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Misplacing God

Build God’s House First—

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” —Deuteronomy 6:5

THIS IS is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.'” “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”

This passage is taken from the Old Testament Book of Haggai 1: 1-14 (NIV). The verse caused me to consider the concept of being busy with our own lives, while the work of the Lord goes unfinished. So how does it apply to modern Christian living and the death of Christ? Christ came to put his Father’s house in order. He did so on more than occasion—

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed–or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. —Luke 10:38

Here, Martha is so concerned about the affairs of her own house, that she misses the importance of God’ house…the spiritual teaching and healing that Christ was there to administer.

There’s another occurrence in Matthew 21:12—

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.

Again mankind is tangled up in worldliness, and at odds with the desires of God.

It’s a problem that had followed mankind since the beginning. Aren’t our lives a matter of constant maintenance? We get so involved in our own affairs and the interests of our house, that it’s common to neglect the house of the Lord.

 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; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.— 1 Corinthians 6:19

This passage clearly demonstrates our obligation to place God first in our lives.

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 (Haggai 1:7-8). Now in the context, it’s speaking of a physical house, but the principles can be applied to our spiritual well being. We must not neglect to build up the body of Christ first, and then we will be blessed as we address our own needs.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.  Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. —Romans 15:15

Even as He was dying on the cross, Jesus did not neglect to put his mother’s house in order.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.  —John 19: 25

Christ died for the purpose of setting into order the chaos that caused a separation between God and mankind. As we are commanded we remember Him each first day of the week, how he died on the cross that we might live. Consider these things before partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

—Mike Baxter


Based on a manuscript for a short talk: Building God’s House before Our Own, in reference to the Lord’s Supper,January 20, 2013.
Church of Christ, Valley Congregation (Phoenix, AZ).
Used here by kind permission.

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