Living Life Awake – Redeeming the Time

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by Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

Chancellor & Founder – Biblical Life College and Seminary

sleepyhead This past week as I was preparing my weekend message for our local body, the Holy Spirit had me write the phrase “Live Life Awake” in the side margin of my notes. I was dealing with the concept of learning to activate and daily walk in our new nature in Messiah. Although I did work it into my message, the Holy Spirit continued to deal with me about being awake and how everything in our secular society is designed to put us spiritually and intellectually asleep.

As I pondered these things, I remembered a sermon series by Pastor Rod Parsley. He taught this powerful series in the early 90’s, and it was based on a prophetic vision of Prophet Tommy Hicks. This series as called “The Final Awakening: A Vision of the Endtime.” (I do not know if Pastor Parsley’s ministry still sells this series, but I would recommend it to anyone.) In Tommy’s vision, he saw a giant covered with rubble and small demons. These were not the things holding it down. This giant was asleep. Every once in a while this giant would try to wake up. As he did, the demons would flee into the darkness in stark terror. He would not be able to sit up fully and would finally fall back to sleep. As soon as he did, the demons would come rushing back in believing they had achieved some great victory. My friends, the Church in America looks more like that giant now than when Tommy spoke forth this vision in the 1950’s or even in Pastor Parsley’s sermon in the 1990’s!

With this in mind, I want to take a look at Paul’s exhortation to the Church in Ephesus in Ephesians 5:11-16:

11And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (NKJV)

The first part of our hermeneutical journey will be to understand Ephesus. Ephesus was a hot spot for paganism and the occult. As Paul’s ministry began to take hold in the area, we find in Acts 19:19 that many of the people brought all of their occultic objects and books to be burned and destroyed. So the influence in Ephesus was not only basic paganism but a powerfully established structure of the mystery religions. This influence within that society caused Paul to warn these believers of several things:

1. There are many things birthed within darkness that we should have no fellowship with.

The Greek word here for “fellowship” is sugkoinoneo {soong-koy-no-neh’-o}. It means to become a partaker together with others, or to have fellowship with a thing. (Strongs #G4790) It is important that we do not allow ourselves to partake of something that is birthed in darkness. That may be easier said than done.

2. Things done by them in secret.

There are many today that discredit a “conspiratorial” view of history. Such individuals are usually liberal in their thinking; few of them would be considered having a biblical worldview. One does not have to go past Genesis Chapter Three to find conspiracy. Darkness is constantly planning in clandestine fashion its desires upon mankind.

There are secret societies that permeate much of western civilization. They touch finance, politics, the entertainment industry and education: just about every aspect of our lives. They have slowly and methodically altered what we are taught, what we see, what laws are passed and even what we eat. A great portion of what they do must be done outside of public observation, truth or even daylight. To accomplish their work, they must either distract the public or place them into some type of spiritual and/or cerebral fog. They have learned throughout the centuries on how to either distract the Church by getting it to fight within other sections itself or to place Christians in a spiritual stupor.

3. Paul calls us to awake out of sleep.

Paul is trying to get the Church to realize that the very culture around them will put them to sleep spiritually. For those that walk with God, too much worldliness always leads to lukewarmness! This was the problem with the Laodicean Church in the Book of Revelation. They thought that had everything and really they had nothing!

We need to learn to maintain a balance: unplug from the world while being able to reach out to the world.

4. Walk circumspectly.

Here again the Greek word “circumspectly” is akribos {ak-ree-boce’} , which means exactly, accurately, and diligently. (Strongs #G199)

I believe Paul was admonishing us to be aware of this tendency. If we know that it is there, we can guard ourselves again it.

5. Redeeming the time, for the days are evil.

The definition for the Greek word “redeem” is a long one, but I want to make it fully available to you in this article:

Redeem: Strongs # G1805 exagorazo {ex-ag-or-ad’-zo}

Meaning: 1) to redeem 1a) by payment of a price to recover from the power of another, to ransom, buy off 1b) metaph. of Christ freeing the elect from the dominion of the Mosaic Law at the price of his vicarious death 2) to buy up, to buy up for one’s self, for one’s use 2a) to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the time our own.

Notice that I have underlined two sections of the definition. Let’s look at both of them in the light of this teaching:

1. Only when you are awake spiritually can you take back the power of your time from the enemy. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the devil controlling my time, energy and creativity in the Kingdom. The only way to get his hands off of them is to wake up, walk properly before the LORD and to unplug from his influence.

2. Time is like money, you need to invest it wisely. Time is not like money in that you cannot make more. This tells us that God is requiring us to use our time here on earth wisely. So much of the world wants to waste our time with things that dumb us down and rob us of time we could spend with friends and loved ones or to accomplish something great for the Kingdom.

Application

1. We need to know this is real and happening to the Body of Christ.

Knowing the tactics of an enemy is the first step to overcoming him. In this case, it is the first step to waking back up. Are you on fire for God as much as you could be? Are you hearing from the LORD every day? Is His Word a living thing to you? Is prayer a routine that is boring or more like a contact sport (emphasis on “contact”)? If not, you are someplace between getting sleepy and being completely out!

2. Moderate the spiritual and intellectual junk food.

Before I even touch this one, I need to let you know who is writing this. Nobody could down a large sack of chips and jumbo tub of dip like I could. I also love action and sci-fi movies and could easily go into a marathon of snacking and watching. So as I approach this, I know my own weaknesses.

We have got to moderate how much and of what we read and watch that is influenced by the spirit of this world. Much of it is just like junk food; the more you eat, the more you want. Know yourself and where you are at. It is one thing to watch a movie and chill out after a hard week of ministry. It is another thing to get so lost in TV shows and movies that you cannot find the time to pray, read the Bible or feed your spirit!

More than 100 years ago, an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto discovered the 80/20 Principle (sometimes called Pareto Principle or Pareto Law). This principle can be seen in finance, in productivity, in church work, well; in just about everything. Let me give you an example: at Church, 20% of the congregation will do 80% of the work. Twenty percent of the people can also take up 80% of the pastor’s time. In your personal productivity, 20% of what you are doing will produce 80% of your results. Unfortunately, 80% of what you do only produces 20% of your accomplishments. Since this is a principle, it is pretty well universal. Here is another formula for you:

Eighty percent World and 20% Kingdom will make you lukewarm and a citizen of Laodicea!

Eighty percent Kingdom and 20% World will set you on the right track, wake you up spiritually, set you on fire of the Holy Spirit and keep you balanced. In other words, you will find the balance between “unplugging” from the world while still reaching out to it.

3. Feed the Fire.

Listen to praise and worship, listen and watch anointed teaching, and read. In fact, HEAVY ON THE READ. It activates different parts of your brain that viewing something doesn’t. Read the Word. Read solid books written by Christian authors. (I am not speaking of Christianized soap opera books either). Find those things that “stir you up” spiritually and intellectually (with a biblical emphasis). Learn to incorporate those into your life. You may have to schedule them into your day and week. It will take learning new habits and looking for new solutions. In fact, right here would be a great time to ask you how well your habits and the things you are doing now are working for you. If you are near perfection and folks need to cover their eyes from the glory of God shining from your face, then this article is not for you. The rest of us need to take a serious inventory. We have some time to redeem back and things to accomplish for God.

On the other side, find those things that dumb you down and make you spiritually and intellectually drowsy. Make note of them and limit their use. The really addictive one’s for you may need to be avoided all together! Your life is too precious to waste it in a spiritual fog!

4. Keep Going!

Once you get the ball rolling, don’t fall back into the old mold the devil made for you. Those old habits are like a comfortable bed the enemy wants you to snuggle down into. He wants you to sleep, miss your divine appointments and just be spiritual enough to think you are OK just where you are.

God is calling us to live life “awake.” When we are awake, the enemy runs in fear and the Kingdom of God starts advancing once again!

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Profile on Author

Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.

Chancellor and Founder

Dr. Lake is the chancellor and founder of Biblical Life College & Seminary and serves as an educational consultant for various Christian organizations around the world. He also serves as the Pastor of Biblical Life Assembly in Marshfield, MO. Dr. Lake is listed in the US Registry’s “Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans,” Sterling’s “Who’s Who Executive Edition,” and the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” for his accomplishments in ministry.

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