As the new year unfolds it is worthwhile to address our idea of time allocation and spiritual values. Do you know the number one to do list in most people’s agenda when they have a convenient time? Not church. But do you also know what the number one excuse most people give for not giving time to God is? Not having a convenient time. For other leisure, however, we will go as far out of our ways as we have to, in order to make it happen. When it comes to giving priority to God though, all the time we have in our hand seems to be inconvenient. There is a similar story in the bible during Saint Paul’s time where Felix, the governor of Rome, had to find a way of not committing to what Saint Paul was preaching. The story is in Acts 24. When Saint Paul was captured and sent to Rome as captive, he stood on trial where Felix was the governor. After listening to Saint Paul’s preaching, Felix was moved but at the same time afraid of being conformed by his teaching. Therefore Felix said “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” In our generation we find some of Felix’s behavior in each one of us. Whenever asked about why we are not coming to church, bible study, prayer and similar spiritual acts we are inclined to say “I don’t have time.” But is it truly the lack of time? Or deep down is there something that prevents us from not giving our eternal life a priority?
We don’t want our mind to convict us
The reason why we don’t want to listen to the word of God is because it reveals our mistakes, and in our corrupt nature we tend to cover our mistakes and move on. How many times have we said that we don’t want to worry about “that thing right now” when our conscious tells us that we need to work on our flaws? Dealing with the issues at hand is critical and we need to be honest with ourselves but we often don’t want that. Even more, sometimes we want to stay away from people who are able to shine our darkest moments by being a light. We avoid those people without a reason at all. We resent them and fear them same way as Felix feared when Saint Paul spoke about righteousness and shined a light on what is right and wrong. The problem is not others seeing our flaws; rather, it is us who don’t like to see our own defects. Therefore we tell ourselves that we are busy to deal with this right now. We postpone the guilty feeling for another time. But the truth is, just because we put it on the shelf that doesn’t mean these issues are going anywhere. “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” Psalm 51:3
We think we will not have “fun” if we commit to God
For some, giving ourselves to God is considered to live the life of a monk. They think that God does not like for us to have fun. God is not the fun police. To go even further God is not a police of any sort. If we want to do whatever we want to do, God generously gave us a free will to pursue that. But as any Parent wants what’s good for their child, God wants life for us instead of death. And with a life dedicated to God comes true joy, which is what most of us have been looking for after all. The only thing to do is re-calibrate our thinking of “fun”. If fun is not everlasting and couldn’t bring real joy from within how is that “fun”? Do you know that those who give their life to God are the joyous ones with a smile on their faces day and night? When they wake up in the morning they are filled with happiness. Not as when we “enjoy” at night and feel remorse and headache in the morning. They are grateful at night of how their day went. Not as the way we crave for some numbing substance that temporarily suppresses the stress that we had throughout the day. The earlier one is a long lasting joy/fun where the latter one is like continually giving a pain killer for a serious internal sickness which needs a surgery. Besides if anyone considers outdoor activities, social gatherings, sports, and so on are banned for a Christian that’s a fabrication. Committing our life to God can also go hand in hand with any activities that we enjoy except sin or activities that lead to sinning.
We think it’s hard to keep that promise
The other reason why we give excuse of not having a convenient time is because we think that we won’t be able to keep the promise when it comes to committing to live a life with God. We say to ourselves “if I pledge myself to live a sanctified life right now, I know my heart still desires the world attractions.” And we convince ourselves that if we fail back again we will disappoint God. Therefore, we might as well stay in the life where we are until we get tired of the world. For example, if we consistently fail with sexual sins, we might say to ourselves, “I am young and I will stop when I get older.” If we are stingy and materialistic we tell our mind, “I will be more charitable when I am stable and have more.” If we are angry all the time, we say “It’s just that I am stressed at this time because of the situation that I am in. As soon as I finish school, project, or get that promotion, I will get back in track and be more patient.”
In our hearts, however, we fear that we will not be consistent with what we are promising. Therefore the problem is self-doubt. And this self-doubt is not only harmful when we want to start a new journey of righteousness but also in our struggle to stop certain ungodly lifestyle choices. Many individuals will become comfortable in sin convincing themselves to not fight because they are going to fail eventually. Such people say, “I might as well sin now and get it over with because I am going to sin later anyways.” Know the power that is within you. In 2nd Kings 6:16 Elisha had a servant who was afraid of the thousands of the King’s soldiers that gathered around him and Elisha to kill them. And he said to Elisha, “oh Lord what should we do?” and Elisha answered “Don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then God opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw thousands of angels surrounding them. What we have is powerful. It is so powerful because He is the source of that power. So the right mindset would be not “what if I fall?” but “I have God on my side and I won’t fall and if I fail, He will show me the way up” If we are honest with ourselves and address these problems, giving our life to God shouldn’t be postponed. We are actually late… very late by not giving our time to Him.
“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” 2nd Cor 6:2