Sometimes my homework involves a “short answer” (which really is never short; it’s just not long enough to be considered an essay), often based on a specific passage of Scripture. And God used the short answer I just wrote to confirm within me the conviction He’s been growing over the past few days. So without further a due…
Question: How do you struggle with apathy or lack of motivation in your relationship with God? What are the things that are the biggest distractions in your walk with God? Read the book of Haggai and see if you can see some traps that we need to look out for. Also are there any solutions to dealing with these problems?
Within the past few weeks, my biggest area of apathy in my relationship with God has been purposefully setting aside time to read His Word and pray. And it’s kind of funny how it’s manifested itself. As the first semester progressed, the concept of having a “holy relationship” with God (meaning one that is unique from any other relationship in my life) began to really resonate within me. This was something I wanted, something I could work towards. So I decided that I would set aside a specific time for prayer each day , to pray through whatever happened that day, as well as the specific things God have given me to pray over daily. As an added bonus, what better time to read my Bible, since I’m already “in the mode”? After looking over my schedule, I saw that 9 pm each night was consistently open, and my “call to prayer” became a nightly alarm on my phone. And I was faithful to it, for about 2 ½ weeks. And then the semester started to end, and everything got especially busy.
Now, fast forward to this semester. It’s come to the point where I’m hesitant to even get started with this whole prayer-time thing; I have so much to say, so much on my mind, so much to process. Really, when it comes down to it, I’m just plain not willing to put the time necessary into fully devoting myself to this. I would much rather do my own thing. And I’m such a go hard or go home person that I’ve decided that it’s better not to try at all then to simply go “half way”. Great reasoning.
So now I’m at the point where I definitely know what I should do, but I’m not doing it. And now we come to Haggai. In the first chapter, God is calling Israel into account because, like me, they simply aren’t making Him the priority in their lives. “This people says, “The time has not come, even the time for the house of the LORD to be rebuilt”. 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 you ways!” Haggai 1:2-5. It’s as if God is saying, “So… how’s this working for you, Israel?” And let me tell you, walking in guilt, fully knowing why = not so hot.
But go down a few verses, and “the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God… and the people showed reverence for the LORD.” They realized something big. First, that their priorities were majorly out of whack. And second, that action was required. The temple was super-shabby, and the people in charge of tending to it were so frustrated at its state that they had paralyzed themselves. “There’s no way to do this right, I’m just so busy. I’ve got so much on my plate, I just can’t do this right now. Surely, this just isn’t the right timing.” God had to wake them up, make them realize that they may not do it perfectly, but it’s time they actually do something. They may have to start with simple wood from the mountains (Haggai 1:8), but if they actually make God the priority and obey Him, He will partner with them and be glorified through their actions. So here I stand. Will I stay paralyzed, or will I swallow my perfectionism and do what I can?