Give Careful Thought to Your Ways

Dan Puckett
Tue, Jan 5, 2010

The admonition of the prophet Haggai to the people of Israel in 526 B.C. is always good advice: “Give careful thought to your ways” (Haggai 1:7). But today it might be crucial.


The beginning of a new year is the traditional time to reflect on the past and to plan for the future. This reflection may result in some New Year’s resolutions; but, if not firm commitments, maybe some alterations in lifestyle, habits, etc.


The issue in Haggai’s time was carrying out God’s mission. The people had returned to Israel after being in exile in Babylon. God had given them the task of building a temple for worship (v. 8). The people had neglected God’s mission for them and had instead worked to build houses for themselves.


The result of the people neglecting God was that every effort they put forth resulted in futility. The prophet said, “You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it” (v. 6).


Sound familiar? This is a time in our day when most people cannot seem to get it all together.  The prophet goes on to say, “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little” (v. 9). All the futility these people were living with was because of the lack of God’s blessing (vv. 9-11).


It is possible to have a measure of success without aligning oneself with God, but the problem is that whatever success we have will be temporary. If we were to give careful thought to our ways, we would need to see how our lives correlate with God’s principles.


The Bible is the Word of God and gives us answers for life. The answers may not always be case specific, because the Bible sometimes speaks in principles which never change and are applicable in many situations.


God must always have first place in our lives. We must own Him as our Creator. We must also recognize that He is the owner of everything. Getting those two things in place sets the pace for everything else.


After we get aligned with God as Creator and owner, we must value people the same way God does. Relationships are more important than riches. If we gain wealth as a result of crushing people, that wealth will certainly be short lived.


God has a specific purpose for our lives. The purpose may not have a specific geographical location or a specific task, but we know that the main thing God is working on in us is to make us like His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).


Giving careful thought to our ways simply means laying God’s grid over our lives, seeing where things do not line up, and making the necessary corrections. The one thing we should desire more than anything else is to be in the place where God can bless us.