Are You Fulfilling God’s Purpose?
What occupies your mind when responsibilities don’t demand your attention? Take time to consider it. Your idle thoughts could tell you a lot.
Fears dominate many people’s thoughts. The news offers fuel for fearful thoughts, such as the disunity in the country. Some are concerned about their safety because ISIS might attack or war could break out. Those recently ravaged by violent weather, fire, or earthquake are likely questioning their future and how they’ll rebuild.
On a more personal level, we could be concerned about family, health, or finances. Or maybe our minds are filled with dreams of a special someone, about how to acquire the next thing on our wish list, or about a fantasy vacation.
The nature of our thoughts is a mirror into our hearts. Are we trusting, or fearful? Accepting, or judgmental? Joyful, contented, or angry? Hopeful, discouraged, or despondent? Loving, or guarded—or hateful? Other-focused, or self-centered and self-serving? I could add more, but you get the idea.
What do your thoughts say about who you are? What do they reveal about your priorities in life? Your level of trust in God?
I was led down this path by Haggai’s words, “Consider your ways” (Hag. 1:5, 7). Haggai was writing to the children of God who had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. It had been destroyed when they were taken into captivity. Those who returned to rebuild were probably people with high dreams, a strong sense of purpose, and a commitment to re-establish God’s place in the center of Jewish life.
However, they became distracted from their goal by the overwhelming task, opposition,and the affairs of daily life. Sixteen years after returning, their dream of a restored temple had faded. Their personal affairs had become priority in their lives. Haggai’s words indicate that their own desires had become of greater importance than serving God.
Consequently, God was no longer blessing their efforts. He said, “’You looked for much, but indeed it came to little, and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to your own house. Therefore the heavens above you withhold the fruit and the earth withholds its fruit. For I called for a drought . . .’” (Hag. 1:9-11a).
The Lord was opposing His errant children. Hs word to them was, “Consider your ways.”
It only took sixteen years for a select committed group to forget their calling and to be all about themselves. I doubt that any of them made a conscious decision to put aside the task God gave them. In a fallen world, it just happens.
We live in a fallen world too. Consequently, we need to stop and make time to intentionally consider our ways. Are we doing what the Lord sent us to do?
After further examples of how the Lord was withholding blessings, God told His children to be strong and work, “for I am with you. According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!” (Hag. 2:4b-5).
The Lord is faithful. He desires to bless us. It is we who stray from our calling and purpose. When we do, the Lord withholds His blessings.
If you feel like hard work is for naught, like your yield is being blown away (personally or corporately), stop and consider your ways.
When asked a convicting question, it’s easy to quickly give the “right” or expected answer, thus deceiving ourselves. We can double check our answer by observing what we think about when our attention isn’t demanded elsewhere.
Another way is to consider where we spend our free time–and our free money. What is important enough to us that we make time for it? How available are we to serve those in need who are outside our family?
In short, are we doing what God has called us to do?
When we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33), He will meet our needs. He will be our protection, provision, comfort, love, security, belonging, fulfillment, reward, . . ..”
That doesn’t mean life will always be easy. As the Israelites walked through the desert and got hungry and thirsty, God said it was a test. He tested them to help their faith grow as they saw their God provide. Sadly, it seems they never learned.
The early church was persecuted. Paul was beaten, imprisoned, and shipwrecked, but through it all, the Lord was glorified because Paul’s faith never wavered. He knew he was in the Lord’s hands and he rejoiced and gave testimony to God’s goodness throughout the hardships.
Whatever situation we’re in, we need to consider our ways and seek the Lord so we can cooperate with His purposes. Only then will we have grace for the moment. Only then will He be glorified through us.