Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.
In Haggai 1, the Lord points out how the people of Jerusalem who had returned to the city to rebuild the Temple became reluctant to do so, possibly fearing political retribution. Yet, despite that fear, the people continued to build their own houses. That prompted the Lord to respond with, “Consider your ways.”
When the Lord told the people of Jerusalem to “consider their ways,” He was telling them to check their Spiritual status, their motivations, and their choices. On that note, it’s a good idea that we all “consider our ways.”
First, let’s consider our Spiritual status. Growing up in the American South, Christianity was the assumed religion among our friends and neighbors. Nearly everyone went to church somewhere on Sunday morning. People lived a basic moral lifestyle, identified as Christian, and gasped at anything that appeared “unChristian.”
One of the most dangerous things a person can do is assume the status of being a Christian without actually having the faith that makes you a Christian. Some call this, “professing the faith without possessing the faith.”
What makes this dangerous is that a person can delude himself into thinking that he is a Christian and is going to Heaven, only to be told on Judgment Day, “Depart, for I never knew you.” Thus, the Lord warned in Matthew 7:21-23:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
In that passage, you had people who thought they were going to enter into the Lord’s Kingdom, only to be reckoned with the fact that they lacked the one key thing required for salvation, Faith.
They pleaded with the Lord, noting the many wonderful things they did. Notice how the Lord did not argue against that. They had the works, but they lacked that personal relationship with Christ that comes by faith. So, the Lord rejected them.
Therefore, it is imperative that we all take stock of our Spiritual lives to see whether or not we are truly Christians, whether we truly know the Lord as our Savior. After all, it would be tragic to spend a lifetime in church every Sunday, hosting youth camp-out events, donating to missions, and participating in the annual prayer breakfast, and wind up facing the judgment of God.
Therefore, 2 Peter 1:10 says, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”
Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? Was there a moment when you made the conscious decision to turn from your sin and trust the Lord as your Savior? If that moment never happened, then your salvation is in question. Make that decision today. Reject the sin in your life, and trust Christ to save you based on His work on the cross.
Secondly, we are called to consider our motivations. Why do we do the things that we do? What drives us? What do we hope to gain?
There are many people who are motivated to make their world a better place, whether that is to be accomplished by volunteering in the community, mentoring youth, or donating to charity.
There are many people who are motivated to accumulate wealth. They seek success in their careers or businesses.
Others seek accomplishment. The money, and the impact on society is irrelevant. They just want to become a household name.
And others are motivated by the pursuit of pleasure. Such is the case of a man I saw on TV living in Appalachia, who could care less about his bank account or the state of the country, as long as there were beers in the fridge and the satellite TV service was working.
What is your motivation? While we all tend to gravitate toward one of these, scripture teaches us that we are to be motivated to glorify God.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
As noted by Bro. Jim Finch, who taught Sunday School at Life Point this past week, we glorify God by reflecting His glory, which is accomplished when we do the things God would do, when we do what He tells us to do, and when we love people the way He would love them.
Finally, we are told to consider our choices. Hopefully, after the previous considerations, you have found that you have faith. If not, hopefully you found faith. Then, hopefully you’ve evaluated your motivations and realigned yourself accordingly. Now, we are to look at our choices.
Do our choices reflect the faith we profess? And do they fall in line with our motivation? If not, we need to re-evaluate our choices and make better ones.
It’s always a good time to “consider your ways.” Hopefully in doing so, we can learn, and grow as we continue to live this Christian life.