from His Word and as we learn we belong to God and so do our days.

Our Time Reveals Our Treasure

Understanding our time as a stewardship, we do not want to become idle (laziness) nor do we want to give priority to idols (busyness, not productivity). This means we want to spend time on what matters. We want to spend time on what will last. The reality is we have failed to do that and need to repent of that. We need to look at the One who made the best use of His time, never wasted it, and lived and died so we could be forgiven. Therefore, Jesus’ words seem pertinent here, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21). Jesus then goes on to counsel His followers to not spend their days worrying but to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). A faithful steward’s time will be spent by prioritizing the kingdom of God. By prioritizing the kingdom of God in daily life, the Christian’s treasure is revealed: the God of that kingdom. He is the only treasure which will satisfy. Psalm 90, quoted earlier, continues, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14). We typically begin our time awake in the morning, and the way to find satisfaction is by meditation on and with the One who can satisfy in the morning is the One who steadfastly loves. The right understanding and application of this stewardship will lead to this great satisfaction.

Asking the Right Question

But, how does the transformation of our time actually apply to our daily lives? How does God’s ownership of our time impact how we go about our mundane days? While I cannot give you a set of particulars, for we have different callings and duties, I can share with you what I have found most productive (for more wisdom than what this article offers, see this PDF of a book by C.J. Mahaney). The most helpful nugget I’ve applied in stewarding my time is this: asking first, “Who am I?” before “What am I to do?”

We tend to view time as a to-do checklist in our narrow mindset of biblical productivity. While we cannot ignore the tasks which need to be done, we cannot begin there. Before we do, we must be. If we are going to prioritize our time correctly, we must know who we are as persons before we work on projects. It is about answering, “Who am I?” before “What am I to do?” (technically, the first question needing to be asked is “Whose am I?” but this has been answered already in that we, and our time, are not our own but belong to God). When we rightfully answer the first question, we will be headed down the right path with the second one.

To illustrate, if I understand my I am first and foremost a Christian, and that is my primary identity, then I will prioritize time in the Scriptures and prayer. But if I only consider Scripture reading and prayer as a part of a to-do list, I am not as likely to prioritize it to the place it needs to be. The same concept goes for the rest of life. Your faith is the central component of your time, not just one aspect. Search the Scriptures to see what it values as priorities. Family time should be prioritized over, but not to the neglect of, time spent with work. Yet, hobbies ought not to push out work or else the matter of the wallet will become a bigger issue. The point is how you answer the question, “Who am I?” will start to answer “What am I to do?” This is how God begins to transform our watches and our time.

Join the Conversation:
How does this view and question of how we spend our time specifically impact your daily life?

Grace and Gratitude

grace_and_gratitudeOne of the most powerful verses God has been impressing upon my heart lately is Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We tend to view life through the lens of entitlement. Whether we care to admit it or even recognize it, our sinful nature reveals the thought we believe we deserve particular things. When we do not get our way, we respond in the same manner as the Israelites did in Numbers 11:1. They complained and grumbled. They had a distorted view of what God was doing and what they thought they deserved. Yet, what this verse from Romans teaches us is the one thing we truly deserve is death. What we are entitled to is physical and spiritual death because we have sinned. As sinners, we face eternal separation from God and have brought the wrath of God upon ourselves. Simply put, the payment we deserve is death.

Thanks be to God, though, Romans 6:23 does not end there. God, in His grace, extends mercy through the free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. If we deserve eternal death, then the very thing we do not deserve is eternal life. But because of the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross, we can have eternal life in Christ. We are saved by the grace of God alone through faith in Christ alone. Those who understand this truth respond in repentance of sins and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. They realize they are undeserving of God’s grace and that they cannot be saved by their own good works. They recognize the mercy of God withholds what they deserve and the grace of God extends what they don’t deserve. Life in Christ is a free gift.

This biblical framework of understanding our salvation trickles down into our attitude toward God and toward life. Biblical counselor Paul Tripp explains, “If you tell yourself ‘I deserved that’ you won’t be grateful. Thanksgiving results when you remind yourself that every gift comes freely by grace.” Christians should be a people marked by gratitude, not grumbling. This Thanksgiving, meditate on the gospel. Remember salvation is not something earned, but salvation is a gift. We do not deserve it, but we have been entrusted with it. When you understand it is by God’s grace you have been saved, then you will respond with thankfulness and an attitude of gratitude. My prayer for you is your life would be marked by gratitude toward God for the grace of God.

My ‘Entrusted’ Life

my entrusted lifeMy passion is to teach Christ-followers to live as stewards of the gospel. That is one of the main reasons I started this blog, Entrusted By GOD.  Through writing, recommending, and producing resources, I desire to equip disciples of Christ to know God more intimately. Yet, my story doesn’t begin there. The concept of an ‘entrusted’ life began before I was even born. Reflecting on the events to be mentioned, it is amazing to see how God has brought me to the place He has. This is the story I would like to share. This is my ‘entrusted’ life.

It began when my mother, believed to have had the flu, decided to go see a doctor. Since she had not yet had her period that month, my father and her chose to go see a gynecologist. At the gynecologist, they found out my mother was pregnant but told her that they thought the pregnancy was a molar pregnancy. According to WebMD, a molar pregnancy is when tissue that normally becomes a fetus instead becomes an abnormal growth in the uterus. They suggested that my mom have a D&C, a dilation and curettage, which is a procedure to remove tissue from inside the uterus. It is usually done to clear uterine lining after a miscarriage or abortion. Not agreeing with the decision, my parents made an appointment for another doctor visit the following week. They trusted God that if she was going to miscarry it would happen naturally.

At the next regular doctor’s appointment, they did another ultrasound and found, I, the baby had grown and looked to be normal size. However, it was not all good news. They could not find a heartbeat. It was not until my mother was five months pregnant a heartbeat was found. Then, at seven months, it was thought I would be premature because my mother was already dilated to five. Medication was given so that she would not go into early labor but she could not tolerate it and had to discontinue prescriptions. A couple of months later, a healthy boy was born two weeks late and at eight pounds and three ounces.

By all appearances, it seemed something should have gone wrong with the pregnancy. But by God’s grace, God chose to entrust life to a healthy baby boy, Theron. This is my story. This is my ‘entrusted’ life.

Entrusted vs. Entitled

entrusted-entitledWe live in a culture of entitlement. Entitlement can be defined as “an unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others”. From the constant refrains of “I deserve, I deserve, I deserve”, I believe it is no stretch to say we are a people who think we have an endless list of rights. At its heart, it is idolatry and selfishness. When entitlement is our worldview, we care most about ourselves, have no concept of accountability, and believe we should get what we want when we want it. We speak of rights but not of responsibility. Furthermore, this entitlement mindset hinders and damages our relationships with God and others. As John Piper puts it, “An entitled mentality kills relationships.”

To be sure, this is not a new problem. As one of my college professors has put it, it has been an issue “ever since Genesis 3”. In regards to our topic, there we find God has given to us things like family and work. Yet, Satan has deceived us. He has tricked us into believing that God is not actually a good God and does not give us good gifts. No, the devil tells us we should feel entitled to be like God or even replace God, that this is what we deserve.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. God reveals to us in His written Word the only thing we deserve is His judgment because of our rebellion against Him (Romans 1:18-20, 32). The very truth of the gospel, that we have been saved by grace, shows that God gives us the very thing we don’t deserve. He entrusts it to us. In other words, He gives it to undeserved people and even lavishes it on them (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:8; 1 John 3:1). Therefore, rather than viewing life as entitled beings, we need to see ourselves from this entrusted mentality. We are not owners. Ultimately, we are stewards. This means we are held accountable and are responsible for things in life. In other words, it matters the way we live for Christ because He says to whom much is given much is required (Luke 12:48).

Looking at God’s view of life and ministry should transform the way we think and live. Stewardship, while often spoken of in context of finances, is so much bigger than money alone. The entitled mentality hurts relationships while the entrusted mindset restores relationships. Entitlement is built on selfishness. To be entrusted is to be held responsible and to think of others. The lie of entitlement drives the church into a prosperity gospel whereas an entrusted framework points God’s people to a grace-driven gospel. Case in point, an entitled life distorts the nature and character of God while the entrusted life displays the faithfulness and goodness of God. We must fight against an entitled mentality and live out God’s call to an entrusted life.

Photo Source: http://www.ourchurch.com/member/l/legacybaptist/index.php?p=1_6_Legacy-Baptist-Church-Buffalo-MN-Why-Legacy

Entrusted with Life (Romans 3,6, 10)

ww30The first words we read in the Bible, in Genesis 1:1, are “In the beginning, God created…” Furthermore, we see in Genesis God has specially created mankind in His image (Genesis 1:27). He is the Creator of the world and the Creator of man. If we truly meditate on these truths, something important comes into our view. We begin to see that our life is not our own. We do not live, in all honesty, as those who are entitled to the things they want. Rather, we understand that our life has been entrusted to us by God. Each day is a gift from God and is given and entrusted to us by the One who created us (James 4:3-17). Therefore, we are the Lord’s and we are to live to Him (Romans 14:7-9). As He has created us, so we are to worship Him. Yet, knowing we have been entrusted by God with life and that we belong to Him, we have failed and have fallen short. The God who is perfect and holy, just and good, wants a relationship with us. Yet, because of our sin, we have been separated from God. We have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and we deserve hell because we have rebelled and have forsaken the one true God. We deserve the penalty of death because of our sin (Romans 6:23). However, the God who is just is also the very same God who is merciful and full of grace. No amount of works by us could ever help us save ourselves and nothing we can do can save us from this penalty. Only God could and only God did. He paid the penalty for our sin. He sent God the Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for the forgiveness of sins and to rise again to be Lord over all and to give us eternal life. God has loved us, even in knowing every sinful thing about us, and has sent His Son to die for us (Romans 5:8). While we have tried to live ‘entitled’ lives, thinking we deserve this and that, God has shown us we must live lives that He has entrusted to us. He has entrusted to us His mercy and grace upon the cross. We cannot earn His salvation through works. To reiterate, we can never save ourselves from hell. Only by grace through faith can we be saved and have that fellowship and relationship with God (Ephesians 2:8- 9). Thus, not only have we been entrusted with life by God, but we have been entrusted with a choice. What God has done for us on the cross calls for a response. We can either reject His offer of the gospel and live in eternal torment or we can repent of our sins, confess with our mouth and trust in our heart Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and be saved from our sins (Romans 10:9, 10, 13). With what God has entrusted to us, we must respond. There are eternal consequences. May we look to Christ and continually put our trust in Him.

Reflection Time:

  • Have you truly repented of your sins and placed your faith in Jesus Christ?
  • How does seeing life from an ‘entrusted’ mindset, compared to an ‘entitled’ mindset, affect how you live your life?

Entrusted with His Suffering

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This post has been written by guest blogger Pastor Andy Lee. Andy serves as lead pastor at Crossroad Community Church in Shelbyville, Indiana.

Key verses to ponder:

  1. 2 Corinthians 1:5 “For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
  2. Philippians 1:29 “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.”
  3. 2 Timothy 3:12 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
  4. 1 Peter 4:12-13 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

Thoughts to consider: 

Since a believer is “in Christ” by faith and this faith Paul says has been granted to us, it’s even a gift to us (Eph.2:8), then it makes sense that we will participate in His sufferings that He suffered for us.  He left us an example to follow in His footsteps (1Peter 2:20-23).  If He came for us and lived for us and suffered for us, then it only makes sense that as we live for Him that we will face those same trials and sufferings as his.  This new union with Christ guarantees it and promises it. But will you accept it?

I John 4:9 says, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”  In order for Jesus to live through us He must first live “in” us, that is our salvation.  Our spiritual growth from the point of our salvation, till He either takes us home or He is revealed, is always going to be HOW we respond to His Christ-like sufferings which come or “flow over” into our lives.  We will either flourish in it
or let it defeat us.

Where are you in the process of truly understanding and accepting the fact that you will suffer for Christ’s sake?  Have you ever been slandered, insulted, mistreated, betrayed by close friends, endured verbal abuse, or been persecuted for doing what was right or for being a Christian? Realize you are not alone and realize that God is working out His Christ-like plan for your life (Rom.8:28-29).  It is comforting to know that our heavenly Father has entrusted us with the sufferings of His Son.  Lord, thank you for all the trials that help us become more and more like Jesus.  You are worth suffering for!

Truths to apply:  What is He teaching us?

  1. To allow His life to be lived out in us. (2Cor.4:10-11)
  2. Teaching us to rejoice that we are privileged to participate in suffering for Him. (Acts 5:41)
  3. To teach us obedience in the midst of suffering. (Heb.5:8)
  4. To develop endurance and perseverance in us so we won’t lack any good thing. (James 1;2-4, Romans 5:3-5, 2 Timothy 2:8-10)