15 Nov Flexi Time . . . Flexi Life
The wise saying of the past states: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. I wonder how relevant it is to the present day lifestyle of our young people and young adults. Although professional studies and corporate jobs play a big role in putting a lot of pressure on the youth, a great attraction is also offered by “friend’s corner” coffee sit outs, mobile companies with special night offers and the internet. But these realities or practices cannot excuse us to overlook the Bible teachings on disciplined life and the life approved by God. In everything we do, we have to question ourselves asking how much is God happy with us? How much is God honored through it? How much is God glorified through it? To give fitting answers to the above questions, we need to follow the principle of discipline, fitting into our flexi time and flexi life.
We need to work our time to be with God, reading His word and praying. Failing to do so results in deterioration of our spiritual life, weakened faith and less dependency on God. On the other hand, we become self-dependent and lack self-control. Our focus will shift from God to ourselves, other earthly things and passions of life. Isaiah 30:12-18 talks about this kind of shifting. Depending on what seems profitable, what is approved in general by all rather than depending on God. When we shift so, we will be like:
High walls with cracks in it. It may fall suddenly and break into pieces. “Therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant.” (ESV*)
Fleeing on horses to escape the threat. In the end we will be left alone. “At the threat of five you shall flee. Till you are left as a pole on the top of a mountain.” (ESV*)
Trusting God and resting in God give us salvation and strength to face the reality with strong godly convictions.
A danger seen here is ‘lack of faith’ or ‘deterioration of faith’. Jesus in Luke 18:8 cautioned us about such ‘coldness of heart’. “Nevertheless when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” This is the danger of the end of days; which is almost in our midst. Here Jesus declares that in the end times, people begin to slack in their faith in God. This frightens me. You may say ‘How?’ and ‘Why?’ When all other things become priority, our faith lies in them rather than in God; God becomes secondary. God is needed but we put our faith in careers, finances and ranks, etc. This is what we mostly see these days. In order to achieve these we put spirituality aside. Yes, they are needed but who gives them? God! How can we put Him in the back seat? If we do so, our reliability will be on our abilities, our intelligence and our strength. This is what Jesus must have foreseen to say “Nevertheless when Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
We need to stop and look into the following things carefully:
Slacking in spiritual activities
Coldness of heart toward God and relating to God
Busy bodies with no time or little time for God
Flexi time and flexi life that clashes with the regular activities like Bible studies, prayer meetings, retreats, seminars and church services.
To escape the dangers of life and side-tracking from God’s ways, we need to discipline ourselves within the brackets of flexi time and flexi life.
Timothy was a young man like any one of us. He has neglected his spiritual life; the flame was low on the altar of his heart. So he needed to exercise what he was instructed in I Timothy chapter 4, especially verse 6-12. ‘Do not neglect . . . Vs 14”. This is exactly what Paul is exhorting Timothy and us in II Tim 2:4 – 7 — not to get entangled with weights that pull us down; i.e. current affairs, worldly pleasures and passions of life; for they pull our spiritual life down. Paul further explains through the examples of the lives of a soldier, an athlete and a farmer. A soldier who is engaged in warfare does not entangle himself in civilian pursuits because he wants to please his commanding officer. In the same way, an athlete has to compete according to the rules if he wants to receive the medals. So also a farmer has to work hard, if he wants to share the first crops. It is the same with us. If we need to please our God who is our commanding officer, we cannot waste time doing the things that most people do. If we want to receive the crown of life, we have to abide by the commands of God; we have to obey God. In order to obey God we need to know what God is requiring of us; so we need to spend time with God and His word. In the same way, if we want to reap the fruit of our lives we have to work hard spiritually. So, keep in close relationship with God and spiritually work hard doing good. “You are young, but do not let anyone treat you as if you were not important. Be an example to show the believers how they should live. Show them with your words, with the way you live with your love, with your faith and with your pure life.” I Timothy 4:12 (ICB#).
May God help us and deliver us from the coldness of our hearts and wanderings of our minds and help us to draw ourselves close to Him. May He help us with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
*ESV – English standard version
#ICB – International Children’s Bible
Aruna Fullonton, Former UESI Staff