Tentative Steps are Faithful Steps
God’s people are finally working on the temple, but more importantly, they are actively obeying God. Their obedience is not only laying a physical foundation for the temple, but they are also building a spiritual one. As a result, their faith will blossom and blessings will abound.
While the Jewish community was in the midst of revival a third message from God poured from Haggai’s mouth. The prophet passed on two points for the people to ponder. Loosely paraphrased, Haggai asked the priests that if unclean food touches holy food, does the unclean food become holy? They answered, no. Haggai then posed the question of an unclean person touching holy food, will the holy food become unclean? To which they answered, yes.
The purpose of the question was to illustrate the fact that holiness does not rob off on others.
The Jews of Haggai’s day did not start out looking much like people of God. They were disobedient and barely existing. Thankfully, they eventually turned toward God, but just because they were God’s chosen people did not mean his holiness automatically defined them. They had to make a conscious decision to to be holy before God.
Think about “Sunday Only” Christians. Many so-called believers go to church every Sunday, but forget about God the rest of the week. Genuine Christians, although not perfect, try to honor God throughout the week with their obedience, their attitudes, and their actions. That is what sets serious believers apart from non-believers. Holiness does not rub off on us when we sit in the pews, it lives within our hearts when he have an active faith.
When my two sons were two- and five-years old, I was a teacher at the pre-school they attended. I loved my job, but at the end of the day I was drained. The twenty-minute drive home with two wild boys was typically the hardest part of my day.
One day when I was a relatively new Christian, their impish antics started overtaking the backseat of my Suburban. My flesh was feeling anything but holy, but I remembered hearing that God loved to help us through difficult times. I decided to pray that he would help me survive the drive home without exploding all over the boys. I took the tentative steps of faith and prayed.
Not only did I get through the ride home, but God blessed me with an abundance of patience for three days! Those tentative steps I took laid a foundation that has kept my faith active for many years. Just like the Jews build a spiritual foundation and experienced holiness when they worked on the temple, I also began building a foundation for my faith. It wasn’t a holiness that rubbed off on me by sitting in the pews at my church, it was a living, breathing faith I experienced because I lived it.
“Consider from this day…Since the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid, consider: Is there any seed left in the barn? Do the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree still yield nothing? From this day on I will bless you” (Haggai 10: 18-19 NRSV).
Think About It
When I took that tentative step toward God, he answered my prayer. That small step was pivotal in my Christian walk, and God has blessed me ever since. But, don’t think small steps like that are only for new believers. Seasoned Christians need to step out in faith. Each step stretches us a little further beyond our existing faith; that is how faith continues to grow no matter how mature we are.
No matter what stage you are in in your Christian walk, are you still stepping out in faith?
Word for Today: Whether you are a new Christian or a seasoned believer, tentative steps are faithful steps.