“Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways.” (Haggai 1:5)
What a probing verse! It’s not a friend or a parent who challenges us today, but the Lord Himself! “Give careful thought to your ways.” There are so many things we do each and every day without a second thought. Some things are done out of habit or possibly impulse, having learned and repeated certain behaviors that are completely benign. Still others are anything but harmless and this is where the rub comes.
When the Lord encourages us to give careful thought to our ways, it has application in so many areas of our lives. Think for a moment of the words you will utter today. What will it take to use a spiritual filter before you release a sentence or speak a phrase? Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is what I am about to say really helpful to my hearer?
2. Is my “2 cents” worth about this subject really necessary?
3. Is there any malice or deception within my words toward anyone?
And better yet,
4. Would Jesus ever say what I’m thinking of saying right now?
Holding one’s tongue in check is a great way to make sure your next steps are not stumbling ones. But, beyond your words, think about your actions this day. Decisions will be made today which will have Kingdom impact one way or the other. Our actions will either advance the Kingdom or hinder it. Our influence will either point people to Christ or become a detractor. How you do your “business” these next hours will make a difference in someone else’s life and have ramifications with yours, too.
Giving careful thought clearly means, “Think hard about what you will do next.” Our next steps can be positive, too. Making the right decisions in what is released through our words and actions could create a ripple effect, touching thousands of lives in the days to come. You have influence in the lives of others. You may know some who are watching your behavior today, but you have no idea who is observing your behavior from afar. More importantly, God is watching your decisions which are being made in private as well as in the public arena. If you knew your words and actions were to go “viral” today, would you smile or cringe within? If there is a check in your spirit, before you act, consider it a loving nudge from the Holy Spirit and your Heavenly Father.