Time - A Requirement for Spiritual Growth
THE DEVIL IS WORKING IN every generation in various ways to draw us away from God. As mothers and housewives, we may think that we are not affected as others who work outside the home. but we should take inventory of ourselves and the direction in which we are leading our children. Our daily life will reflect whether our affections are set on things above or on things of this world.
What are we communicating to our children and to others in the activities which occupy our time? We are subconsciously, if not consciously, teaching that these things are of great value to us in this life. There are any number of things which may be good within themselves. Crafts or hobbies are very enjoyable and fulfilling, and they may also be financially beneficial. But we can let them become so time-consuming that we neglect our spiritual growth and often take away time from our families.
Sports have become such an important part of our society that they can gain control of our spare time. Being a spectator or a participant may be fine within certain limitations. Some participation is beneficial, and we should take care of our bodies with the goal in mind of serving the Lord better. However, so much of our time can be occupied by sports activities that we fail to nurture and exercise our spiritual senses.
It may help if we stop and analyze our motives in the things that we do. Are we striving for the praise of men in our accomplishments? This can be a motivating factor without our realizing it. Or do we simply enjoy our activities so much that we don't want to sacrifice our time for the Lord? Sometimes we may use this "busyness" as an excuse; if our thoughts are occupied, we cannot reflect on the condition of our hearts.
Another element that is working against our spiritual growth is television. As a whole every moral standard of God's word that we are teaching our children is contradicted and torn down in TV programs. Bad language, immodest dress, premarital and extramarital sex, homosexuality, lying, drugs, alcohol, and violence are condoned on television programs which are being seen by our families. this day-after-day bombardment will affect our children's morals and values (and probably ours also). Would you want your child to be an active participant in what he is watching? If he views something enough, he will probably be a participant, because children are imitators. Even educators who are not spiritually minded warn us against the dangers of violent programs and excessive television. Even good programs can have bad influence on our families if they occupy our time to the exclusion of family interaction, study, reading, meditation or prayer. If we allow the television set to be on continually in our homes, what habits are we teaching our children? Can we meditate on God's word and communicate with our families with such a noisy distraction?
We cannot be prepared to spend eternity with God by giving Him four hours each week. It is impossible to develop ourselves in any area without spending time and effort. We need to set goals for ourselves to try to study a certain amount of material in a set period of time. With today's modern technology we have more aids to help us learn God's word than in past generations. Tape recorders can be used in many ways. Try putting on a tape of the Bible, or a good sermon, or some of good singing while doing your work. There is a vast amount of material available today on tapes. Usually they are inexpensive, or in some cases, congregations furnish them as part of their teaching program. This spiritual food will help the whole family learn as you spend your evenings together or take trips in the car.
Psalm 1 says that the man is blessed who delights in the law of Jehovah and meditates on it day and night. Our struggles to crucify the flesh and put on Christ (Gal 2:20) will affect every phase of our lives. We will have a different purpose in mind; our love for God and desire to please Him will be the motivating factor. We will diligently teach our children (Deut 6:4-9) as we strive to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4). We read in 1 John about our love of the brethren, and this love will result when we seek to please our Heavenly Father. Our concern for others will increase, and we should be eager to share with them the blessings in Christ (Matt 5:15-16).
We need to examine our hearts and see where our affections really are. Our children probably already know. Do we allow Satan to control our lives and mold our children's character through these seemingly "innocent" things? Let us make sure heaven is our goal in life, and hopefully and prayerfully work toward it each day of our lives.