Objective: Discovering the power of obedience to God in our lives
Time line: 40 days
Gotta love how scripture can smack you in the face. The whole Book of Haggai really comes down to being obedient or being disobedient. Just when you thought no one was looking. In my book ‘Nobody Can Take It Away From You’ I talk about how the word obedient has become bad. Yeah it’s one of those words we don’t like to utter because it seems on the surface that we are giving our freedom or power away.
The Biblical hack in this whole thing is that when we are obedient we are actually taking back His power through us. It’s truly amazing what being obedient to God is like. (I stumble often and that is why I require grace and He provides it continually.) In the Book of Haggai which is very short but incredibly powerful, God asks His people to “Consider Your Ways.” It is spoken twice by God within the first two paragraphs. And the reason for the exhortation to consider our ways carries on to this day, for the exact same reasons.
Haggai and Zerubbabel were brought forth to encourage the people of God to rebuild His temple which lay in ruins while their homes were built up nice and cozy. And there was a twist to what was happening in many areas for the people. The scripture in Haggai speaks about how the people were hurting in many areas because they weren’t completing a task they had been assigned. Abundance was not flowing in their lives because the Temple lay in ruins and they were apathetic towards Gods’ House. Being disobedient was causing them to not experience the full abundance of God.
A key word here is Way. Looking into the New American Standard Bible Key Word edition we learn this about the word Way. This common verb is derived from the Hebrew verb darak, meaning to walk or to tread, from which the basic idea of this word comes: the path that is traveled. (Cool twist alert) However, this word is most often used metaphorically to refer to pathways of one’s life, suggesting the pattern of life, the obedient life, the righteous life, the wicked life, The ways are described as darkness, pleasant ways, and wise ways.There are lots of ways we can go with this. The bottom line is that we are responsible for our way and how we define, live, and pursue that way. And in that pursuit we are either obedient to God or disobedient. And we are fallen remember, so this is not about perfection. It’s about a commitment.
Back to the hack, when we are obedient we are taking back His power through us. In 1 Corinthians 2: 4 – 5 Paul tells us, “And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” To consider your ways then is about obedience in living a path guided through Spirit and not the flesh which is raised in the wisdom of men. Obedience to God leads to abundance and peace. Disobedience leads to ruin and fear based living trying to create from a path that is based on false wisdom.
Consider Your Ways – The Temple
We need to understand the importance of the Temple in Haggai and our relationship to His love of us. Again Paul in 1 Corinthians 3: 16 -17 gives us the reason for us to Consider Your Ways. “Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”
God connects the dots for us between His own physical Temple and His Spiritual Temple within us. He doesn’t want His physical Temple laying in ruins in the Book of Haggai and in 1 Corinthians He asks us not to lay in physical ruins ourselves as we are housing His Spirit. So we are the keepers of His Temple. Isn’t that an amazing gift and honor? God gives us His Spirit and offers us all the ways we can house the Spirit without creating a ruinous mess of it all.
Here is another cool thing about God and His Temple. He isn’t expecting perfection from us, oh no friends. He only asks we kick ass in all areas He brings us to and try our best. He knows we will struggle in some seasons and soar in others. We just need to bring the energy and effort through faith and trust to lift up the temple and release the Spirt to shine for all to see.
The Tools for Putting Consider your ways into practice
My personal practice for Biblical Hacks is to put them into practise for 40 days. I start off in my personal journal by writing “I am a commitment to Consider Your Ways.” It is a personal declaration I can look at when I’m struggling or feeling sorry for myself. It happens, but He is there to pick me up, dust me off, pat me on the butt, and tell me to get back out there.
TOOL #1 – Mindset
I put this before two heavy hitters in prayer and scripture. The reason is that you have to get this mindset in place in order to create the energy and set the tone for where you’re going. The flesh is strong and will attack the mind trying to subvert all efforts in this Biblical Hack. Trying to move fully into the other tools requires a commitment to revival and renewal of the mind. Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to the waysof this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
I will be honest in telling you this was, is, and will be a big struggle. The reality is the mind is flesh and weak. So I’m going to take you back to the Book of Haggai where this all began. The builders of the Temple were encouraged by God himself. In Haggai 2:4 this is what scripture says, I love this. “take courage, declares the Lord, and work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Hosts.” We don’t have to do this work alone, God is with us. I have to remind myself daily when my will tries to takeover that God is in control. This is a massive mental struggle for me and many times a day the narrative loop in my head spirals out of control. But that’s because I am trying to control it all instead of just doing the work and allowing God to take the lead. In Racing Death I have an entire section dedicated to our personal narrative and how important it is to be aware of our self-talk. This is a big part of this hack and how we can consider our ways.
This is never completed work friends. It takes daily work and reflection to work towards mastering this component of our battle. The battle though is not ours. We can give this to Christ because He has already defeated everything we are battling.
TOOL #2 – Prayer
Here is our greatest weapon to mastering consider your ways. We often think of choices as selecting between things. But we need to reframe what choices actually are, choices are actions. We can change the shape of our energy by simplifying this process. Prayer is a great tool to not allow others, circumstance, life, and our own fears and insecurities to have any real estate in our minds. We give away the power of God in our minds when the choices we make allow others to take over our minds. Then we are reacting rather than responding. Prayer is the way to overcome this in any situation.
I break into the Lord’s prayer or the 23 Psalm so many times a day to break apart thoughts, fears, and insecurities that will take over my mind and then make for a bad day. The choice of prayer is at our disposal all day every day. We can bring the power of God and His wisdom and knowledge into our minds in an instant. There is no more powerful weapon in our battle than this and it is a game changer. Create your own prayer or prayers for whatever your fighting against and use them. The transformation is amazing. I use praise all day as well. I praise God in all my circumstances and how He is in control.
We can create an environment and atmosphere anywhere in ourselves and our lives with a mindset of praise. From December 6, 2018 to this writing I have been using this tool to battle the biggest betrayal I have ever experienced in my life. I thought the sexual abuse I experienced as a boy was something no one could ever surpass. However my ex wife has out done that with such deceit and cruelty I can’t even express the suffering it has caused. But here I am and prayer is always available to help me battle the betrayal and create an atmosphere I will rise up in and overcome all. God’s power is greater than the betrayal of a loved one who sees marriage as disposable.
TOOL #3 – Scripture
The most nourishment we can have for our mind, body and Spirit. In the scripture is the truth, the light, and the way. Our identity is revealed in scripture and we can dig into it to release that true identity. In my marriage I realized how much of my identity I gave away to three people who didn’t care about me or respect me. It was a humbling realization but through scripture I am coming to see that they didn’t try to know or see what I had to offer and was willing to do. For them it was always about being right and looking good even when their behaviours were abusive and bullying. So it is within scripture that my identity is being truly returned to me through His grace and love.
When you find a scripture that you feel is speaking to you write it out on an index card or in the notes of your smart phone. When things are feeling heavy or like control is slipping away piggy back this tool with prayer. The scripture you like is revealing something to you that God wants you to know about yourself and you circumstances. He will provide the guidance through scripture that will bring you out of a valley and help you rise to the truth you were created to live.
Scripture is the Living Word and will continually offer us new ways to see. I can read a scripture that will help me find my way one year and the next year it will offer a completely different lesson for my way. It is alive, flowing, and always giving to each of us in the way we need it to. Spend time in the Word daily and ask God to show you what he needs you to see in it. Don’t be shy to dig in your heels and ask Him for something and not leave until He comes through. We are in relationship with God, He wants that. Sometimes that means getting mad and truly being adamant about your needs with Him. He will come through and wants us to know how much love he has for us.
TOOL #4 – Your Voice
This is a unique tool I discovered through exercise and training with God. God has a way of communicating with me where He brings me one word that he wants me to focus on and grow in. I am usually in the middle of a run, ride, or swim when these nuggets are shared with me and I have a weird mental workout for the rest of my exercise period. I remember clearly running on a sunny warm morning when He downloaded the word ‘voice’ to me. As per usual my first reaction was bewilderment and a common question I find myself asking Him, “What?” But that was it, one word ‘voice.’
So I did the work of digging into scripture and my heart to find the thing I needed to learn. It wasn’t long before He brought me to understanding about the purpose of the lesson. I wasn’t using MY VOICE. I was regurgitating all the voices in my life that had been trying to make me in their image. God showed me He had a specific purpose for MY VOICE, the voice He gave me and I am made in His image. God didn’t want me to water down or filter MY VOICE any longer because it was keeping me from fully proclaiming Him in my life.
Man what a shift this was for me mentally. I needed to look at the areas in my life where I was allowing other people to dictate how I spoke into my own life. This was a real kick in the nuts. I was not being myself and was playing small in relationships, love, work, and my writing. Giddy up Daniel take back that real VOICE and become the Vision you were designed to be. (In Racing Death I capitalize the word Vision based on the fact that God gives us each a Vision we are designed for. It needs to be capitalized because it is our greatest mission in life.)
YOUR VOICE is a powerful gift from God and no other person should censor or diminish YOUR VOICE. Find it with reflection, meditation, prayer, and digging into the Word to excavate what He has designed you for. The world is waiting to hear YOUR VOICE. God gave it to you and He will carry it across the universe for you. He just asks that you do the work to discover it and bring it forth. Shout to the mountaintops and across the oceans the name of the Lord with YOUR VOICE>
Your Ways determine your abundance and power in life through God. Being obedient to God frees us and lifts us up to the height of our true nature. God is willing to work with you and guide you on your journey, you are never alone. This requires work and getting down and dirty in the arena of life friends. Change isn’t hard, it just requires committing to your ways and seeing out beyond any personal limitations you’ve bound yourself in. Build a lifestyle, environment and atmosphere that you design to be that truth you know you were created to be. Open your personal drawbridge and cross the mote to a new way of being and Storm the Castle.
P.S. This photo of me shows the Scripture ‘Consider Your Ways’ tattooed on my inner left arm in Irish Gaelic. My heritage is from Ireland and this is a reminder of my roots in Christ and how I need to live.
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