Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
— Colossians 4:5
When a Christian has done something so unethical or revolting that it discredits the testimony of Jesus Christ in front of unbelievers who are watching, that Christian has a responsibility to do what is necessary to “redeem the time” and consequently regain his testimony. It is absolutely vital that he make things right with those individuals. It may be necessary for that Christian to swallow his pride, admit he did something wrong, and apologize so that he can restore his testimony.
If you are the one who has done something wrong and have thereby marred your testimony, it’s not too late for you to turn your testimony around! Thank God, the apostle Paul told us that we can “walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5).
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The word “redeem” is from the Greek word exagoridzo, and it is the old Greek word used to depict someone purchasing a slave out of the slave market. The word exagoridzo is a compound of the words ex and agoridzo. The word ex is a preposition that means out, and agoridzo is the Greek word most notably used to describe the slave market — a disgusting place where human beings were bought, sold, and traded like animals. This market was officially called the agora, and from this, we get this Greek word agoridzo.
When these words ex and agoridzo are compounded to form the word exagoridzo, it pictures a buyer who has gone to the market to purchase a slave so he can set free and restore him to the freedom he formerly possessed. Therefore, the word exagoridzo — translated as the word “redemption” in the King James Version — actually pictures permanently removing a slave from slavery in order to return him to the status of freedom he enjoyed before he was enslaved.
But in Colossians 4:5, the word exagoridzo isn’t used in its normal sense to describe redemption from sin. Instead, the apostle Paul used it in the phrase “redeeming the time.” This means time that is lost can be redeemed! If you are willing to do whatever is needed to make it happen, God will enable you to regain and recoup time that was previously squandered. He can give you another opportunity that is so wonderful that it makes up for what you previously lost!
In fact, when Paul wrote of “redeeming the time,” the word “time” is the Greek word kairos, which would be better translated as the word opportunity. This means God will help you recoup, recover, regain, and retrieve lost time and opportunities!
One way that this phrase could be paraphrased is to buy back time. Considering that the word “redemption” (exagoridzo) is used here, an expanded interpretation of this phrase “redeeming the time” could read: “Do everything you can to make up for lost territory! Buy up all the time you can and make the most of every opportunity.”
- Can you think of opportunities you have lost along the way in life?
- Have you ever squandered an opportunity that God tried to set before you?
- Did God try to increase you, but as a result of negligence on your part, the increase went to someone else?
- Can you think of a possibility that God designed to be yours, but it never happened because you were too lazy to put forth the effort to make it happen?
- Did you lose opportunities to enjoy your children when they were younger because you didn’t take advantage of the time you were given to be with them?
- Have you forfeited your testimony in front of non-Christians because you did something unethical or ugly in front of them?
The truth is, we’ve all lost opportunities along the way in life for various reasons. Some of it was due to our own stupidity or ignorance. Some of it was due to hardships or difficulties in life that prevented us from doing what we wanted to do. But regardless of the reason, Paul told us that if we’re willing to go the distance to do whatever is necessary to “redeem time,” we can turn things around and end up with a lot of brand-new, wonderful opportunities that make up for any lost or wasted time in your past. I can hear the Holy Spirit crying out to us, “Do everything you can to make up for lost territory! I’ll enable you to buy up all the time you can and make the most of every opportunity.”
This brings us back to the subject of your influence on non-Christians. If you have damaged your testimony for some reason in front of non-Christians, that is truly unfortunate. Losing influence as a result of a lack of integrity or bad behavior will hinder your ability to represent Christ to the people around you. However, with God’s grace, even this can be changed and turned around. If you are willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve it, He will help you redeem that lost time and damaged testimony.
For you to redeem the time and recover your testimony, God may require that you apologize to someone, admit you were wrong, or perhaps make a correction in some area of your life. If you are willing to swallow your pride and to do what is right, God will miraculously enable you to buy back a lot of missed opportunities and recover a testimony that had been lost.
Time is precious — and it is a fact that you cannot turn the clock back. Time, once you spend it, is gone. But if you are willing to repent and put forth the effort to correct your mistakes, God’s grace will go a long way in enabling you to buy back a lot of time, opportunity, territory, or testimony that you previously lost. The Holy Spirit can, and will, help you “redeem the time.”
The last part of Colossians 4:5 could read:
“Do everything you can to make up for lost territory! Make the most of every moment you have right now, and do everything you can to recover those precious moments and opportunities that you thought were lost forever.”
By choosing to repent, we are able to buy back our testimony and once again begin to make a right impression on the non-Christians we may have negatively influenced with our wrong actions in the past.
We must never forget that people are watching us! They see our walk; they hear our talk; and they notice what we say and what we do. We must live our lives wisely and prudently, especially for the sake of the non-Christians who are observing what we say and how we act. Time is a sacred and precious commodity that we must use carefully and not waste.
If you have damaged your witness, now is the time to let the Holy Spirit help you turn your testimony around so you can represent Jesus with honor before the unbelievers who are watching you!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, I ask You to help me make up for time and opportunities I lost or wasted along the way in my life. You have been so good to give me many possibilities for success, to witness, and to advance in life, but I have not taken advantage of everything You have tried to give me. Please forgive me for not being more serious or thoughtful in the past. I ask You for wisdom to know what I need to do to regain the things I’ve lost. Without You, I know that lost opportunities are gone forever; but with Your grace helping me, I can regain the things I lost and buy back the time I squandered. Thank You for helping me as I set my heart to do the things that will enable me to recoup what I lost earlier in my life.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that God can miraculously help me regain time and opportunities that I lost or squandered in the past. Because I am repentant and willing to do whatever I must to make it happen, God is helping me recapture moments, open doors, possibilities, and relationships that seemed forever lost. Time is spent and the clock cannot be turned back, but God’s grace is so powerful that it will give me a new opportunity to do what is right. This time, I’ll not fail, for I am determined to please Jesus Christ with my life!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you think of opportunities that God planned just for you, but for some reason, you forfeited those opportunities and they passed to someone else?
- It may be painful to remember, but can you think of a time when you should have been a beacon of light to a non-Christian, but because you did something that was wrong, you lost your witness with that person?
- To recapture those lost opportunities, what do you need to do? What correction do you need to make? What apology do you need to make to someone? What changes are required for you to recover your testimony and regain an opportunity to be an example of Jesus Christ to those who are watching you?