TGC just ran another excerpt from This Changes Everything, from Chapter 7: Our Time. Here it is!
Jonathan Edwards had an intense fear of wasting time. Like, scary intense. Reading his resolutions always sobers me. I mean, what 19-year-old writes, “Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump”?
But Edwards grasped something we too often don’t. He grasped that life is short and only meaningful if lived for God’s glory. He understood that wasting time is a symptom of taking our eyes off the gospel.
The problem is that we do take our eyes off the gospel, and that means we do waste time—especially us teenagers. Every day, in fact, we waste time. There are even certain time traps teens (even and especially Christian teens) fall into again and again. Let me show you five.
1. We waste time when we don’t do the things we should do.
As Christians, we’re called to a life of hard work and good deeds, but we’re tempted to neglect responsibility. Every day there are a thousand things we should do. From the mundane to the momentous, we have chores, homework, and jobs, as well as opportunities to read, play with our siblings, treasure a sunset, wash the dishes, pray, write, exercise, pick up milk at the store, and pursue the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23).
“For we are [God’s] workmanship,” Paul writes, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). As the very creations—the images—of an infinitely good God, we were created to do good. And he’s prepared in advance these good works for us.
So we waste time when we don’t look for those good deeds—or when we find them and choose to avoid them. In a painfully convicting way, James goes so far as to say that if you know what you should do and you don’t do it, that’s sin (Jas. 4:17).