“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil”(Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV).
Friend to Friend
As Christian believers, we’re called to live set-apart lives. To be holy as God is holy. To be in the world, but not of the world. God is the source of all holiness, and in order to live a set-apart life, we must spend time with Him so we can be fueled by His Holy Spirit.
I don’t know what your days look like, but mine are pretty full. They start early and end late. Once the sun rises, it seems that coffee isn’t the onlything brewing in my house. An invisible competition brews daily that vies for my time and attention. The competitors are often “good things” that end up to be “time-robbing things” that keep me from God’s best and God’s presence.
Today I’d like to put our computer lives under a spiritual microscope. I’m an e-girl. I love my MacBook Pro computer, my iPhone, email, instant messaging, and the World Wide Web. Though I’m admittedly fully immersed in the e-life, I’m also cognizant of the fact that the e-world has become a dangerous addiction and spiritual deterrent to many. I struggle with this personally. These electronic forums host a new and efficient opportunity for us to connect with other people 24/7. While much of the social networking, online surfing, and emailing is innocent, encouraging, and fun, they clearly present us with opportunities to sin and be distracted from set-apart living.
Over the past several years, Facebook, MySpace, blogs, instant messaging, and chat rooms have replaced many face-to-face conversations and, for some, devotion time. They have become a new source of temptation for us, an opportunity to live a fantasy or a momentary escape from the daily grind.
A friend of mine recently said, “My computer whispers to me.” Yikes! Mine does, too! Though it’s embarrassing to admit, I sometimes don’t manage my time efficiently because I’ve given in to the lure of e-life by responding to the audio alert that indicates “I’ve got mail” or the notification that someone has left me a message on a social networking page of mine. As a result, I’ve robbed myself of productive time. Time I have wasted and spent unwisely.
We are warned against this in Scripture. “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV).
Now, hear me clearly on this. I’m not saying that electronic forums or computers are bad or evil in and of themselves. (For goodness sakes, you’re reading this devotion because of the amazing electronic world!) I’m simply suggesting that it would be wise for each of us to pray about the amount of time and energy we devote to these things.
How can we be set apart in our e-life? How can we establish healthy e-boundaries that will protect our purity and our time with God? Perhaps we could start by taking an honest look at the amount of time we commit to our social e-lives versus the amount of time we commit to spending in God’s Word and in His presence each day. (Did that sting? Rest assured it stings me, too.)
The good news is that we can turn to God for direction and wisdom in all of this. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him”(James 1:5, NIV). Our gracious Lord longs for each of us to choose His best and live each day in His strength.
“God, make a fresh start in me.
Shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don't throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!”
Psalm 51:10-12, MSG
Today I thought it would be fitting to pray directly from Scripture.“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light” (Colossians 1:10-12, NIV).
Father, we ask this in Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Let’s get practical today:
· Spend some time in thought and prayer about this subject.
· Ask God to reveal to you any e-habits that are sinful, indulgent, or inappropriate.
· Check your on-line notification settings and consider eliminating unnecessary email alerts.
· Remember that God longs for your time and attention. Be certain that you don’t choose mundane activities instead of spending time with Him.
· Read Ephesians 5:1-20.
More from the Girlfriends
Hey, girlfriend! Last year it occurred to me that one of the biggest time-sucking e-temptations for me came from the homepage I had chosen on my internet browser. I used to have my favorite cable news network set as my home page. Every time I logged on to the internet, the headlines begged me to click their links. So I went into the settings of my internet browser and chose a blank page for my homepage. Though it’s not overly exciting to have a blank homepage, it has helped me to be wiser with my time. Hope this spurs you on to similar responses!
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear”(Ephesians 4:29, ESV).
Friend to Friend
Yesterday, we began to talk about living a set-apart life. We looked at our e-lives, the time we spend on computers, and were challenged to establish healthy boundaries to protect and strengthen our faiths. It was noted that God is the source of all holiness. In order to live a set-apart life, we must spend time with Him and then be fueled by His Holy Spirit. Today, we are going to consider how we can be set-apart (holy) with our words.
My ten year old son, Hunter, recently came to me with a humble confession. He said that, “because he hasn’t been spending much time with God lately, he has been grumpier and grumpier.” He quietly admitted that he has been mean to his siblings and has said some unkind things. With amazing insight, he connected the amount of time that he spent with God and in God’s Word with his behaviors ... recognizing that there was a direct correlation in his life.
Boy, could I relate to that! Tears welled up in my eyes as we spoke about this. I told Hunter that I experience the exact same thing in my life. That when I don’t carve out time in my day to spend with the Lord, I often say things I shouldn’t. For that matter, even when I doread my Bible and pray, I still say and do sinful things.
There was a time in my life when I really struggled with profanity. My tongue was a loose cannon. My church friends would never have known, but when I was angry, profanity was often present ... even if only under my breath. It was a deeply rooted sin and a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior. Thankfully, God has delivered me from that ugly habit, but it took almost ten years of prayer. In those ten years, I failed repeatedly and struggled to believe that God could change my ways. It was a long-term process for me to be purified in my language, and I can assure you that it is only by the grace and strength of God that I can stub my toe now without needing to wash my mouth out with soap.
The Bible has so much to say on this topic. Here are just a few examples:
"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."(Proverbs 12:18, NIV)
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”(James 1:19-20, NIV)
“When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” (Proverbs 31:26, NLT)
“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”(Proverbs 13:3, NIV)
This is hard stuff. Living set-apart with our words is simply beyond us, but be encouraged, because all things are possible with God. We need to constantly fall before the Lord and ask Him to filter our words through the Holy Spirit. It’s important that we keep short accounts with God. When we do, He equips us to disarm the loose cannon of our tongues.
At the end my conversation with Hunter, I told my son that one of the most amazing things about our Heavenly Father is the mercy that He greets us with when we come before Him to confess our behavior. I said to him, and I say to you, God loves us so perfectly, that every time we turn to Him with a repentant heart, He offers us His grace. Go in His grace and live a set-apart life in the power of His Spirit today.
Holy Father, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14, NLT)
I ask this in Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
· Meditate on Hebrews 4:14,16:
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
· Now, grab your journal and throw yourself into this devotion. What are your greatest areas of temptation and weakness regarding your words? Confess those to God and ask Him to grant you the mercy and strength to help you live a set-apart life.
· Read Ephesians 4.
Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106
This Little Light of Mine!
Everyone remembers the children's song "This Little Light Of Mine." This is Addison Road's variation of that song. What a fantastic composition! It's from their album "Stories." I love the lines "May you live each day with no regret, make the most of every chance you get." And remember what Matthew 5:16 says: "Let your light shine before others."
Then God commanded, "Let there be light--and light appeared. Genesis 1:3
The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." Isaiah 9:2
There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it. Edith Newbolt Wharton
The Lord does not shine upon us, expect when we take His WORD as our light! John Calvin
By SIMPLY DIVINE LOVE on Friday, March 25, 2011