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Go Up, Bring Down & Build

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Go up into the mountains, and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored.” (Haggai 1:8; italics mine)

"Go up. . . bring down. . .build my house."

Yes, a specific imperative to the Israelite people through the prophet Haggai, but also, as I see it, a tried-and-true formula for spiritual growth.

GO UP—Go up to the mountains, up to the heavenly realm. Leave the earthly behind. Just as Moses, the man who talked to God “face to face," went up to the mountain of God, leave the camp—the myriad of distractions and clamoring noises of this life—and have your own intimate one-on-one with God, who's your Creator, Sustainer, and Father. Through prayer and meditation on His most hallowed Word, let His overwhelming presence and eternal perspective transport you to a higher, holier plain than your present earthly reality.

BRING DOWN—Bring down to your earthly reality the takeaway—the “timber,” so to speak—from the study of the Word and the counsel of the Spirit. Transport it from the heavenly realm to the earthly realm of your day-to-day life. Because what good is hewn timber if it's left on top of the mountain? No matter how lofty or potentially stabilizing, if cut down only to remain stationary and unused, nothing is ultimately accomplished, except the momentary experience of cutting the timber.

BUILD MY HOUSE—Use the “timber," the specific truth you brought down from the heavenly realm, to build His house. To build the temple of the Lord. And what is this house exactly? It’s you. It’s me. As God’s children, we are the temple of the living God (I Corinthians 3:16). An earthly body in which the very Spirit of Christ resides (I Corinthians 6:19). Partnered with daily submission and surrender, we use the heavenly timber to construct a sanctified dwelling for the Lord (Matthew 7:24; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1). It’s a lifetime build, as we daily crucify our wills to His, allowing His timber to transform our thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions into a house that’s “holy and pleasing” to Him (Romans 12:1-2). A worshipful offering for the God who's so deserving.

At times, it feels painful and seems so slow-going. After all, building a house is no quick feat and no faint-hearted, flippant task. It takes firm resolve and determined perseverance as we “work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12), “fixing our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

But what results throughout the course of our earthly lives is a house that our great God—our most merciful, gracious, loving Father—can “take pleasure in” and “be honored” through.

And, ultimately, this is why we were created.

For His good pleasure. For His great glory.

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