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Make “the Best Use of Your Time”

Make “the Best Use of Your Time”

“Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, making the best use of your time.”​—EPH. 5:15, 16.

SONG 8 Jehovah Is Our Refuge


1. How can we spend time with Jehovah?

 WE LOVE spending time with people we care about. A happily married couple like nothing better than to spend a quiet evening together. Young people enjoy the company of their close friends. And all of us cherish the time we spend with fellow believers. Above all, however, we love spending time with our God. We can do this by praying to him, by reading his Word, and by meditating on his purpose and his beautiful qualities. The time we spend with Jehovah is very precious indeed!​—Ps. 139:17.

2. What challenge do we face?

2 Although we enjoy spending time with Jehovah, we face a challenge. We lead busy lives, which can make it difficult for us to schedule time for spiritual activities. Secular work, family responsibilities, and other necessary activities can demand so much of our time that we may feel that we are just too busy to pray, study, or meditate.

3. What is another threat to our time?

3 There is another more subtle threat to our time. If we are not careful, we could allow activities that are not wrong in themselves to rob us of time that we could use to draw closer to Jehovah. For example, consider the matter of recreation. We all benefit from an occasional change of pace. But even wholesome recreation can cut into our time to the point that there is little time left for spiritual activities. We need to keep recreation in its place.​—Prov. 25:27; 1 Tim. 4:8.

4. What will we now consider?

4 In this article, we will consider why we need to set proper priorities. We will also discuss how we can make the best use of our time with Jehovah and how we can benefit from this wise use of our time.


5. How can considering the counsel found at Ephesians 5:15-17 help a young person to choose the best course in life?

5 Choose the best course in life. Young people are often concerned about the best way to spend their life. On the one hand, school guidance counselors and unbelieving family members may urge them to pursue higher education in preparation for a prestigious career in the world. That path would likely consume a great deal of their time. On the other hand, parents and friends in the congregation may encourage young people to spend their life in Jehovah’s service. What can help a young person who loves Jehovah to make the best decision? He would benefit by reading Ephesians 5:15-17 and meditating on it. (Read.) After reading these verses, a young person might ask himself: ‘What is “the will of Jehovah”? What decision will please him? Which path will result in my making the best use of my time?’ Remember, “the days are wicked,” and this system ruled by Satan will soon come to an end. It would be wise on our part to use our life in a way that will endear us to Jehovah.

6. What choice did Mary make, and why was it a wise choice?

6 Set proper priorities. Sometimes, making the best use of our time involves choosing between two activities that are not wrong in themselves. The well-known account about Jesus’ visit to the home of Mary and Martha illustrates the point. No doubt thrilled to receive Jesus as her guest, hospitable Martha set about preparing an elaborate meal. Meanwhile, her sister, Mary, took advantage of the visit to sit close to her Lord and listen to his teaching. While Martha was certainly motivated by the best of intentions, Mary “chose the best portion.” (Luke 10:38-42, ftn.) In time, Mary may have forgotten what food was served on that occasion, but we can be sure that she never forgot what she learned from Jesus. Just as Mary cherished that limited time with Jesus, we cherish our time with Jehovah. How can we make the best use of that time?


7. Why do prayer, study, and meditation deserve our time and attention?

7 Recognize that prayer, study, and meditation are part of our worship. When we pray, we are communicating with our heavenly Father, who loves us dearly. (Ps. 5:7) When we study the Bible, we are taking in “the knowledge of God,” who is the Source of all wisdom. (Prov. 2:1-5) When we meditate, we are considering Jehovah’s appealing personality as well as his awe-inspiring purpose for all creation and how we fit into that purpose. Can you think of a better way to use your time? But how can we get the most from the limited time at our disposal?

Can you find a quiet setting to do your personal study? (See paragraphs 8-9)

8. What lesson can we learn from how Jesus used his time in the wilderness?

8 If possible, choose a quiet setting. Consider the example of Jesus. Before he undertook his earthly ministry, Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness. (Luke 4:1, 2) In that quiet setting, Jesus could pray to Jehovah and meditate on his Father’s will for him. Doing so no doubt prepared Jesus for the tests that would soon come his way. How can you benefit from Jesus’ example? If you are a member of a large family, it may not always be possible for you to find a quiet place at home. In that case, you might look for an appropriate setting outdoors. That is what Julie does when she wants to spend time with Jehovah in prayer. She and her husband live in a small apartment in France, and it is difficult to be alone and uninterrupted. “So I go for a walk in the park every day,” Julie explains. “There I can be alone, concentrate, and really talk to Jehovah.”

9. In spite of his busy schedule, how did Jesus show that he valued his relationship with Jehovah?

9 Jesus lived a very busy life. During his earthly ministry, he was followed from place to place by crowds of people, all of whom were making demands on his time. On one occasion, “the whole city was gathered right at the door” to see him. Even so, Jesus arranged time to care for his own relationship with Jehovah. Before sunrise, he found “an isolated place” where he could spend time alone with his Father.​—Mark 1:32-35.

10-11. According to Matthew 26:40, 41, what timely counsel did Jesus give his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, but what happened?

10 On the final night of his life on earth, as his ministry came to an end, Jesus again sought out a quiet setting where he could meditate and pray. He found that setting in the garden of Gethsemane. (Matt. 26:36) On that occasion, Jesus gave his disciples some timely counsel about prayer.

11 Consider what happened. When they arrived at the garden of Gethsemane, it was very late, perhaps past midnight. Jesus asked the apostles to “keep on the watch,” and he went off to pray. (Matt. 26:37-39) But while he was praying, they fell asleep. When he found them sleeping, Jesus again urged them to “keep on the watch and pray continually.” (Read Matthew 26:40, 41.) He realized that they had been under much stress and that they were tired. Jesus compassionately acknowledged that “the flesh is weak.” Still, two more times Jesus went off to pray, and when he returned he found his disciples sleeping rather than praying.​—Matt. 26:42-45.

Can you set aside time to pray when you are most alert? (See paragraph 12)

12. What can we do if at times we feel too stressed or too tired to pray?

12 Choose the right time. We may at times feel too stressed or too tired to pray. If that has happened to you, you are not alone. What can you do? Some who were accustomed to approaching Jehovah in prayer at the end of the day have found it helpful to spend time in prayer a little earlier in the evening when they are less tired. Others have found that the position they assume when praying can have a beneficial effect. What, though, if you feel too anxious or too discouraged to pray? Tell Jehovah how you feel. You can be sure that our merciful Father will understand.​—Ps. 139:4.

Can you avoid responding to text messages and emails during meetings? (See paragraphs 13-14)

13. How might electronic devices interfere with our time with Jehovah?

13 Resist distractions when you study. Prayer is not the only avenue we can use to strengthen our bond with Jehovah. A study of God’s Word and attendance at congregation meetings can also help us to draw closer to God. Is there anything you can do to make the best use of study periods and the time you spend at congregation meetings? Ask yourself, ‘What tends to interfere with my concentration during the meetings or when I am trying to study?’ Could it be receiving calls, emails, or text messages on your smartphone or on some other electronic device? Today billions of people own these useful tools. Some researchers suggest that when we are trying to concentrate, just having a smartphone nearby can distract us. “Your focus is not on the task at hand,” says a professor of psychology. “Your mind is elsewhere.” Before assemblies and conventions, we are often told to adjust our electronic devices to a setting that will not disturb others. Could we do the same when we are alone so that our devices do not disturb us and interrupt our time with Jehovah?

14. According to Philippians 4:6, 7, how will Jehovah help us focus?

14 Ask Jehovah to help you focus. When you notice that your mind is wandering during a study period or a congregation meeting, ask Jehovah to help you. If you are worried or anxious, it may not be easy to set your concerns aside and focus on spiritual things, but it is essential that you do so. Pray for the peace that will guard not only your heart but also your “mental powers.”​—Read Philippians 4:6, 7.


15. What is one benefit of spending time with Jehovah?

15 If you take time to talk to, listen to, and think about Jehovah, you will benefit greatly. How so? First, you will make better decisions. The Bible assures us that “the one walking with the wise will become wise.” (Prov. 13:20) So as you spend time with the Source of wisdom, Jehovah, you will become wiser. You will better understand how to please him and how to avoid making choices that hurt him.

16. How does spending time with Jehovah improve our teaching?

16 Second, you will become a better teacher. When we are studying the Bible with someone, one of our most important goals is to help our student draw close to Jehovah. The more we communicate with our heavenly Father, the more our own love for him will grow and the better equipped we will be to teach our student to love him. This was true of Jesus. He described his Father in such warm, loving terms that his faithful followers could not help but love Jehovah as well.​—John 17:25, 26.

17. Why do prayer and study help us to strengthen our faith?

17 Third, your faith will grow stronger. Consider what happens when you ask God for guidance, comfort, or support. Each time Jehovah answers those prayers, your faith in him grows. (1 John 5:15) What else can help strengthen your faith? Personal study. After all, “faith follows the thing heard.” (Rom. 10:17) However, to build strong faith, more is required than merely taking in knowledge. What else do we need to do?

18. Illustrate why we need to meditate.

18 We need to meditate on what we are learning. Consider the experience of the writer of Psalm 77. He was distressed because he felt that he and his fellow Israelites had lost Jehovah’s approval. Those anxious thoughts kept him up at night. (Verses 2-8) What did he do? He told Jehovah: “I will meditate on all your activity and ponder over your dealings.” (Verse 12) Of course, the psalmist was well-aware of the things Jehovah had done for His people in the past, but the anxious man wondered: “Has God forgotten to show his favor, or has his anger caused his mercy to cease?” (Verse 9) The psalmist meditated on Jehovah’s activity and on the fact that God had shown mercy and compassion in the past. (Verse 11) The result? The psalmist became convinced that Jehovah would not abandon His people. (Verse 15) In the same way, your faith will grow stronger as you meditate on what Jehovah has already done for his people and on what he has done for you personally.

19. How else will we benefit from spending time with Jehovah?

19 Fourth, and most important, your love for Jehovah will deepen. Love, more than any other quality, will motivate you to obey Jehovah, to make sacrifices in order to please him, and to endure any trial. (Matt. 22:37-39; 1 Cor. 13:4, 7; 1 John 5:3) Nothing could be more precious than a close, loving friendship with Jehovah!​—Ps. 63:1-8.

20. How do you plan to safeguard your time with Jehovah?

20 Remember that prayer, study, and meditation are acts of worship. Like Jesus, seek out quiet settings in which to spend time with Jehovah. Eliminate unnecessary distractions. Ask Jehovah to help you focus when you are engaged in spiritual activities. If you make the best use of your time now, Jehovah will reward you with life forever in God’s new world.​—Mark 4:24.

SONG 28 Gaining Jehovah’s Friendship

^ par. 5 Jehovah is our best Friend. We treasure our friendship with him, and we want to get to know him better. It takes time to get to know someone. This is also true when we want to continue developing a relationship with Jehovah. In view of the hectic lives we lead, how can we make the time to draw close to our heavenly Father, and how will we benefit by doing so?