This is part five of the five-part series: Don’t Deny the Gospel.
We’ve looked at how wanting to reduce stress can be a bad thing, how wanting to accomplish more can be a bad thing, and how wanting to serve God can be a bad thing.
I originally wanted to title this post Don’t Deny the Gospel: How Trying to Steward Your Time Well as an Act of Worship Can Be a Bad Thing. But I didn’t want to end out this series with such a bummer of a headline.
I also toyed with another headline: Don’t Deny the Gospel: How Can We Do Anything Good? – and I’d like to start this post by asking that question.
How can we do anything good?
Simple. There’s no way. We can’t.
We, in our own power and in our flesh, can’t do anything good. Period.
10as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Did you catch that? No one does good, not even one.
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
Even the things we do which we think are good, righteous, holy actions – they are like filthy, disgusting rags before God.
Make no mistake: you can’t be a God-honoring steward of your time if you are trying to do so in your own power. You won’t live every second of the day for Jesus – as a matter of fact, you won’t live one single second for Jesus. In your own flesh, you are incapable of doing any good.
But Wait! There’s Good News
Thankfully, we don’t need to rely on our own power.
2 Corinthians 5:17-18
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
Christ has made us a new creation. When we are in Christ, we can actually perform, for the first time ever, truly good things. But it’s not us in our own power – it is Christ working through us.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Good things can be accomplished when Christ lives in us – when we are working merely as a conduit of His power.
So What Now?
So what do we do with all of this theology? And what does this have to do with a blog about time stewardship?
The only way for us to do anything of value is to recognize our own sinfulness and worthlessness – and then to lean on Christ to provide what we are lacking.
Under your own power:
You can’t manage your time in a manner pleasing to God.
You can’t find relief from the stress of busyness.
You can’t accomplish anything worthwhile.
You can’t serve God with the right motivations.
You can’t be a good steward of your resources.
If you think you can read the pages of this blog and put anything into practice on your own – you are deceiving yourself.
How Do We Act as Conduits for Christ?
If we’re not to act in our own power but are to have Christ work through us – how do we do that?
The first step is to recognize our own inadequacy and the error of trying to do things ourselves – in other words, to empty ourselves of ourselves.
The second step is to realize that Christ is sufficient to supply the grace that we need to live in obedience. We are saved by His grace, but we also live daily and are sanctified by His grace.
The third step is found in Hebrews 4 as it discusses Jesus as our high priest.
15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The answer is right there. Approach the throne of grace. Pray.
To reuse the John Piper quote from a previous post: “The gospel is not a help wanted sign. It’s a help available sign.”
Help is there if we ask for it.
Over the coming weeks and months and years, my hope is to add, Lord willing, more and more thoughts on time management. I want to talk about the theological issues, the practical techniques, the tips and tricks, the strategies, and the concepts that will equip readers to be good stewards of their time.
But please understand that no good will come out of this blog or the material on it unless it is Christ working through you and me. It is my prayer that the power of Christ will flow through my words (because I realize my own total worthlessness in doing anything valuable here). And I also pray for all of us – that we would die to ourselves so that Christ may live through us.
Note: This post was inspired by Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges
Part 1: (Introduction) Don’t Deny the Gospel: How Learning Time Management Can Be a Bad Thing
Part 2: Don’t Deny the Gospel: How Wanting to Reduce Stress Can Be a Bad Thing
Part 3: Don’t Deny the Gospel: How Wanting to Accomplish More Can Be a Bad Thing
Part 4: Don’t Deny the Gospel: How Wanting to Serve God Can Be a Bad Thing
Part 5: Don’t Deny the Gospel: How Good Things Can Happen
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