Wise Ways For Evil Days – Part 1

March 10, 2020
Dear Visionary Leader:
Each year, many of us watch the college bowl games. One of the most memorable bowl games took place some years ago-it was the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The University of California was playing Georgia Tech. At that time, both schools were undefeated.

It was late in the second quarter, Tech had the ball, they were pressing hard on the 33- yard-line, when a man named Thomason was hit. The center for the University of California scooped up the ball, spun around, and began to run with it. The crowd started to cheer. He took this fumble and headed toward the goal. His eyes were watching-peripheral vision-he’s moving to the right, the left, his knees are up high and his legs are spread apart.  He’s running brilliantly. But, with one problem-he’s headed toward the wrong goal. He has somehow gotten confused and spun around. He is literally headed for the wrong goal with this scooped-up fumble.

Now, the incredible thing is, his own teammates are trying to tackle him and the opposition is running interference for him. Finally, about on the one-yard line, after running almost 67 yards in the wrong way, Roy Regals is tackled by Benny Lon-one of his own teammates-on the one-yard line.
Can you imagine the shame, the humiliation, as he walks back to the bench? The jeers, the catcalls, the hooting for Roy Regals. As they went into halftime, the coach put his arm on the shoulder of Roy Regals and spoke to him words of admonition and encouragement. He came out in the second half and played brilliantly.

I tell that story because, not only is it one of the great epochs in football history, but it’s such a parable of so many of us. When we think we’re doing so good, maybe doing well, except for this one thing: we’re headed toward the wrong goal. I mean, you’re doing fine in your business, and you’re doing fine in your health, and you’re doing fine in your relationships; but the problem is, you’ve lost sight of the right goal and it seems that Satan himself is leading interference for you.

I want to do the same thing for you today that Benny Lon did for Roy Regals: I want to tackle you today, if I can. I want to stop you, if I can-God helping me-and to help you to find God’s goal for your life, and to live life to its fullest, and to be all that you can be.
Message Continues In Visionary Coaching
I want to do the same thing for you today that Benny Lon did for Roy Regals: I want to tackle you today, if I can. I want to stop you, if I can-God helping me-and to help you to find God’s goal for your life, and to live life to its fullest, and to be all that you can be.
The Bible says, “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time,” because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:13-18).
In the Bible, there are two words that are translated for time. We see one of His words right here in verse 16: “redeeming the time” (Ephesians 5:16). One of the words for time is the word chronos. It’s the word we get chronology from. That’s not the word that is used here. Chronos just simply means, “the passing of time,” like so many hours, and so many minutes, and so many seconds. Some people call their watches a chronometer. That is, it just keeps count of time as it passes-segments of time, chronos. But, that’s not the word that is used here.
The word that is used here is kairos, which means “time,” but it means like “seasons of time”; it literally means “opportunity.”
Let me show you how that is used, in Galatians 6:10: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). Now, the word that is translated in Galatians 6:10, “opportunity,” is the same word that is translated here, in Ephesians: 5:16, as “time.”

When the Bible says, “Redeeming the time,” here in verse 16, it speaks of the days, the hours, the minutes; but, more than that, it really speaks of the opportunities that we have. You need to see time not just as something that is passing, but as an incredible opportunity. When you’re redeeming time, what you’re really redeeming is opportunity.

The Bible says, “the days are evil,” but we are to be buying up the opportunity. What he is trying to tell us is how to live wise ways for evil days. The days are evil, so therefore, take advantage of every opportunity that God has given us. I want to talk to you about the time of your life. If you’ve been going toward the wrong goal, or, if you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, either one, I want to show you from God’s Word how to take time, use time, and maximize your time for God’s glory.
I. Time is a Provided Opportunity
“Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest” (Ephesians 4:14). We need to jolt some people awake. There is a day of opportunity that you dare not let pass by. We need to awaken from our stupor. Some of us have been chloroformed by these evil days, and somehow, we need to be jolted awake.

Just as we need an alarm clock to get us up in the morning, we at times need our Lord to wake us up! God has provided for you an opportunity. You see, it is God who is the creator of time. God’s great gift to you, number one, is Jesus, and number two, is time. God has given us time to work, time to serve, time to love, time to laugh, time to labor; but, like any gift, how you use it is really up to you. And, we need to see every day-this day and every day- as a gift from God.

Has it ever occurred to you that for you to cease living, God would not have to take your life? All God would have to do is to stop giving you your life.
In Lamentations 3:22, “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” Every day is a gift from God. Time is something that God gave you today and God will give you tomorrow. It’s not something that you own. God is the creator, the possessor of time. And so, therefore, I am a steward of the time that God has given me, and, one day, I will have to answer to God for what I did with this day and every day that God has given me. Twenty-four hours in a day, 1,440 minutes in a day, 86,000 seconds in a day-and every one of them is a precious gift from God.

I don’t know who first wrote these words, but they’re meaningful to me:

I have only just a minute, only 60 seconds in it; forced upon me; can’t refuse it; didn’t seek it, didn’t chose it. But it’s up to me just how I use it.I must suffer if I lose it, give account if I abuse it.Just a tiny little minute, but eternity is in it.

We all have the same amount of time. Everybody has 24 hours in the day. The difference between people is not that some people have more time than other people. The difference in people is how people use the time that God has given them.
II. Time is a Present Opportunity
“See then that ye walk in circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15).

Now, he speaks here of days: “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). There are two days that can steal the joy from today. There are two days that can steal theproductivity from today. One is yesterday, and the other is tomorrow.

The Bible challenges to let go of yesterday. The Apostle Paul said, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:”-that is, I don’t think I have arrived, I don’t think I am already perfect-“but this one thing I do,”-now, Paul wasn’t a man of many ambitions; he narrowed everything to one focus-“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).
A. Paul Had to Forget the Past
He said, “I forget the past.” Let me tell you some of the things that the Apostle Paul therefore had to forget.
1. He Had to Forget Past Guilt

He had to forget past guilt. The Apostle Paul was one who was guilty, along with others, for the stoning of St. Stephen. He said of himself, “I am the chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15), but he buried that guilt in the grave of God’s forgetfulness.

2. He Had to Forget Past Glory
I mean not only was this man guilty as a sinner, but as a saint he was the greatest Christian, I suppose, who ever lived. He was the greatest missionary, the greatest church planter-but Paul didn’t sit around and rest on his laurels.
3. He Had to Forget Past Grief
Paul suffered as few men suffer. You read the account of Paul’s suffering, but he just said, “That’s our light affliction” (2 Corinthians 4:17). He said, “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). He said, “I forget that” (Philippians 3:13).
4. He Had to Forget Past Grudges
I mean, there were many people who did Paul wrong. Paul was abused, lied on, mistreated, cheated, and overlooked. However, Paul refused to feed a fever and nurse a grudge. Paul said, “I take my past guilt, I take my past glory, I take my past grief, I take my past grudges, and I forget those things which are behind.”
B. Paul Had to Not Worry about Tomorrow

One thing that can take the joy out of today is yesterday, as you carry along the load from yesterday. Something else that can take the joy out of today is tomorrow.

Tomorrow never comes. We’re always looking forward to what’s going to happen. We want friends, and so, we look forward to having friends, and when we get friends, we weep when we lose friends. But, many times, we fail to enjoy the friends while we have them.
Some people are waiting for tomorrow; some people are worrying about tomorrow. Jesus said, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.” And then, Jesus said something very interesting. He said, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:34).
Don’t worry about tomorrow. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:34). Now, think with me-what did He mean by that? “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” That is, that God, in the crucible of His wisdom, and in the ecology of His grace, has ordered some trouble for you today, and every day of your life. The Bible calls it evil. It doesn’t mean sin. It’s like an evil smell. It means, “something bad.” All of us have difficulties; we all need difficulties. We’ve been blessed with difficulties. God gives us enough difficulties to cause us to come to Him.
The worst thing that could happen to us would be not to have any difficulties-we’d never know our need of the Lord. Isn’t that right? So God, every day, says, “I’m going to give you sufficient evil, sufficient difficulty.” God gives us enough difficulty to bring us to Him, but then, God gives us enough grace to meet those difficulties every day.

Don’t worry about tomorrow, “sufficient unto the day…” Sufficient what? Sufficient grace for what? For the evil-“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:34). So, there’s that perfect balance. God gives you a certain amount of difficulty today, and God gives you a certain amount of grace today. God gives you enough grace to live this day as you ought.

What happens when you worry? Well, when you worry, you reach out into tomorrow, and you take tomorrow’s difficulty and bring it into today. Well, God didn’t give you grace for tomorrow’s difficulty. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:34). And so, God says in His Word, “As thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).

Well, what happens is this: When you reach into tomorrow, and you bring tomorrow’s troubles, real or imaginary, and you cram them into today, you overload the circuit, you upset God’s divine ecology. You see, worry doesn’t take the sorrow out of tomorrow; it takes the strength out of today. And then, when you meet tomorrow, you meet tomorrow out of breath, because you’re already overloaded from today.

Thousands of years ago, a wise man said this: “Look well to this one day, for it and it alone is life.” “Yesterday is only a dream, and tomorrow is but a vision, yet each day lived well makes yesterday a dream of happiness and tomorrow a vision of hope.” The Bible says, in verse 15, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time” (Ephesians 5:15).
Until The Last Person Has Heard,
Dr. James. O. Davis
Global Church Network
Cochair / Global Networking
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