Hey guys, this post has definitely tarried but I believe it is not delayed! At the start of 2020, the Lord led me to study the book of Haggai. At 2 chapters long, reading it didn't take much time but as I write this post today, my study of this book is yet to be completed. In my first bible study meeting this year, I shared this with the group as we talked about the actions of the people in this book. Neglecting to rebuild the temple of God whilst struggling to lead fulfilling lives even with all their hard work. As I read this book at the beginning of the year, I felt the message was one that was very timely; with it being the start of the year, it seemed like the best time to remind ourselves of our commitment to doing God's work and doing it well. Nine months later, the Holy Spirit is prompting me to go back and study this book again and I'm so glad to be doing so.
We all know how this year has gone so far, with the whole world still reeling from the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. No one (that I know) saw this coming and it took the church (body of Christ) by surprise when we could no longer gather in person and fellowship as normal. A few weeks in, I was reminded of why God led me to study this particular book because I saw churches trying to adapt to the absence of a physical building and trying to creatively assemble in fellowship in a way that was meaningful and impactful. I also saw the body of Christ 'scattered' as people got distracted (same as the people in Haggai's time) by the outside world and focused all of their energies on surviving, working and keeping things as normal as possible. If asked, I'm sure some would say they succeeded but is that really true?
I'm not sure churches will ever fully recover from the effects of this pandemic and if most have reflected on the way we serve God during this period, they will be asking the same questions I have been asking. Are we truly building a non-perishable, indestructible temple (body of Christ) God can dwell in (among)? Over the last 6 months, I've seen as more and more young people have struggled with church online and losing that physical fellowship and all I wanted to do was shout at the top of my voice that fellowship was never in the building. It's within our hearts and our spirit. I won't lie to you, I also struggled with adapting to the new church format; my bible study group moved from meeting in person to meeting online also. However, looking back, I feel like moving it online was the best thing to happen to the group this year. My entire focus shifted from physical presentation and presence to a spiritual one. Being in God's presence and doing God's work took on a whole new meaning during this period. I could no longer rely on the physical activities I carried out in church to assure me I was in God's will. This assurance lay firmly in carrying out the will of God in leading a bible study group and focusing on seeking God's face during the pandemic.
In terms of building the temple of God and focussing less on our own selves, I believe God is raising a new people who will be more focused on doing His will. These people will have the heart of God and will be passionate about building a true church, a unified body of Christ that will submit, humbly, to the ways of God. These new people will put the will of God above theirs and will not seek to glorify themselves. They will honour God with their lives and purpose. They will do church differently. There is a new season coming and I really pray and hope you are prepared to be a part of it. I recently found such a group of people that I believe God is using for just such a purpose; to build a body of believers who are passionate about God. Reading through Hosea Clothing's blog posts, it's so encouraging to see others with the same passion for Christ, working on building an intimate relationship and reaching out to the world with this good news! In addition to encouraging representation in a fashionable way, they share the journeys of others who are seeking an intimate relationship with God. Please check out their website and have a look at the fantastic work being done in the body of Christ!