January 2013 – are you ready for clichés? It’s a new year, a new beginning, a fresh start, a second or maybe third chance at whatever. Here we are only 20 days into this New Year and some incredibly self-disciplined folks have it all together already. But for the rest of us, life is somewhat untidy and complicated, engulfed in difficulties. Nevertheless, in January we feel we can start over. This time, we say, I’ll do it right, I’ll eat healthier, reduce my stress, read my bible more, accomplish that goal I set last year, and on and on we go. That’s what resolutions are all about – vowing to do better.
I guess my question is why do I so quickly fail? Why do I fall back into my old ways and routines? I often wonder if it has anything to do with my foundation or only how I built upon it. Past hurts have a way of molding us, forcing us to cover pain sometimes with unhealthy things. By this time in our lives, we may have laid brick upon brick, layer upon layer and now we’re trying to remodel something that in reality should be bulldozed.
When the Israelites returned to Jerusalem after their Babylonian captivity, the temple Solomon built was gone. Gone also were the idols of wood and stone. They had learned their lesson and it was a new beginning. With fresh resolve, Israel laid the foundation of the second temple. Ezra 3:10-11 tells us, “…they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: ‘For He is good, for His mercy endures forever toward Israel.’ Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”
What joy filled the air that day, but then opposition came and they stopped building. For almost twenty years, Israel seemed content with only the foundation. While dust and debris layered the temple blocks, they built and embellished their own homes. Finally, the Lord sent prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, explaining why their lives were faltering – their priorities were out of order – God was not first. The prophets proclaimed, “Build the temple.”
We too have a foundation. If we are believers, our Foundation is Jesus, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11) However, we must take heed how we build upon that foundation. Believers possess the indwelling Spirit of God, but our temple is not complete. Each day we build. Sometimes we quench the Spirit and add another layer of dross.
Years ago, the movie “Money Pit” was one of my favorites. One line from that movie has stuck with me all these years. Pleased with the newly restored mansion-like home, the contractor said, “It had a good foundation. If the foundation is good, everything else can be fixed.”
Our Foundation is Jesus and there is none better. But, are our building materials imperishable and lasting such as gold, silver, and precious stones or have we used mostly wood, hay and stubble? If it is more the latter, look to Jesus and repent. He will bulldoze the dross, leave the gems, and help you finish building with gold. For He knows the way you take. When He has tested, you shall come forth as gold, because He is always at work in you making you willing and able to obey His own purposes. (Job 23:10 NKJV, Phil. 2:13 GNT).