UCAN sharing: Dissipation
Scripture: 1 Peter 4:1-5
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer. 29:11
Dissipation: the act of spending wastefully or extravagantly; to squander or deplete.
During the Apollo moon program there was a need to use the fuel and electrical power most effectively or else the spacecraft might fail. Every engineer on that program was aware of price that would have to be paid if the spacecraft ran out of power out there in space. In our spiritual lives we too can waste all the power and love that God has given us if we allow ourselves to get caught up in worldly living to the extent that it becomes who we are. God wants us to be impactful to the world without losing our focus on who we are in Christ. Many Christians fail to see the importance of turning away from the influences of this world. The world has access to our time and energy and if allowed drains them from us. We end up joining in and absorbing the world’s values. Getting caught up in the flow of meaningless activities; some that appear harmless but still steal our time and energy. It is important that we all see that our time here in this life is limited and choose to maximize it by seeking God’s will.
The word of God shows us that God has a plan for all men to come to know and be with him. In the course of coming to know God we also must change and become part of Him. His values and character should be how we set our life goals. He knows if we are to be with Him forever we must change. This change has to happen here in this life. Once a person dies there are no more opportunities to grow or use God’s grace to turn from sinful worldly things you have in your heart. This means that every minute is precious and can be used to benefit us towards how we experience God and eternity. This is what is on God’s heart since He is always looking to give us not what is OK or good but what is the best. But God out of love allows us to choose what we focus on.
Dissipation is when we spend our lives doing things that don’t produce results with eternal value. Remember we have a limited amount of time and energy in which to prepare ourselves for eternity with God. When we waste our lives doing things that are empty and meaningless we are losing life. The things that most occupy people in their lives such as pleasures, work, social and many other areas of our lives can take over our lives. The empty worldly acts become the main ingredient in our lives. Our spiritual life becomes like candy filled with empty calories that don’t benefit. For example take exercise, the bible says that exercise is good to some degree but that the things of God are profitable in all things (1 Tim. 4:8). It is easy to get carried away with exercise. Once you start and see results you may find you really like it. Or you can make new friends that also enjoy exercise that lead you to participate in it more. If the focus of your time becomes exercise so that you are spending time doing it, planning it, talking about it, than it is easy to drift away from having God as your first priority. Then you will find that as you get more absorbed in the activity it is not difficult to ignore God and become relaxed about spending time with Him. Many find they have little time for God. They are too busy. Here lies the problem. It is not in the activity itself as long as the activity is not sinful but rather where our heart is. If we become so wrapped up in the activity even if it is a spiritual one but neglect our time with God it is dissipation and we are losing badly.
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Eph. 5:15-16.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t exercise or do other activities that we like. In fact, God calls us to be good stewards of our bodies as they are the temples of God. What it means is that we need to be very careful not to let any person or thing consume our hearts to the level that we forget God. Moses warned the Israelites to be careful not to forget God when they entered the Promised Land (Deu. 8:11-20). Why did Moses feel he had to warn the people? Because so many worldly things compete for our attention and devotion that it easy to drift away and that is exactly how it usually happens. We move away from God slowly allowing something else to be our first love.
Christians need to seek strong discernment as to what we invest our time in and how we do it. If our friends are not Christian then they may call us to do and go places we should not go. If we are involved in activities that don’t honor God then we should stop doing them. How many Christians go to see movies with sex, violence and the use of God’s name in vain and don’t feel it is a significant. We should ask “Does this activity honor God?” “How would I feel if Jesus were here?” Dissipation is not just about wasting time but it also involves using your life in a sinful way. David learn this lesson the hard way when we disobeyed God. This put him in the wrong place at the wrong time and he saw Bathsheba naked. He fell and never truly recovered. This happened in part due to dissipation, squandering our time.
Jesus said that we need to be connected to him if we want to bear fruit (Jn 15:5). The fruit that Jesus was taking about is character, godly character. The useless activities that so consume Christianity hinder our growth in Christ. It maybe exercise or movies or food; whatever we devote ourselves to that God is not in is empty and of no value. This includes good things we do.
A powerful lie that many Christians receive is that if we live for Christ daily our life is boring and we suffer loss. This lie is there to encourage us to taste of the world and get entangled in the sin that the people of the world live in. Remember we tend to drift in to worldly distractions. But we must always start by knowing who God is and that he never changes. God is a God of life, peace and joy. All He does is full of life. It isn’t just that he gives this, it is that he is it. God is life, love and joy is the natural result of being with him. If we start here we can then ask ourselves “What can compete against this?” Nothing is the answer if we are willing and obedient to listen and give ourselves to pursuing God. He will not force us to come to Him but He can’t accept us till we forsake it all. This is the choice we all must make. Turn off the phone, internet, and movies. Pass on doing things just to kill time. Instead we ask God what he wants to do and ask Him to do it with us. Take God with you wherever you go. The bible says do everything as if it was being done for God with a fullness of heart (Col. 3:23). When we do this God can be in what we do and this means intimacy. We will enjoy what we are doing so much more with Him. It also means he can direct us to bring a touch others even as we relax or enjoy some quiet time. The blessing of serving God is great and far out shadows worldly pleasures. But the choice is always ours.
As we make more time for God and less for distractions of the world we will find this truth to be at work: God is more passionate about what we are passionate about than we are. If we are love comics He will lead us to enjoy that with him and use it to His glory in ways we can’t even envision. Here we are doubly blessed and we find that life is full and vivid. All God does is like this because it is who he is. So we need to say no to our old friends who want to go out the disco or want to exercise on Sunday morning. We should want to lessen our time on the internet and Facebook so that we can be with God.
Think about this challenge: for one week examine how much time you give the world in things that have nothing to do with God. How much time do you spend doing mindless, empty things that you do to pass the time? How many things do you do that are not of God but you like them. If sin is involved you have to work extra hard to turn away from these things. Search your heart now while God is available so that when time is up you will be able to say you live your life to the fullest in Christ without wasting it.