Over the last couple of days, I've had a recurring theme/phrase appear in my devotional time.
In Proverbs 21: 2,3, these verses stand out. The NIV says "All a man's ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart. To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice."
I use a life application Bible for my study time; I find it gives me a clearer understanding of scripture. The footnote for these verses includes these explanations: verse 2 - 'People can find an excuse for doing almost anything, but God looks behind the excuses to the motives of the heart.....God is not pleased when we do good deeds only to recieve something in return.' Also, in the footnote for verse 3, 'Sacrifices and offerings are not bribes to make God overlook our character faults. If our personal and business dealings are not characterized by justice, no amount of generosity when the offering plate is passed will make up for it.' Verse 29 needed no footnote to get its message across, 'A wicked man puts up a bold front, but an upright man gives thought to his ways.(Italics mine)
I knew I had read this phrase before. In Haggai, chapter one, these very words are spoken by the LORD to the prophet Haggai. Verses 5-7 reads; "Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much but have harvested little. You have eaten much, 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 thoughts to your ways."
I've had quite a bit of time to 'give thought to my ways' lately. I got laid off from my full time job recently and have found myself in that displaced area of enjoying being home, working on projects that never seem to get done on the weekend, and the unproductive side of not 'going' to my job everyday. This is a dilemma for me, as I need to 'feel' productive; I like to make lists and see how much I've accomplished by how many things I've checked off the list. The corresponding footnotes spoke volumes to me. "The harder people worked for themselves, the less they had, because they ignored their spiritual lives.....Caring only for our physical needs while ignoring your relationship with God will lead to ruin....Because the people had not given God first place in their lives, their work was not fruitful or productive, and their material possessions did not satisfy...God's blessing was withheld because they no longer put Him in first place."
These scriptures took me back a step. Yes, I had been doing this very thing, being more concerned with things and accomplishments rather than seeking God in the scriptures. I even go as far as listing 'devotions' on my list of things to do, yet find ways to avoid doing it because some other thing "seems" more pressing. God is looking at my motives and I suspect not liking what He is seeing. His Holy Spirit is convicting me; He sees what I am doing instead of spending time with Him. Oh LORD, forgive my sin of not seeking you first before I do ANYthing else in my day. You see into my heart; my motivation, the procrastination that rears its ugly head when I do not take every thought captive (2Corinthians 10:5). Oh forgive me Dear LORD. Let my life be pleasing in Your eyes; Your Will, not mine.