Focusing on the Spiritual; April 18, 2018

Haggai 2:5 “This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.”

The people here were understandably discouraged, because they were confronted daily with ruins that either needed to be rebuilt or simply disposed of. God’s answer was to point them from the material to the spiritual, whether they recognized that from what Haggai said or not. They were fixated on their physical surroundings, but God is here reminding them that His Spirit is unchanged; He hasn’t been demolished. This is an important thing for every believer to remember. We are naturally affected by our physical environment, but that is all the more reason to focus in on God and remember that He is greater than it all. (1 John 4:4) The NIV says, “My Spirit remains among you,” but the Japanese says, “My Spirit works among you.” Either way, if we are properly sensitive to the Holy Spirit we will rejoice in our circumstances, rather than being controlled by them.

This is extremely applicable to this church right now. Humanly speaking there are many things that could be discouraging, but God hasn’t changed. Each one of us in the church is growing according to God’s plan. Accordingly, the church as a whole is going to grow in His timing, again according to His plan. The thing for us to do is lift our eyes to Him, not ignoring the physical but not being controlled by it. We are to remember that His plans for us haven’t changed, nor has He changed. We are changing, but then, we need to change! As the returned exiles transformed ruins into something for God’s glory, even so God is going to transform us into what He intended in the first place.

Father, thank You for this Word. Sometimes I do better than at other times at keeping my eyes on You. Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, joyfully anticipating what You are going to do in and through us, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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