Walking the Straight and Narrow :: By Holly Spate

In this hectic world we find ourselves in, it is so easy to quickly become distracted. There are so many things in this life that take up our valuable time… so many things that compete for our undivided attention… so many things that continually tug at us.

If not careful, we can find ourselves knee-deep in the minutia of immersing ourselves in a plethora of things that simply don’t matter… things of no true significance, no real value. We can all too easily find ourselves tied to things that will never make any meaningful impact. We can find ourselves busy but making little if any significant progress.

It has been said we each have been given the daily gift of 24 hours. The question is, “How will every minute, every second of that gift be spent?”

Will the seconds be spent wisely or foolishly? Will one make the utmost of every minute or squander the minutes away? Will wisdom and obedience to God’s commands and choosing to die daily to self and selfish desires be what guides believers’ decisions and the use of our time, or will the carnal, self-centered flesh take over and decide how each day will be spent?

Make no mistake… everyone, believers and non-believers alike, will be held accountable for how they used that precious gift of time, as well as what they did with the many blessings and opportunities they were given here on Earth.

As Christians, our goal should be to spend each day fully following Christ. Matthew 16:24-25 reminds, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

Like all believers, I, too, have to make a conscious decision daily to put Christ first. Some days, I do well; other days, I fail miserably. It is a struggle for many to consistently make time with all of life’s demands and distractions. However, the goal is to try to do better than the day before… to keep going… to keep serving… to be more mindful and aware, knowing that putting God first and drawing close to Him is the very best way to spend one’s time. It’s also the greatest way to make a significant impact on the world.

Matthew 5:16 reminds, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

As followers of Christ, we are called to make the most of our minutes, our talents, and our resources. We are called to be about our Father’s business, pray without ceasing, plant seeds that will grow for all eternity, and share the Good News consistently and enthusiastically.

We are called to be wise and discerning with regard to every decision, big or small. We’re expected to keep our eyes ever-focused on the Savior, obeying His commands each and every day.

It is an amazing thought to know that we have the profound privilege of daily deepening our relationship with the very One who created us. James 4:8 makes this clear. It says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” And 1 John 4:16 conveys, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”

Time spent in prayer, worship, and Bible reading not only draws us closer to the Father but also strengthens our heart, increases our trust, and solidifies our faith. It disciplines us to growth and maturity. It strengthens and sharpens, making us more wise and discerning. It prepares us for battles, big and small.

Ephesians 6:10-18 reminds us of these real battles, which we must be fully equipped for in this life. It states, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

When we take time to put Christ first, we naturally position ourselves to set ourselves apart… to live in the world, but not be of the world as Romans 12:2 reminds. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

1 John 2: 15-17 goes on to remind, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

Persistent quality time with the Father equips and provides us with all we need. It’s clear that setting aside time each day to put Christ first and focus on a beautiful relationship with Him has a domino effect of positivity in our life.

He has and is forever faithful to us, and we should, in turn, desire to be ever faithful to Him. Such a mindset will make us more effective disciples. Such a mindset will allow us to be better witnesses. Such a mindset will keep our eyes ever-focused on Jesus and our hearts in tune with His desires so that we are always walking the straight and narrow.