Lately the Lord has been whispering to me, “come sit with me and be still.” With school work, laundry, dishes, family, and a partially non-existent social life because of all that, how am I supposed to be still? When I do take a moment to relax and spend time in prayer, it’s like I’ve missed a whole month’s worth of to-dos in thirty seconds.
I’m constantly thinking:
“You need to study more.”
“You need to have straight As.”
“You need a second job so you can get more money.”
“You need to expand your resume.”
“You need to exercise more.”
“You need to be more healthy.”
“You need to lose weight.”
“You need to work more.”
“You need to have more ‘me time.’”
“You need more sleep.”
“You need to clean your room until it’s spotless.”
“You need to try harder.”
“You need to be more involved in extracurriculars.”
“You need to wake up at 5am to spend two hours in prayer.”
“You need to worship God more.”
“You don’t trust Jesus enough.”
Did any of those statements hit home? They all did for me.
But what if there’s more to life than climbing social, physical, and spiritual ladders? What if God wants us to just stop and be vulnerable with Him for a moment?
In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest: This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’” Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?” Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. (Haggai 1:1-10)
We’re getting comfortable in our bubbles and day-to-day tasks. We say we it isn’t time to build God’s temple because we’re too busy building our own!
God knows the heart of His creation and responds with knowledge of how hard His people have worked. He says, “You have planted much, but harvested little.” But He also knows that their attempts at success are futile because they’re all going about it the wrong way.
Do you feel like that? Do you feel like you try and try, but it’s never enough? Because it isn’t. Without Christ, it isn’t.
God wants to spend time with us in His temple, not only to love on us and bless us, but to give Him glory (v. 7-8). And if anyone deserves glory, it’s Him.
But, where is His temple? Our local church? The people? The Vatican?
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Cor 6:19-20)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom 12:1-2)
We are God’s new dwelling place. He lives in us. He calls us to build His temple inside of us in order to bring Him glory and to share the love of Christ. Without doing so, we become tired, weak, and frustrated even with the most simple of tasks. And in order to build His temple, we need to become still in His presence alone.
We need to stop busying ourselves with bringing us glory. It only stresses, worries, and pushes us away from our relationship with Jesus. We need to stop what we’re doing and start building God’s temple. Sometimes being still physically means mentally building the foundations of our souls.
So, what happened when God’s people obeyed Him and built His temple?
Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord. So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month. (Haggai 1:1-15)
God not only was with them, but He declared it to be so. He proved His words with actions by stirring up the hearts of His people and they prospered. With God, they’re work was fruitful and successful. Without Him, they were left to use their own strength when God’s strength can do so much more.
So, what does this have to do with being still? We can be in every Bible study our churches offer, have three different morning and evening devotionals, chapel on campus every day of the week, an impressive resume, toned muscles, no body fat, and perfect grades and still not be intentional in our time with God.
“I’m too busy,” we say. “God knows that and understands I have things to do. I have a family to take care of, work in order to earn a living, classes that take up the majority of my time.” We may be busy and God already knows our thoughts, but unless our inner temple is built and cared for, God is not in our midst and nothing we do will come to prosper in the best way possible.
Don’t worry about everyone else, don’t worry about what you need, if you spend time intentionally with Him, He’ll be with you. Let us go and build His temple.