“If you’re serious about sanctification, you can expect to experience heart-wrenching moments that try your faith, your endurance, and your patience.” ~ Sheri L. Dew
There are many people who believe that they are good, upright Christians. They believe that because they go to Mass on weekends and on Holy Days of Obligation. They believe that because they contribute in the weekly collection. However, if examined closely – and, don’t forget, some day we all will be examined quite closely by God! – they would find that their claims of being good, upright Christians are not quite true.
That would be because, while they worship on Sunday, their faith in God is not that strong. They also put their faith in the world. They do things that go against the teaching of the faith. They may cheat others at their businesses or lead others astray by word and deed. Their faith in God might be, at best, lukewarm.
Lukewarm Christians are the easiest people to sway. When someone flashy comes their way, they might find themselves leaving the practice of their faith behind in order to join someone else. Many of these dynamics were happening in the days of the Prophet Elijah. He found himself pitted against others who had gone astray and who had, in fact, given themselves over to the worship of Baal. These prophets were seeking to kill Elijah because his words and his life were diametrically opposed to all that they taught and lived.
The symbol for the Jesse Tree today is a fire. This symbol is representative of the conflict between the Prophet Elijah and the Prophets of Baal. If you remember the story, Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to make an altar and put their sacrifice on the altar and beseech Baal to send down fire to consume the sacrifice. All the chanting, dancing, and self-immolating that the prophets did accomplished nothing.
After their attempt, Elijah had his sacrifice and altar doused with copious amounts of water and called upon the Lord. Fire came down from heaven and consumed sacrifice and altar, scorching the land, and proving that God, not Baal, was the only true God.
What God do we serve? Do we merely pay our God lip service on Sundays but fall into the practices of the world the rest of the week? It is time to take a true check on our faith to see if our lives consistently reflect what we say we believe.
FAITH ACTION: Spend some time with God today in silent prayer, asking Him to illumine the areas of your life that need to change so that you might become closer to Him.