As another year becomes history, we are again reminded of the brevity of life; our lives pass as quickly as a mist of steam (James 4:14). Compared to the Lord, who is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90:2), our days are but a handbreadth (Psalm 39:5). We must “redeem” or “buy up” the time we have here on earth, using our time wisely (Ephesians 5:16). How can we do this?
First of all, we cannot redeem the time by idly wishing we had more time without changing our priorities. Many people wish they had more time, but how do they spend the time they have? Martha thought she had to get things accomplished around the house before she could listen to Jesus, but Mary decided to listen to Jesus first before serving around the house (Luke 10:40-42). These sisters had the same opportunities, but they chose differently. We decide how we spend much of our time. How will you spend your time in 2016? You can spend it doing what you think you have to do, or what others think you should do, but do not forget that you have the choice to use it doing what God wants you to do.
Another consideration to help us redeem the time is to not allow the past to rob us of our future. In Philippians 3, Paul speaks briefly of his past life. His advancement in Judaism brought him to a level unequaled by his contemporaries. He could have rested on his laurels so to speak and said he had accomplished enough in religious service. When Christ appeared to him on the road to Damascus, he could have responded by claiming he was too deep in the religious group that opposed Christ to turn from it. But he didn’t. While Paul mentioned the past from time to time, he did not allow his past persecution of the church to cripple him with depression. Instead he said, “this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). When we dwell on past mistakes we give them the power to rob more of our time: our present and future. Let us not be debilitated by what we have been in the past, but be encouraged by what we can be in the future. We must move onward and upward in 2016.
Finally, we must consider that not every moment of 2016 will be rosy for us. Perhaps something may happen to us that will change us forever. Truly, none of us know what awaits us. Will suffering come our way? Perhaps. If it does we must be resolute that we will be faithful to the Lord. God has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), but that does not mean that Christians face no trouble. God made life to test our faith. He keeps the future from us so that we will cling to Him and serve Him out of love. If we knew the future, we would try to control each situation we would face to avoid all pain, instead of trusting in the Lord day by day. “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him” (Ecclesiastes 7:14). Whatever 2016 holds for you, determine that you will trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6).