Not a Moment, But a Way of Life

The Bible’s idea of carpe diem, “seize the day,” or “redeeming the time” is sharply different from the direction to which most people take the ideal—toward the selfish, the short term, and the purely spontaneous. There is no surer foundation, no stronger propulsion, and no more soaring vision of carpe diem than within the biblical or covenantal view of time. Yet just as freedom is not “the permission to do what you like” but “the power to do what you should,” so “seizing the day” is far more than the matter of bare choice—Krznaric’s “that you choose rather than what you choose.” Why you choose, how you choose, and what you choose are all vital and decisive factors in the Bible’s understanding.


As we have seen already, repentance and forgiveness are the key to “redeeming the time” in terms of the past, and notions such as sabbath and sabbaticals are a key to redeeming the time in terms of the present. But what of redeeming the time in terms of the future, as “Carpe Diem” is usually understood? Seizing the day or redeeming future time is rising to life within a powerful matrix of truths that sets out an entire way of life in which the ideal of carpe diem can come to its highest fruition. God calls us in the flux and flow of time and history, and the gift of being able to seize the day flowers from a way of life that weaves together three principles: “Walk before God,” “Read the signs of the times,” and “Serve God’s purpose in your generation.”


Taken from Carpe Diem Redeemed by Os Guinness. Copyright (c) 2019 by Os Guinness. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.