View the Tools of the Trade Index
What Is Time For?
BY RICHARD W. RUNDELL
Isn’t it astounding? The omnipotent, infinite God seeks to manifest himself, His nature, and His character in man, whom He bound to the confining dimension of time. His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, came from the timeless, heavenly realm to our time-constrained world to bring us eternal life. He dropped into the pages of human history, marking a whole new era of time for believers and atheists alike.BY RICHARD W. RUNDELL?Isn’t it astounding? The omnipotent, infinite God seeks to manifest himself, His nature, and His character in man, whom He bound to the confining dimension of time. His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, came from the timeless, heavenly realm to our time-constrained world to bring us eternal life. He dropped into the pages of human history, marking a whole new era of time for believers and atheists alike.
The eternal God injected himself into time. Yet He does not change with the passing of time. Generation after generation, through the rise and fall of empires and the shifting sands of history, God remains the same. The immutable Lord works out His purpose in the people He created and placed in the framework of time.
Time As Our Enemy
From the moment of conception, we are bound by time. Whether we’re taking a breath, building a career, or growing spiritually, everything we do requires time. Even as the clock’s hands tick away, so do the energy and vitality of youth. If only we could stuff youth in a bottle to pour out in our twilight years. Who hasn’t wished to turn the clock back to relive earlier days or move it ahead to a time of rest? Yet we can’t alter time’s natural progression. We cannot relive a second, minute, day, year, or lifetime.
It is good that time brings healing, because the memories of our trials, struggles, and sorrows would otherwise be too heavy to bear. What can we do but live one moment and one day at a time? The Bible tells us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,2).
Time As Our Friend
Wait a minute. God created time for a purpose — not to be our enemy but our friend. Since our highest purpose on earth is to glorify God, our responsibility is to harness time wisely. The time we’re given is best used seeking and serving the Lord. After all, life is not about satisfying the flesh but glorifying Him in all we do.
Through the dimension of time, God teaches us patience, hope, faith, and endurance. He grows our faith today so we can trust Him with our tomorrows. Time heals the wounds and hurts of yesterday, allowing forgiveness to navigate its proper course.
Time helps us correct our human mistakes and learn the ways of God. Yet when we live in God’s forgiveness, He does not remind us of our past failures and throw them in our faces. He is the God of Now. Through time, as we learn to hear His voice, we can grow in the wisdom and knowledge of God. We can learn to love others and to live and walk according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1–3). God grants us time to grow up in Christ.
The gift of time permits the trivial, temporal events of yesterday that clutter up our minds to fade into the forgotten past, allowing us to concentrate on the eternal things of God. We can then reach forward to those things above, pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13,14).
Christians have time to start with small beginnings in the calling of God, and by faith climb to greater heights in Him. Through time we advance from the milk to the meat of God’s Word (Hebrews 5:13,14). As we grow in God’s truth, our human understanding expands to embrace the fullness of His revelation.
Through time God restores the years the locusts have eaten, helping us overcome the setbacks of lost opportunities, broken relationships, and failed ventures (Joel 2:25).
Time in God’s presence reveals the futility of worldly pursuits and deepens our appreciation for the richness and fulfillment of Christ-centered living. Over time we see the Lord lift people from the ash heap of humanity to bring them into His divine plan. Through the dimension of time, God grants us space to explore the hidden mysteries of the universe and to know and comprehend the breadth, length, depth, and height of Christ’s love.
Time allows man to wander through the corridors of his mind, opening chambers filled with memories and questions for which he seeks answers. The natural man accumulates knowledge. But the Spirit-led man seeks eternal wisdom.
In our modern western culture, life is often hurried. Yet God teaches us to wait on Him. Time allows us to separate fact from fancy, death from life, the temporal from the eternal, and the natural from the spiritual. By God’s grace, we set aside our human desires for conquest and instant gratification. As we grow in Christ, we develop patience and self-control (Proverbs 16:32).
Growing Over Time
Spiritual growth isn’t always easy. Sometimes it involves growing pains. It can be a bit like sitting in a dentist chair wishing the dentist would hurry and finish but knowing he won’t quit until his work is accomplished. Yet through it all, God brings us into maturity. Only through the process by which God squeezes us can we fully appreciate the wisdom, understanding, and growth that result. We can rejoice that, in time, we mature. We grow up in Christ as Jesus is formed in us.
It takes time for the transformation to unfold. Growth and maturity require patient commitment. Christians have the privilege not only to enjoy such a metamorphosis but also to represent Jesus’ nature and life to the world through the process.
Perhaps most importantly, through the gift of time Christians can fully realize the truth that they have been crucified and raised to new life with Christ. As we move forward with God, taking on the new Christ nature, life becomes a purpose-filled quest to comprehend and realize our true identity in Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:27; 2 Peter 1:4).
1. Richard Rundell. “What Is Time For?” in War Cry, January 4, 2003.