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7. Strategy Seven: Guard Our Free Time

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The next strategy is guarding our free time. One of the major reasons people engage in sexual sins, such as pornography and masturbation, is simply boredom—not having anything else productive to do. The Bible seems to provide evidence of this. Unwise stewardship of time probably contributed to David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba. Consider the narrative:

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home.
2 Samuel 11:1-4

In this story, the events occurred in the spring when kings typically went off to war; however, instead of going to battle, David sent the entire Israelite army while he stayed home. Next, David had a sleepless night and then decided to walk on the roof of his palace. While walking, he noticed a beautiful woman bathing. He saw, he lusted, and then he committed adultery with her.

Many men and women have had similar experiences. They were up late with nothing productive to do. They found themselves watching a show they shouldn’t be watching, in a chatroom they shouldn’t be in, on a website they shouldn’t be on, or having a conversation they shouldn’t be having. Like David, many are led into lust by not guarding their time.

There is more biblical evidence of the temptations associated with boredom. First Timothy 5:13 says this about widows and idleness: “Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.” Not having a husband leads the widows to idleness, and in turn, the widows become gossips and busybodies. There is a lot of truth to the saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” When we have free time, it is often then that our enemy attacks. Loneliness, boredom, and procrastination are times when we are especially prone to lust, depression, addiction, and other temptations.

In addition, Paul says this in Ephesians 5:15-17: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Why should we be careful to use our time wisely? Paul says because the days are evil—meaning that if we make poor choices with our time, there is a tendency to fall into the evil of the day. There is a tendency to fall into sin.

This is not only true about lust but any sin. When do people typically get drunk? In their free time. When do people typically struggle with pornography? In their free time. When do people indulge in addictions? In their free time. Satan realizes that our free time is prime real estate for temptation. Therefore, we must make the best use of our time.

In fact, “making the best use of the time” can be translated “redeeming the time” or “buying back the time.” The word redeeming “was used of buying a slave in order to set him free.”i We must redeem our time from the slavery of evil and instead use it for God.

How do we redeem our time and make “the best” use of it? Paul said that we must know and do God’s will (v. 17).

For example, in the story of David’s fall into adultery, he probably should have been at war instead of at home. As the king of Israel, he was called to fight the battles of Israel and to, specifically, conquer all of Canaan, as it was promised by God to Abraham’s descendants. Therefore, during David’s temptation, he was not using his time to do God’s will—he was missing God’s will. This is true for many Christians. Instead of using their time to get involved in church, small group, or youth group, instead of using their summer to grow in the Lord or do missions, they waste it and open doors to fall into the evil of the day. If we are going to walk in victory over lust (and any other sin for that matter), we must redeem the time and use it to know and do God’s will.

How are you using your time? Are you redeeming it for God and his purposes? Or are you falling into the evil of the day?

Reflection

  1. How have you found yourself more prone to lust and other temptations in your free time?
  2. How can you better redeem your time and use it to do God’s will?
  3. What other questions or thoughts do you have about this section?
  4. In what ways can you pray in response? Take a second to pray as the Lord leads.

Copyright © 2015 Gregory Brown


i MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (p. 222). Chicago: Moody Press.

Related Topics: Sexual Purity

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