"Consider your ways…"
January 1, 2019 | View PDF
Another New Year lies ahead, and while each day is always new with possibilities for individual growth and change, there’s something about our culture that hones in on New Year resolutions with the hope of a clean slate for the coming year.
An early December Bible study message regarding the book of Haggai was
especially timely for me as I reflected on 2018 and the year to come, and the key Scripture remained with me throughout the Christmas season. As our political system and culture continues to divide rather than unite, perhaps it’s something of significance for us all to consider for the New Year.
While listening to the lesson that day, I couldn’t help but think of state of our nation. The message from the prophet Haggai to the remnant of Israel after Babylonian captivity was in reference to the rebuilding of the temple, but there is a lesson for us still today.
“Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying,
‘Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while
this house lies desolate?’ Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts.., ‘Consider your ways!’”
A cursory glance of daily headlines certainly brings this admonition from the LORD to the forefront. Whether it be the never-ending political battles in our nation’s capital, the disregard for human life by senseless street killings, or the cultural acceptance of the death of millions of unborn babies with the label of “choice,” we are in dire need of far more than simply New Year resolutions, and I’m of the opinion that a determination to consider our ways is long overdue.
Years ago, I remember Dr. James Dobson warning his radio listeners about the agenda being pushed by the left to legalize same-sex unions because the strategy would not stop there, but would instead be a slippery slope to redefining our culture. As a result of his warnings, he was mocked and demonized by secularists as being a homophobe and a bigot. Fast forward to the present and not a day goes by when I don’t read something related to the promotion of transgenderism as well as the efforts to insert it into our education system and our youth. So how was Dr. Dobson wrong in sounding his alarm? And have we simply settled so comfortably into our own lives, our own “paneled houses,” that we fail to recognize how our behavior doesn’t honor our God?
But it’s not only our social ways that need to be considered as our fiscal ways continue to spiral out of control. Regardless of the political party in control, neither is serious about getting our fiscal house in order, and billions continue to be spent without regard for the reckoning that will come. When we have government so incredibly bloated that a state government contemplates taxing text messages, why don’t we consider our spending ways instead of trying to create additional sources of revenue that stifles our individual economic freedom? Yet with all that spending and debt, we have failed to secure our borders from those with intent to bring harm to our nation by either acts of terror or by overloading our social services and leading to further increases of taxation.
The remnant of Israel had become disheartened and disillusioned, so their focus on rebuilding the temple was no longer of importance. I fear that we too have become so numb and complacent with the decline of our society that we are willing to accept the status quo instead of standing firm on God’s truth, or, we have completely surrendered to political correctness and fear the wrath of human opinion more than pleasing the One we call our LORD. Sadly, as I’ve written before, even our churches are more prone to satisfying the current culture with messages of grace without the counterbalance of truth, and that’s not the full Gospel of Christ. Grace is absolutely important and I do not write these words harshly condemning others for sin; instead, I readily acknowledge my own sins, am humbled to have been saved by His grace through faith, and attempt to daily consider my ways while being transformed with His truth.
“Consider your ways!” Rather than a list of typical resolutions, I’m thinking that mindset will be all I need to carry me into the New Year and beyond.