Building God’s Temple First
The modern pace of living can be overwhelming. Work, school, and just life come at you so fast. You can get swept away in a sea of busywork if you are not careful and never have any time for the Lord. God is never pleased with an overly scheduled Christian… even if it seems like you are getting much done. His best work always first starts with an intimate loving relationship with you. It is powered by filling us with His love and glory through time with Him. An impactful Christian life never starts with neglecting God!
You cannot possibly give out to others what you don’t have from God. You must be in His presence to share it with others. For more on this read Sharing in the Fragrance of Christ
This takes time with God being built up by Him. You must allow Jesus to change you if you want to change others for Him.
Is Your Temple in Ruins?
The Book of Haggai is extremely instructive on this point. The Israelites in Haggai just returned from captivity in Babylon. The nation was reborn after being conquered and exiled from the Promised Land. They return from captivity with fire and determination. They learned their lesson while away and want to serve God.
Sin is really bad and has consequences.
They learned this after years of disobedience. They swear they will dedicate their whole lives from this point on to the Lord. It is a great moment of faithfulness from God’s people.
They return to Jerusalem to find God’s Temple in ruins. The centerpiece of Judaism was destroyed before the exile. It happened as a result of the sins of the prior generation. Israel’s faithlessness destroyed their access to God. This newly set free group in Haggai sets out to reopen it. They are literally putting their spiritual lives together brick upon brick. The physical reality matches their hearts. They returned to God in Babylon and were saved from the judgment of the world. “They will honor God from this point forward!”, they declare.
Building starts with great promise. Each family is assigned a section of wall to reconstruct and they do so joyfully. It is an Old Testament picture of how the church should work together as a body. Each is working independently to follow God and have their own section of the wall to build. Yet, if the wall is to succeed, they must work with each other and with an awareness of the other family’s sections.
Each is working by themselves to build their work for God like individual Christians. They also must be aware of what the others are doing and join their section with their neighbors like Christians with the church.
The Care of the World Steal from Us
A terrible thing happens as time passes and the thrill of the return wears off. The concerns of everyday life win out over the people’s intentions to serve God.
They get too busy with daily work.
They are too distracted raising their families.
All of their resources are focused on building their own houses to work on God’s temple.
They take care of themselves and their work while totally neglecting that of God.
The Temple of God lies in ruins while the people live in comfort. It is a terrible situation!
Yet, this is where you may find yourself today. When you are first saved you start off on fire for the Lord. You want to talk to Jesus every hour of the day. You attend every church service you can. You serve, evangelize and read the Bible voraciously. This is building up God’s Temple.
When you work on your relationship with God you are building His Temple. When you work on His church, you are building His Temple.
The trouble creeps in when you start to get like the people in Haggai. You get so busy you fade away and then wonder why. You can’t seem to get the energy to read the Bible or attend Bible study. You don’t think much about the Lord or church. You are too focused elsewhere. You sputter and stall and are mystified why. It is not hard to figure out if you look.
It is plain busyness. It is a distraction. It is losing your first love like the church of Revelation.
You allow yourself to be so busy with life, family, and work you don’t have any time for building God’s Temple. Your Temple project suffers when you neglect it. It is no wonder your life is in ruins. You are just too busy to work on it. You are working hard everywhere else. Your houses, crops, cars, and worldly cares are fully supported and amply supplied. Your Christian life is a wasteland..
Satan is very happy with the distracted Christian. Warm, fed, content and entertained but too busy for God is Satan’s goal for you.
Consider Your Ways
Where is your heart? Where is your mind?
Are they on the things of God and His plans?
Are they building up His Temple in you and the Church?
Or are you just too busy?
What are you putting first in your life? If it is anything other than your relationship with God, your priorities are wrong. You are laying the foundation for a problem in your individual Temple. You are not adding your strength to your church.
God’s call on your life is not meant to be a burden. It is a mercy and filled with grace. He calls out the Isrealites because they were falling into the same trap that leads to captivity. It is what destroyed their fathers and led them to Babylon.
God wants you focused because it is the very best thing for you. It is to open up a world of true blessing. The life consumed by things other than God is not what you are meant for. It is not good for you and does not fill you with the joy of the Lord.
Are we putting the first things first? If not, something has got to go.