Keys to the Kingdom
My childhood pastor’s wife, Thelma, was an exemplary wife, mother, and friend; a perfect example of the Proverbs 31 woman. Everybody adored her because she loved much, lived well, and laughed often. Thelma inspired other people to laugh also. She told her daughter Christa and I (just young girls at the time) this joke: A mother was concerned that her daughter’s beau was never going to ask for her hand in marriage. As the daughter was preparing for her date one evening, the mother gave her specific instructions: “When Homer picks you up, don’t say anything — just be quiet all evening. When he finally asks you what you’re thinking about, say, “I’m contemplating on matrimony.” The daughter agreed and the date transpired exactly as the mother predicted. After awhile, Homer said, “I’ve noticed you’ve been awfully quiet and just sitting there with an odd look on your face. What are you thinking about?” With a sigh, she responded, “I’m constipated on macaroni.”
Are you contemplating on wanting a better year in 2023? I suspect all of us would like to come up higher in multiple areas in the new year. I suggest that all of us consider our ways. When the word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet, he told the Jews who had returned from Babylon, “Consider your ways” (Haggai 1:5 ESV). In the Old Testament book of Haggai, the major problem was that the temple of God was in ruins and the people weren’t doing anything to restore it.
In the New Testament, we know that the believer is literally the temple. “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19,20 NLT).
If you’re a Christ follower, but your life seems to be in ruins, pause and consider your ways. The word “consider” means to think carefully, chew on it, be mindful of, ponder, examine, inspect, scrutinize. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. How we do our life is worth the effort to mull it over, which is to analyze and meditate on the possible actions as well as the outcomes. Are we doing everything we can to closely walk in all the light of Jesus?
Let’s consider our ways. The definition of “way” is: a method, style, or manner of doing something; our habit, practice, procedure, routine, conduct, behavior, or nature. If we’re not including Jesus in all areas of our life, we need to seriously consider changing our ways. Jesus wants to be flat-dab in the middle of everything we do. And (if we have any sense) that’s exactly where we should want Him. Jesus desires to be intricately involved, but He has to be invited to do so. He’s not going to bulldoze His way into our lives.
“Jesus once again addressed them: ‘I am the world’s Light. No one who follows Me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in‘” (John 8:12 MSG). If I’m walking in the dark with someone who has a flashlight, I need to stay close enough to benefit from the beam of light. “Your word is like a lamp that shows me the way. It is like a light that guides me” (Psalm 119:105 NIRV). Today is the day to consider our ways and see if there are behaviors that need to come under the Lordship and light of Jesus. The Key: Mull it over and change whatever rears its ugly head in the light.