Three Areas of Your Life to Examine to See if God is Your Top Priority

I am currently studying the book of Haggai for a lesson I'm teaching Sunday.  Haggai is a wonderful Old Testament prophetic book that often gets overlooked.  It's only two chapters in length and little is known of the author.  The time period of the book is around 520 B.C.  The Jews were out of exile and back in Jerusalem.  Persia and King Darius were still in control, but they had been allowed to return and rebuild the Temple.  The rebuilding of the temple had started in 538 B.C. but had halted due to opposition, supposed lack of resources, and the indifference of the people.

Haggai was sent by God to spur the people on to rebuild the temple.  It was still in ruins 16-18 years after rebuilding had started.  The Jewish people had began to rebuild their own homes and lives, but the Temple was still in ruins.  God was showing them that he had sent hardship in their lives because they had failed to make Him their first priority.  They were indifferent to Him, and he had judged them by withholding rain for their crops and bringing drought to their fields.

It is easy to chastise the Jewish people, but many Christians today have the same attitude of indifference.  We fail to make the things of God and His word top priority in our lives.  Jesus is to be the ultimate treasure in our hearts, but we too often allow other things to crowd Him out.  At least twice in the book of Haggai, the Lord calls for the people to think carefully about their ways, to examine their lives.  In other words, He called for them to look at their lives and re-evaluate their priorities.  I think there are 3 areas of our lives we can evaluate to see where the Lord is in our own list of priorities.

1. Examine the Use of Your Time

How do you spend your time?  Sit down.  Make a list of your weekly routine: working, resting, spiritual devotion, relationships, TV and entertainment, etc.  Most of us have pretty set hours of work and rest.  We work a certain amount of time and we sleep a certain amount of time.  Outside of that, what are you devoting the most time to?  Where does Bible reading, worship, and prayer fit into that?  We must make the most of our time.  If we spend more time on social media or watching TV than we do on our marriage or time with the Lord, then that reveals our true priorities.  God is the author of time.  Your days are numbered.  Make sure God is a top priority with the time you have.

2. Examine the Use of Your Money

I am the worlds worst to give any financial advice.  I'm not great with money, but I do believe looking at our finances can give us an accurate portrayal of our priorities.  How much are you spending compared to how much are you giving or saving?  I'm old fashioned.  I still believe in the 10% tithe, and I believe in tithing the gross income not the net.  This gives God His portion right from the top.  Stewardship of our resources is vital to not just our financial well-being but our spiritual well-being as well.  Giving is an act of worship.  So if we aren't prioritizing God in our fiances, it throws everything else off.

3. Examine Your Church Attendance

The Lord was disciplining the Jewish people in the book of Haggai because they failed to make the house of God a priority.  If we say we love the Lord, we must also love and spend time with His Bride, the Church.  Many don't view church attendance as an indicator of spiritual health, but the New Testament is clear that God's people must not "stay away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near". (Hebrews 10:25, HCSB)  We need each other in order to properly prioritize God.  You need the encouragement of your brothers and sisters in Christ to keep God first in your life.  If His Church is not a priority in your life, then neither is He.

God promised the Jewish people that if they would make His house a priority He would bless them.  He promised them in Haggai 2:15-19 that if they used their time and the resources that he provided and made His house and their devotion to Him first in their lives that from that "day on I will bless you".  I believe God promises us the same.  I pray that if you are a teacher or preacher of God's word that you would challenge your people to also examine these three areas of their lives.  Challenge yourself.  He is either Lord of everything or He is Lord of nothing in your life.  Make Him first, and He promises He will bless you.


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