How to Find Time to Love Your Neighbor

Guest Post by Julie Gill

Julie and I met in 2016 when she invited me to speak at her church on Long Island at a beautiful women’s outreach event. While many event coordinators are concerned with scones and tea, Julie only cared about one thing: discipleship. Fast forward five years, and Julie is still focused on helping women lead an intentional life of faith. 

Julie is a Time Management Coach who’s sharing three steps to help us find the time to love our neighbor.

Bonus: she also offers a free Time Management Style Quiz so you can discover how God created you to use time!

How to Find Time to Love Your Neighbor

Guest Post by Julie Gill

When we think of loving our neighbor, we may think in terms of who we can reach, what we might do to serve them, or how we can share the love of Christ with them. But without considering the when of loving our neighbor, our sincere intentions to do so may never have a place in our lives.

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17 NKJV

Paul defines redeeming the time in terms of understanding and doing the will of the Lord. And what is His will? Jesus summed it up when He told us that the great commandment is to “…love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets’” (Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV).

Loving God and loving others. These activities take time, and finding the time is very often the roadblock that stops us in our tracks. We genuinely want to love our neighbors, but the days can pass so quickly before we even realize we haven’t followed through with these commandments. So, how do we take those good intentions out of our heads and put real hands and feet to them?

We are told in Ephesians 5 to be wise and walk circumspectly, or carefully. The reason Paul gives here is “because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). We live in a fallen world where the enemy doesn’t want us to redeem, or buy back, the time and use it for God’s glory. If we are not careful and intentional in buying back the time from the evil one, we will find ourselves foolishly walking in the default mode of this evil world.

To use our time well, we must be wise to manage it well—not by prioritizing our schedules, but rather scheduling our priorities. This means we start with our priorities and plan everything else around them. And since the Lord sovereignly gave us a finite number of hours in each day, we are limited as to how many activities will fit around our priorities before they begin to squeeze them out. So, we have decisions to make.

This is where it gets difficult for us who live in such an activity-driven, busy culture. It’s not that the activities saturating our time are not good. It simply means we only have so much room in our time-space. It’s a matter of discerning the best out of all the good.

1. NAME IT

Scheduling priorities means we need to first identify them. A good place to start is to write down a list of our top ten priorities. Jesus already gave us #1 and #2! By limiting our other priorities to a finite number, it forces us to see the nature of time, that it is indeed limited.

2. FRAME IT

The next step is to build a framework around our time by creating an ideal week that blocks out chunks of time to certain priorities. This will give us a good starting point in scheduling each day.

3. FILL IT

From this framework, we can fill in the details of each day around the priorities that are already fixed. Since the remaining time is limited, here is where we prayerfully choose the best of our good choices.

How do we choose? This may look different for each of us. God has already prepared the unique good works He wants each of His children to carry out (Ephesians 2:10), and He has placed us in just the right the time and place to do them (Acts 17:26). He has also provided the gifts and opportunities we need to fulfill those good works. There are endless ways to love your neighbor. The important thing is to be aware of the opportunities God presents and treat them as the priorities they are. Creating a framework around your time and planning each day around your priorities is the key to finding the time to love your neighbor.

Making the time to love our neighbor is not so much in finding it, but in redeeming the time God has already given us. He has commanded us to love Him and others before everything else and He has surely given us the time to do that. Let’s use our time wisely.

Julie Gill is a Time Management Coach and the creator of the Priority Living God-centered time management system. For those ready to go deeper, she has created a 12-week time management course called Redeeming the Time.

She has always loved finding ways to live an intentional life of faith through planning and organizing. She was a stay-at-home mom for 23 years while creating many systems to keep her home running smoothly and her family time purposeful. She eventually compiled all her systems together into a book called From Disorder to Peace and shared these systems with other women through workshops, retreats, and one-on-one consultations. ​She is passionate about God’s Word and has been leading women’s Bible studies for over 20 years. Her goal is to put hands and feet to the truths in Scripture by providing practical ways to live them out. After her kids left home, she established Priority Living to reach more women with the tools and support they need to organize their lives and redeem their time for God’s glory. ​

"I want to love God and love my neighbor,
but I don't know how."

 

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