Everyone I know needs a good day.
Seriously! Today is Tuesday and I need one. Do you? Yes, that’s what I thought.
We need it to be “good” in all kinds of ways. Good energy level. Good friends. Good work getting done. Good communication and the best of life’s blessings that can’t be counted.
Why aren’t all days “good” ~ even if they start out good? Why do some days seem to spiral out of control even before noon?
It may have happened to you in your business – aggravations that seem to pop up everywhere. It may have happened in your home – a misunderstanding or mistake that hurts you or your spouse or a child.
Yeah, good days can sputter into tough times in a jiffy. That could be one reason for the paradox that the Bible gives us about living freely in both the best and the worst of times. A “paradox” is an apparent contradiction that contains a profound truth.
One of these is contained in a letter written by the apostle Paul to followers of Jesus in a place called Ephesus. He pinpoints the way to our “good day” – in light of the fact that our world is full of bad days!
Here’s what he said:
“Make the best us of the time you have because the days are evil.”
(ESV translation of Ephesians 5:16)
So, the seeming contradiction is that we’re to find “good” days in times that the Bible calls “evil.” What gives? How are the days “evil” in a world that the Creator saw in its earliest state and called it “good” (Genesis 1:10)
Clearly, Ephesians 5:16 is fusing two fascinating facts together:
- Each day gives us ripe opportunities to do good. Good days are well within the reach of each of us! That’s good to know!
- Each day we can also see evil rampantly at work in our world. The use of the term “evil” in this verse of Scripture refers to the total impact of sinful choices in countless human hearts. It’s a simple fact that evil stalks us all in one way or another. It’s simply another way of saying that we live in a “fallen world” or a “broken world.” The “evil” around us is real but Ephesians 5:16 clearly shows that believers can truly conquer it’s effects.
But to do so, well, we’ll need to make daily decisions that are within our reach but don’t happen for us automatically! God’s Word weaves the realities of cause and effect or human choices within the fact that our created world is continually being damaged by evil choices made from misguided human hearts.
It’ doesn’t take but 5 minutes watching a cable news channel or reading the heartbreaking stories in our newspapers to realize this.
So, how do we get from the “evil day” to our “good day,” and how do we do that today?
It hinges on wise choices that none of us can make consistently without faith in God. This simple truth in Ephesians 5:16 spurs us on “seize the day” as the famous Latin phrase “Carpe Diem” puts it.
I can’t think of a more urgent (and useful) principle to sow into the days of October 2018. We’ll surely see plenty of “evil” around us this month, but worshipers who trust Jesus are “carpe diem” people. We seize the day for Christ.
And this kind of “seizing” is a choice we make to respond to God’s offer of abundant goodness. A psalm-writer reflected on this same principle of smart choices when he described the evil around him with a military image. Like a “troop” of soldiers on the attack, the psalmist saw evil threatening the people he loved. But with bold faith in God, he turned directly to God in prayer and said, “By you, I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.” (Psalm 18:29 ESV)
That was David, the same person who learned early in life to “seize the day” as a young sheep-keeper. When a lion or a bear threatened his father’s flock, David took action. He didn’t waste time wringing his hands or screaming in panic. David “seized the day” to defend his sheep – fighting and subduing a wild beast with force and skill. Later in life, he used his experiences to illustrate exactly what Paul later wrote about “making the most of your time…”
It was a good day (for David) seized boldly from the clutches of an ominous opponent.
Our ominous opponents are usually not growling animals. They’re more often attitudes in a workplace, conflicts in our culture, financial stresses, hurts in a home or internal anxieties.
As surely as a fiercely protective shepherd boy made the most of his time on a very difficult day, you and I can “redeem the time” in pressured and perplexing times. We surely need to be realistic about “evil” but never surrender to it.
Get that good day God has waiting for you. Run straight into that “troop” of troubles as a redeemed child of God. In Christ our King, we have a royal right to bring good things out of tough times.
Make this a carpe diem for Jesus day. Seize that good day and keep it close to your heart. We can do this!
In Christ’s love,