1Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
2It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
(Psalm 127:1-2, King James Version)
Except the Lord
No three words can give a greater theme for the successful Christian life than, "Except the Lord." Our life is not about ourselves--it has never been about ourselves. As believers, no matter what our abilities, no matter what our financial state, and no matter what our personality, living a life pleasing to God is all about, "Except the Lord."
The Psalmist explains, It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Does that mean that life is effortless? Are we not to use the abilities we have and strive to live a life pleasing to God? Yes, of course we are! However, as Christians, we know that our successes and failures are all in the hands of God. Except the Lord is in our plans, except the Lord leads us in all we do, our efforts are all in vain. For it is God who gives success; it is God who give an increase.
One of the greatest examples of this is in the life of Daniel. Though he rose to great heights, sometimes second only to the ruler, himself, Daniel never took credit for himself. He always gave credit and acclaim to the Lord. When he was able to interpret Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he praised God who gave the interpretation to him. (See Daniel 2.)
At this time of year, when we are tempted to make New Year's resolutions, it is good for us to remember that, while we set goals (which is a good thing), the results of our efforts belong to the Lord. As a matter of fact, as believers, we should set goals to improve our Christian lives, and to bring us closer to the Lord. It is far too easy for us to become so engrossed in the things of this world, that we forget why we are actually here!
So, while we do rise up early, and sometimes stay up late, pushing ourselves to achieve great things, let us take care to immerse those efforts in prayer and Bible study, knowing that it is God we serve. Everything we do and say should bring glory to God, and as we attempt great things, we know that it is God who gives (or takes away) the increase.
Though our results, or the diversions that come our way may not seem to be what we had intended, we know that God works all things out for His glory. What we may perceive as bad, may be used by God to bring about much greater results in the advancement of His kingdom.
As you embrace this new year, may you find yourselves drawn closer and closer to the Lord. May 2013 be a year of great service for the Lord Jesus Christ, as you remember, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it!"
God Bless You,