“The Lord longs to see his house built up and radiant with the light of his love.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 23, 2022
You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Haggai 1:9, ESV
If I’m honest, a remarkably large amount of my time is consumed by the cares and concerns of my own life. Of course, at one level this is natural and unavoidable. The older you get, the more your responsibilities grow, and the need to care for children or aging parents is ever-present, not to mention your own physical needs and daily demands. And yet, how often and easily does this focus extend beyond what is necessary into a wildly imbalanced and self-consumed form of living? In truth, I believe this happens far more than any of us care to admit.
It’s worth noting that this is not a modern phenomenon but is a timeless challenge of the human heart. In the ancient words of Haggai, we far too often “busy ourselves with our own houses,” neglecting the house of the Lord which “lies in ruins.” Here we find the same sickness that plagues us today. Our own wants, needs, and desires come first, with everything (and everyone) else fitting in if and when time allows, including the household of faith, the Church of God.
The fundamental problem with this “as time allows” approach to God and others is the elusive nature of time. Simply put, our self-centered appetites are never satiated, and if left unchecked, will demand every ounce of our time and emotional capacity. If we are not intentional in pursuing and cultivating a way of life that is oriented around the family of God and his mission in this world, it will never happen.
I believe an honest assessment of this inclination is the first step toward genuine healing and growth in Christ. Before we as the Christian family can shine as lights in the world and cities set high upon a hill (Matthew 5:14), we must first acknowledge the depth of personal pride and concern with image and ego that lives within every human heart. As C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity, “If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realise that one is proud.”
The Lord longs to see his house built up and radiant with the light of his love. It is a beacon of hope and light to the entire world, inviting each of us into the joy and freedom that comes from dying to our own self-absorbed loves and discovering the life that is found when we orient our hearts and lives around his story, not ours. And as we do, not only are we healed, but those around us begin to encounter the transforming love of God in and through us.
Father, heal the sickness of self-love that lives within each of us, freeing us from inordinate concern with our own stories, so that we may find ourselves fully alive in the story of your love, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
In what specific ways are you overly busy and concerned with the needs of “your own house?”
Reawaken Hymns: O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
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