Do you remember what your life was like before you accepted Christ as your personal Saviour? Being raised in the church, I accepted Christ at the age of twelve. I don't remember what life was like before that because it seemed like church was all we did in our house. But as an adult I do remember a time period when the Lord didn't seem present and nothing but storm after storm came and I felt so alone. A time of total destruction of the life that I had built. Now before this time period came, life was wonderful. Everything seemed to be running on all cylinders. I didn't even see the storm approaching or total destruction heading my way. I'm sure there were warning signs but apparently I ignored them. But to make a long story short....destruction came. And I had to go through the process of rebuilding. Much like the people in the book of Haggai.
Read the entire book of Haggai. (It's only two chapters) The temple had been destroyed and they had been instructed to rebuild the temple. And amazingly enough, after fifteen years, it still was not completed. Why? Because they were more concerned with building their own houses then the house of the Lord. (Let me put a footnote here - You must get your priorities straight. Spiritual house, then earthly house.) But that's not what I want to talk about. The question was asked 'Is there anyone who can remember this house - the Temple - as it was before?' In comparison, how does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all. (Haggai 2:3) That is why I asked the question at the beginning, 'Do you remember how your life was before you accepted Christ as your personal Savior? I know that there are many Christians who did not grow up in the church or accept Him at an early age. I could also ask the question 'Do you remember what your life was like before you decided to fully commit to him'? You may have accepted him as a child but you didn't really start walking with him until you were older. Whatever the case may be, do you recognize a difference? Does it appear to be better or worse? You see, in the life before Christ you may had thought you were doing alright. Life was just rolling on. You didn't have too many problems. You had a job. Your health was alright. Your children were behaving. Your marriage was doing great. Great friends all around you. Things were wonderful. You can sit here today and reminisce over the good times. Now I want you to think about life after Christ. How have things changed for you? Have things gotten better? Is there a point where you can say 'because of Christ, my life is better'. In this story in the book of Haggai, God realized that there was a small remnant of people who remembered what the temple was like before destruction. And now they were looking at the temple now and it just didn't seem as grand. He wanted them to know that this temple would be even greater not because of the amount of gold or silver or the design of the temple but because God was with them. He had promised never to leave them. Even though they had experienced captivity and the temple had been destroyed, he was still with them. He kept his promise! And let me tell you something, there is no comparison when it comes to life with God versus life without God. What tools did you have to help you stand in the time of trouble? Did you have peace in the midst of a storm? When you set out to accomplish a task, were the results everything you wanted them to be? Or 'when you hoped for a twenty-bushel crop, did you harvest only ten' , or when you expected to draw fifty gallons from the wine press, did you find only twenty. (Haggai 2:16) You see, God wants us to realize and appreciate the true impact he has on our lives. We should never be foolish enough to think we have accomplished anything, in and of ourselves. We must come to really know the meaning of Romans 8:28. And as the scripture says here in Haggai 2:9, "The future of this Temple will be greater than its past glory..." Your latter will be your greater. Don't be discouraged when you start to think about how your life used to be and that by outside appearance it seemed to be better than your life is now. Rest assured that with God in control of your life, things can and will only be better. Trust him to make it happen and be obedient to his will. Know that when you put him first EVERYTHING else will fall into place. (Matthew 6:33)
Thank you for your presence in my life. Thank you, because even though I may have experienced total destruction, trials and tribulations you have never left my side. I know that I can count on you to be with me thru it all. Help me to remember that when I look back over my life and I feel the urge to want to go back to my life before you I will stop and think and say no. I will continue to walk in your ways. Help me to rest on your promise that my latter will be my greater. Thank you Lord. In Jesus' Wonderful Name Amen.