“… be strong, all you people of the land,” says the Lord, “and work: for I am with you,” says the Lord of hosts. — Haggai 2: 4
Let us work along in our spiritual edification and the edification of the church of Christ.
When the Israelites wanted to rebuild the temple after their return from exile, failed harvests triggered an economic crisis (Haggai 1: 11). Now it was no longer possible to build a temple that could be compared with the one the Babylonians had destroyed (Haggai 2: 3).
The prophet Haggai called upon the people to get back to work nevertheless, and promised them the support of God.
Our own edification
Children of God can never be content to merely pray every day, attend the divine services, and bring their offerings into the house of God. The Lord calls upon us to work on our own spiritual edification. In so doing, we must not allow ourselves to be discouraged by
- resistance from forces opposed to Christ, for example, increasing secularisation, which leads individuals to become selfish, loveless, and to look out only for their own interests.
- the cares of daily life, such as unemployment or economic crises.
- the difficulties we face in our congregations, such as a lack of guests, a shortage of ministers and funds, or a decline in divine service attendance.
The Lord calls upon us to be strong. Our strength comes from our faith in Jesus Christ. This faith is the foundation of our spiritual edification (Jude 1: 20). This edification is revealed when we
- bring forth our prayers as a true work of the soul.
- deepen our knowledge. Let us not content ourselves with what we have already achieved, but rather learn to better recognize the will of God (Luke 13:23, 24).
- work on our perfection and ensure that the new creation is growing within us.
The edification of the Church
As we are to work upon ourselves, we are also to edify our Church by
- participating actively in the divine services. Let us not content ourselves by merely listening to the sermon, but instead take part in the praise and worship of God and in prayers and put our whole heart into everything.
- contributing actively to the wellbeing and unity of our brothers and sisters in faith.
- proclaiming the gospel in word and deed. Let us not become discouraged even if the whole world seems to be ignoring our testimony and example.
God is with us
If we work in this manner, we will see and feel that God is with us.
- He hears our prayers and answers them.
- Jesus Christ is in the midst of those who gather in His name (Matthew 18: 20).
- The Holy Spirit is active in the divine service.
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for the Thanksgiving divine service held on Sunday, 04 October 2015 at Midrand Congregation.