By Frank Viola
A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I wasted my time being a high school student.
I skipped classes, did the least amount of work required to skirt by, quit baseball my junior year, earned a Ph.D. in passing notes during lectures, and was never able to muster the courage to befriend the girl that I had a two-year crush on.
(Incidentally, I was a pitcher for my high school baseball team. And like many other young dudes, my dream was to play in the Majors. So when I saw this guy on TV for the first time, my first reaction was to pinch myself.)
Anyways, when the day came when many of my classmates were being rewarded with full-ride scholarships, I was crestfallen.
I had wasted my time as a high school student.
Well, dear Christian, you can do the same with your walk with the Lord.
You can waste your time as a Christian.
Paul exhorts us to “redeem the time because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)
Make no mistake: It takes time to know the Lord. It takes time to learn to live before Him. It takes time to grow in His life. And you can easily waste that time.
In fact, there are specific things that you can do (or neglect) that will throttle your spiritual life.
10 Ways in Which You Can Waste Your Time Being a Christian:
1. Allow yourself to be bitter against someone who has hurt you.
Bitterness will destroy your spiritual life and take others down with you (Hebrews 12:15).
2. Use your time, your money, and your resources only for yourself and your needs.
In other words, live life for yourself (and your immediate family) rather than for others.
3. Spend little to no time with the Lord in solitude – just you and Him alone.
Fill your life with all sorts of other activities. Stay busy.
4. Neglect reading the Scriptures.
They reveal Christ and contain God’s life (John 5:39; 6:63; 2 Timothy 3:16). They are food for your spirit. To neglect them is to starve your spirit.
5. Defame others ormisrepresent them or their work (especially fellow believers).
Don’t go to them directly if you have a concern or problem and ask them for clarity. (And if you do go to them, don’t listen to what they have to say.) Be not deceived: To speak ill about or misrepresent another follower of Jesus is to speak ill about or misrepresent Jesus Himself. And He doesn’t take it kindly (Matthew 25:40; Acts 9:1-4; Titus 3:2).
6. Rarely (or never) read books with spiritual depth
…or listen to Christ-centered messages by other servants of God. Forget the contribution of the body of Christ, past and present. Throw out spiritual education. Live under the delusion that all you need is the Holy Spirit and your Bible. (If you want to tune-up in this area, I recommend all the books in the “Spiritual Growth” shelf on this list.)
7. Have no fellowship or relationship with other believers.
Live as a solo Christian. Use the excuse that you can’t find any other Christians who love Jesus like you do.
8. Let envy and jealousy take hold of your heart and drive your actions.
Envy and jealousy is often the root behind slander. Incidentally, countless Christians don’t know what slander looks like and fail to recognize it when it’s right in front of them. So be sure to read this article so you know how to recognize it. Engaging in or listening to slander proves toxic to your spiritual life.
9. Never learn from your mistakes nor take responsibility for them.
Blame others instead. And never apologize to the people you’ve wronged.
10. Waste every crisis that comes into your life.
A crisis is a difficult and unwelcome opportunity to discover Jesus Christ in a new way. Don’t look for the hand of God behind the crisis and submit to it. Forget James and Peter who both said, “Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand, and He will exalt you.” (1 Peter 5:7; James 4:10) Blame God instead.
The above is in no particular order. And many other points can be added to the list. But each of these is a sure-fire way to hamper your growth in Christ and waste your time being a follower of Jesus.
In addition, I’d give this list to all new Christians as elements to begin focusing their lives upon (only I’d reword them to make them positives).
See also, Why I Gave Up Living the Christian Life
If you had to pick 2 or 3 on this list as the most important, which ones would you select and why?