Haggai

Tuesday Devotional: Haggai 1

bibleRead Haggai 1

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”

Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

The time is now to follow the Lord.  The time is now to give to the Lord.  Take stock of what you have, what you own, what you possess.  What is yours?  What is God’s?

The truth of Jesus proclaims that everything you see belongs to God.  Everything you own is being loaned to you with one purpose: to honor, worship and glorify the living God in Jesus’ name.  Want to take a vacation?  Go ahead.  But honor God first.  Is your house in order before you buy your ticket?  Is your community in order before you buy your ticket?  Will your trip honor the spirit of Jesus that lives within you and will ultimately be on the trip alongside you?  Does your luxury glorify the selfless and sacrificial spirit of Jesus in your life, or will it stray from the path of Jesus in order to glorify yourself and celebrate your own status?

God gives us good things, but He gives us good things after we have given Him ALL things.  Giving to God cannot be separated from following Jesus.  To follow Jesus means to give God everything you have and everything you are.  The house of the Lord is not a house we can visit.  WE are the House of the Lord.  To leave the House of the Lord in ruins while we build palaces for ourselves has so much more to do with the spirit of Jesus within us in contrast to the spirit of Sin.

Are you feeding your sin or are you feeding the spirit of Jesus in your life?  The palace you build in your own name will fall and will leave you worse off than before you built it.  We were created to live in luxury, but in a luxury that is righteous and holy.  When we build we shall build for the Lord.  Where we live we shall live there for the Lord.  What we own we shall own under the rightful ownership of the Lord.  A palace that neglects and ignores the dwelling place of the Lord is a palace that, although beautiful from the outside, will be a haven for darkness and will collapse when the rains fall and the wind roars.  We cannot own anything before the Lord has rightfully written His name upon every last possession of ours.

This is not unfair, this is not unjust, this is not mean.  This is truth, and the truth, although challenging and illogical to the sin in our hearts, will always and forever set us free.  Minimalist living has proven to be a source of freedom to many people, but the Gospel is far more than that.  The Gospel says that to live without is not only about clarity in mind and spirit, it is about submission to a King who lavishes us with all we have ever wanted and who desires to do so for eternity.

Tuesday Devotional: Haggai 1

Read Haggai 1:1-15bible

The driving force behind most of our lives is the desire to find satisfaction.  Most of us will spend our entire lives seeking it out.  There are thousands of different ways we all try to grasp this elusive satisfaction, but regardless of what “it” is we chase, the fact remains that we all do a lot of chasing.  While we dedicate our lives toward striving to possess this satisfaction, the reality is that we repeatedly find ourselves closing ground on satisfaction, only to realize that we have not gained any real ground at all.  Regardless of the effort we put forth in trying to satisfy ourselves, we all are confronted by a harsh reality that we are never truly satisfied with whatever it was we chased for so long.  No matter how hard we try, we all want to have and be more than we are.  We all bear an expectation of satisfaction that nothing in this world can truly satisfy. Whereas our expectations of satisfaction are working off of a system of perfection and purity, the things with which we seek to satisfy this deep expectation are superficial at best, and do not possess the ability to satisfy us the way we expect to.

God’s desire that we put him first is not so that we can follow in melancholy servitude.  God desires our satisfaction.  If God is truly God, he knows far more than we do, and this must also apply to our needs.  While we convince ourselves that we have a firm grasp on what will satisfy us, the truth is that we don’t.  Just as a child would argue with a parent that candy is a far better choice for dinner than vegetables and fruit, the child is speaking as a child, with underdeveloped wisdom. To another child this reasoning works, but to an adult is ridiculous.  In choosing candy over nutritious food, the child is seeking to satisfy a superficial need for taste and pleasure.  While this candy is satisfying on the superficial level, it offers nothing for the child’s body and health and will make life much harder on the child if the years of candy-consumption proceed.  Similarly, God does not desire that we not be satisfied with our meals, but that he be fully content.  He desires that we eat what will truly be good for us and will provide for a healthier, more fulfilling life over time.  God is a “God with us,” and not a “God against us.”  His desire that we put him first does not mean him standing front of us, frustrating our progress.  Rather, he commands it so that he can lead us into a more satisfying life, and that he share in that satisfaction with us every step of the way.