I began to address this in the last message, but I thought I would approach it from a different direction. It is peculiar how sometimes we need to see things from different vantage points before we can understand what we are looking at.
To show you what I mean, I began to think about the time when the people of God returned to Jerusalem and needed to rebuild the temple. It had been sixty-eight years since they last saw their temple! Many of those who returned could still remember the "old days," their rich heritage with the Temple.
They saw the rubble and the job that was ahead of them:
“The people feared Yahweh . . . and the faithful few who returned from Babylon began working on the house of Yahweh the Lord of Hosts, their Elohim” (Haggai 1:12, 14)
What was going on here? Quite simply, the believers no longer had their eyes fixed on the Lord. They had become distracted by all of the others things in life. Their lives were all twisted up and being led astray by all of their self-interest dreams and ambitions. When they realized this, they repented and then got busy again rebuilding the temple.
They had returned to their land, and all of the partying and celebrations had gone on long enough. It was time for them to start building the house of God! The partying is good, and sometimes, we need to kick back and give a shout of victory. But we also need to get out butts in action and quit sitting around.
But then, these people stood before the foundation of the temple as the walls were beginning to go up. They stood there staring and witnessed the progress, yet they realized that something was wrong and many of the older people began to weep! How come? What was going through their minds?
As I said, it had been sixty-eight years and as they looked at the work they had done, the new temple didn't measure up! When they compared what they saw with what they remembered, it seemed like an empty building!
As they stood around, they began to talk about the good ol' days, the past glory of the former temple and said,
“This temple doesn't have any ark in it, there was no mercy seat or cherubim. Oh man!"
"We don't see any consuming fire on the altar, no Shekinah glory coming down on the house."
"What was going on?"
After all of their hard work, all of their sacrifices, all of their obedience, all of their efforts of putting Yahweh first in their lives . . . "How come we don’t measure up?"
"This is nothing compared to what we remembered."
"Why are we struggling so much?"
"Why do we keep working at it when we can't see any progress?"
Today, many believers are complaining about that very thing! They give up because they can't believe they will ever measure up! Just like the Israelites, they have gone back to God; put Him first in their lives; sincerely attempting to seek His will; paying their tithes; praying, reading their Bibles and going to church every week. Doing all of the religious things they are supposed to do, but when they look at their lives, they say,
“For all my struggles, there should be more the show for it!"
"I don't have any evidence of God’s holiness."
"I try, but I keep falling on my face!"
"I don't have any of His glory in my life."
"When I look at other Christians, I’ll don't measure up."
"What’s the use of trying? I’ll never have victory.”
I am absolutely convinced this is why so many believers give up the fight. They are comparing themselves to what they see other believers doing and become discouraged! They feel so inferior! I've been there, friends. I tried and tried. I ended up angry and frustrated, thinking God was a lousy SOB for causing such frustration.
Foks, I've been there. I tried and tried. I ended up angry and frustrated, thinking God was a lousy SOB for causing such frustration! I am embarrassed to say that, but it is what I was experiencing.
My friends, if you will just stay the course and remain faithful to the Lord and quit trying to measure yourself by what you believe other believers are doing. What you don't understand is that many of them are struggling to live a Holy life, as well! They are struggling, just like you. The only thing you should be concerned with is your love and devotion to Jesus. You can rest assured that you are growing — and your Father's Spirit has promised to be with you — always!
Mark that down, because it is God’s promise to you! From the very moment you focus on building up Christ’s body — setting aside every thought of measuring up and all of your selfish efforts, and just letting Him become your support — you will see all of His blessings pour into your heart! You can mark it down! You will know He is smiling on you, rejoicing over you with singing! (Zephaniah 3:17)
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List. However, you can also find these messages at: Thought For The Day)I do thank you for your gifts It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.