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Beyond the Rub-Off Effect (Haggai 2:10-14)

Today, we’re going to take a fascinating journey into the ancient wisdom found in the book of Haggai. In these verses, we're going to unravel a truth that might challenge some of our assumptions about holiness. So grab a seat and let's dive in.

In Haggai 2:10-14, we find the prophet Haggai addressing a pivotal question about holiness. He's chatting with those who are diligently rebuilding the temple, and he uses a rather curious illustration. Imagine someone carrying a piece of meat – a nice juicy steak, let's say. If that meat touches something that's considered holy, you might think the holiness would transfer, right? But Haggai throws us a curveball – holiness doesn't work that way. It's not contagious like a yawn in a crowded room. If the meat comes into contact with something unclean, though, that uncleanliness spreads like wildfire. This sets the stage for the main point he's about to tell us.

So, what's the big takeaway? Brace yourselves, because here it is: holiness isn't a game of tag where you can just pass it on. You can't do a bunch of holy activity and expect your holiness to rub off on your neighbor like an infectious smile. That's not how it works. Haggai’s words are crystal clear – only God has the power to make us truly holy. It's not about our efforts, our actions, or even our good intentions. It's about a divine transformation orchestrated by a holy God.

Let's bring this home with a relatable example. Think about that friend who's all about healthy living. They're crunching kale and lifting weights like it's going out of style. Hanging out with them won't automatically make you a health nut. You can't munch on kale chips while watching them pump iron and expect to wake up with their discipline and vitality. But if you let your habits slip and dive headfirst into a sea of potato chips and soda, you might find yourself joining them on the couch, rather than the gym.

Now, let's peel back the layers and apply this wisdom to our world today. The truth of the matter is: just as consecrated meat can’t transfer its holiness to other objects, coming from a Christian family doesn't automatically make us born-again Christians. Holiness just doesn’t transfer from one object to another like sin can. Likewise, going to church every week doesn't guarantee a spiritual transformation. That doesn’t transfer either. It's not about religious routines, traditions, or even the labels we wear. It's about something deeper, something soul-changing. The truth is, we can't sprinkle our holiness onto others like confetti at a parade. We can't gift-wrap our faith for someone else. It's only through a life-changing connection with a holy God, through the redemptive power of Jesus' sacrifice, that we can truly be made holy. It's not about carrying out a checklist of religious actions, but about embracing a relationship with the One who is holy. There’s simply no other way to get it.

So, let's set aside the notion that we can casually pass on holiness like a trendy meme. Instead, let's lean into the reality that only God has the power to transform us from the inside out. It's His holiness that radiates through us, His grace that changes us, and His love that compels us to live a life that reflects His character. That’s the only way it works.

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