Driving on I-24 from Nashville, I see red brake lights on a crossover suv several car lengths ahead of me. I pay close attention, expecting to slow down. A few seconds later, I realize that nothing required me to slow down. In fact, I am still no closer to the red brake lights. The car’s brakes are applied, but they are also pressing the accelerator and maintaining interstate speed. Either the driver has one foot on the gas pedal, and the other on the brake pedal; or their parking/emergency brake is engaged. I immediately remember a time when I was a teenager and drove all the way to town with the emergency brake down. Undoubtedly, the driver has no idea how hard his car is working to overcome the brake.
Do you ever feel like everything in your life takes more effort than it should? Just getting through the day takes all your energy. Maybe, you are making things more difficult for yourself without even knowing it. After the exiles returned from captivity back to Israel, God sent them a message: “’You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.’ Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Consider your ways!’” (Haggai 1:6-7). The problem? They had not restored God’s temple – they focused on themselves rather than God. For this reason, God withheld his blessings and nothing went well for them. When we put God first, the rest of life works much better. Jesus says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).