We speak rather glibly of the “heart” without thinking. In the process of self-examination, we should not become morose and carry an attitude of browbeating ourselves over every fault. That becomes an exercise in religious self-effort, rather than a genuine desire to be pleasing to God. It becomes a self-judgment by a self-centered standard, which tends to exalt self into thinking it is doing itself good when what the saint truly needs is the oversight and help in God’s all-caring attention to our walk.
Satan is very cunning and has oft maneuvered well-intentioned believers into a self-powered walk that is more religious than spiritual in nature. It’s a walk that is dependent on continued, self-powered, religious effort. It holds a bible verse in one hand and self-effort in the other. Outwardly it has an appearance of godliness.
The strength of our walk with God does not come from us by dint of determination, but from the Spirit of God through reliant faith. Included in that faith is the saint’s loving submission with what God reveals. The saint seeks His help in deliverance and goes on from there rejoicing in God’s tender care.
In Haggai 1:1-15 we see that a part of Israel has returned from the Babylonian captivity, with the intention of restoring the Temple and the worship of God, but, they soon settled back into tending to their own needs for housing and had slackened off from their original purpose. They were building their own houses…..planting their farms. All of which would be to no profit because they have forsaken God’s original command. To encourage them to think right God sends Haggai to challenge them, “look at what you are doing”, “consider your ways”, “examine yourselves”, and “change direction”.
They wisely responded to God, and God blessed them for it. So should we take a look at where we are personally, and see if there is anything in our lives where we have given greater priority than our service to God.
Joseph Stringer served as the pastor of Fellowship Bible Church located in Methuen, MA. During his retirement, he remained engaged in teaching Bible studies and the encouragement of God’s saints. He’s now home with his Savior, Jesus Christ. Thousands of Christians were brought to Christ through his many years of ministry.