“Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways.'” Haggai 1:5
The other morning before reading my Bible, I asked God for a fresh word from heaven. I strongly desired a fresh revelation that would help me as I continue this journey amidst its ups and downs. The above verse was what spoke to me, and I continue to think about. (I thought it may help you, too!)
My devotions that morning were the book of Haggai (which is only two chapters). Four times in this short book, the Lord says “Give careful thought” (1:5, 1:7, and 2:18). It jumped out at me immediately. In Haggai, the Lord’s people had returned from Babylonian exile and were supposed to rebuild God’s house, but their daily life was such a struggle that they neglected to care about God’s greater plan.
I immediately saw the parallel to my own life. I’m supposed to be working on God’s house (or my body) but daily life pulls in so many directions that I often take my eyes off the prize. And what is it exactly that I’m hoping to accomplish?
I had to really think about that. What is my final end goal? My ultimate desire is to glorify God with my body. So, if I’m giving “careful thought” to my actions to accomplish this goal, I can see whether eating too much (or even too little!), exercising too much (or too little), etc is really honoring God with my choices. But, when I give no thought at all, the pendulum can easily swing in one direction (packing back on the pounds) or the other (spending too much time at the gym and not enough time and energy on my family).
Here’s an example from this week. We were meeting friends at the park and I was packing our lunches. Even though I had eaten breakfast, I popped a couple grapes in my mouth as I was filling a sandwich bag with them. Then I ate a couple baby carrots. As I spread the peanut butter on the boys’ sandwiches, I ate a little. All the sudden I stopped and realized that I was mindlessly eating calories that I wasn’t really counting as part of my daily intake. Were any of those options bad? Not necessarily. But, I’ve done the same thing with cookies, snacks, etc. If I’m eating without thinking, the calories can quickly add up!!! And they aren’t even a meal or anything I’ve planned on putting in my body or even really satisfying.
I’m currently reading a book called “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” by Joanna Weaver (2000), which I would highly recommend (if you haven’t read it, put it on your ‘must-read-soon list.’) Do you remember the story of Mary & Martha? I’ve read it hundreds of times, probably, but this is the first time that I really focused on the word “distracted.” Luke 10:40 says “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” If you remember the story, Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening and Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen what was better.
Joanna Weaver (2000) notes that the devil often begins his work in our lives by something simple like distraction. “He knows that if we’re overly worried and bogged down by duties, chances are good our hearts will not hear the Savior’s call to come. While distraction may not win the battle for our soul, getting our eyes off of what is important will certainly make us more vulnerable to attack” (Weaver, 2000, p. 18).
That’s why God’s call to “give careful thought to your ways” is so important! I thought about how distraction can keep me from being healthy, keep me from spending quality time with my family, keep me from honoring God with my time and talents. Seemingly ‘little’ distractions can keep us from leading an abundant life if we’re not careful to “give careful thought” instead.
What are your dreams? What are your goals? What is your hope some day when you look back at your life? What are you doing to achieve those goals? What are distractions that take up your time and aren’t important overall? What are some ways you can be more intentional to achieve those goals?
I had to sit back and think about what I truly wanted. Do I want to be skinny at the cost of family time? Or, do I want to honor God with my choices? Do I want to eat mindlessly and weigh more at the end of the week simply because I can’t control my eating? Or do I want to honor God with my choices? Do I want to raise my boys by letting them play video games while I’m on the computer or do I want to give them quality time and instruction? The list goes on. Your list may look different than mine. But, whatever you do, don’t let Satan distract you from the good plans God has for your life! Instead, give careful thought to your ways! See what a difference it can make!
Dear Father God, we humbly come before You and thank You for Your Word. We thank You for Your goodness to us even though we don’t deserve it. We confess that we have been distracted by daily life and busyness that isn’t purposeful. May we not waste the time You have blessed us with on earth. Please help us give careful thought to our ways. May we think about what we eat. May we think about how we spend our time. May we focus on our goal to honor You with our choices and not become zealous about things that don’t truly matter at the end of time. Will You tell us what You want for our lives? What matters most to you, God? May we know You more? Please forgive our sin and help us step by step, day by day. May we build Your house and serve You with a worshipful heart rather than a distracted one. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!