Ephesians 5.15-16 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
We don’t think of most days as evil. Some days, perhaps, are best referred to as “inconvenient,” most are just “full.” Everything from devotional time to exercise demands a few minutes of a day. Add in work, friends, family, and life’s unexpected events, and the days are overflowing.
- Click “like” on 4.1 million Facebook posts and 1.7 million Instagram posts.
- Post 347,222 Tweets.
- Upload 300 hours of YouTube video.
- Download 51,000 apps from Apple.
- Stream 77,160 hours of Netflix video.
- Swipe 590,278 pictures on Tinder.
- Take 694 Uber rides.
In light of this, calling most days evil seems disproportionate. Pastor and author Darin Patrick notes the meaning of the phrase “making the best use of”, “comes from the Greek word that means ‘redeem.’ Paul is literally saying, ‘buy back time.’” In this way our calling is less toward productivity and more toward our ability to give our time to restoring brokenness in the world.
It’s easy to identify the grand ways we try to buy back time through our own power: on one hand we try to control our external image — holding on to youth while our bodies age. On the other we try to manage our internal world — with our minds even, and tragically, trapping themselves in the guilt and pain of the past.
The billions of clicks, uploads, and views we dedicate ourselves to online are also ways of buying back time that are within our power. Life’s moments of beauty can be preserved, at least in part, through pictures and videos. Stressful days can be relinquished in the plot line of a mini-series online. Even the encouragement we miss during the workweek can be cultivated through the right post online.
Self-redemption, in light of the beauty and sufficiency of God’s redemption through Christ, is revealed for what it really is, “evil.” God wants your redemption and thriving so deeply he gave himself wholly to it. Ephesians continues; “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”