The New Year is an opportunity for a new focus. Here are four thoughts from the book of Haggai that are helpful as we consider our focus for 2017:
1. Examine our lives. In Haggai 1:5-7, God instructed the Israelites twice, “Take a good, hard look at your life. … Consider your ways.” We’re to contemplate our lives–considering where we have been, where we are right now, and where we seem to be going. Ask yourself the hard questions to help you evaluate your walk with God.
2. Listen to God. In Haggai 1:12 Zerubbabel (the governor), Joshua (the high priest), and all the people “listened” (really listened) to the voice of their God. Likewise, our next step should be to pay attention to God, His Holy Spirit, and His Word, and then do what He asks. When we do, He promises to be with us (v. 13).
3. Dive in. After listening and obeying, God instructs the people in 2:4-5, “Take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord, and work! For I am with you, says the Lord of hosts.”. Individually and together we’re to recognize that God is living and breathing among us and has promised us that the end–the finished work of God–will be even more glorious than the beginning and give us peace (v. 9).
4. Pursue holiness. Finally, in 2:10-19 God makes it clear that the way to experience His blessing is to pursue personal holiness. We’re exhorted not to get off-track, become contaminated, drag our feet, or ignore God’s leading. Instead, we’re to go forward wholeheartedly–even when things look hard or seem to go topsy-turvy–knowing that God has chosen us for His work and that He will help us accomplish the things He has prepared for us to do. And in Haggai 2:23 the Lord reminds us that He has chosen us as His people.