Yesterday we considered the troubled times we are in, where there are false leaders and teachers working to divide us from each other and from the love of Jesus. Some of these leaders do not even realize that they are puppets in the hands of the enemy and teach what they have come to accept as the truth. But their “truth” is not based on the Word of God but instead on mere human instinct that allows them to continue in sin. Today I want us to consider our responsibility in the face of this because we will not be allowed to blame our downfall on anyone else. We are not like children who can be so easily led astray. We have intelligence, will power and the ability to think and make decisions for ourselves. If we enter into sin we do so of our own accord, just like Eve, and we will not get away with blaming Satan or any of his workers.
The thing we must avoid is spiritual weakness. You know the days I am talking about, when you allow everything else to take priority over your “one on one” time with the Lord. You set aside the Word for other activities; you don’t have time for worship; you avoid a few opportunities to share your testimony because of time. You do this for a few days, maybe even a week and you start to feel pretty stretched, a bit thin, spiritually tired. It is as you have grown distant from God that the enemy will take advantage of you. It is at this time we need to consider Jude’s words:
But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (Jude 1:20-21)
There is nothing passive about our relationship with the Father. It is an active thing that we must continue to work on every day. Jude tells us to “build yourselves up in your most holy faith”, and there is a method to doing this. You need to know the Word, speak the Word and act on the Word. There is a web site that I came across that gives these instructions for building up our faith on those days we feel thin:
“Let God's word tell you who you are and what you have. Don't give any attention to anything that tells you differently. God's word is true.
- Acknowledge, agree with, recognise, confess and speak, the word of God
- Choose to see yourself as God sees you
- Speak out these truths even when you don't yet see the reality” – (http://www.christianlifecoaching.co.uk/build-your-faith.html)
This same web site also gives you a list of truths about who you are in Christ for you to confess, believe and walk in every day. It is the daily reminder of who we are and how our Father sees us that is so important to staying healthy, fit and active in our daily living. Jesus never intended that we would separate ourselves from the world because we have been called to be his witnesses to the world but it does mean we have to work really hard to avoid being corrupted by this world. Knowing the Word, confessing the Word, seeing ourselves through the Father’s eyes as we find in the Word is essential if we are going to make it to the end. Jude also reminds us that we have to be in this healthy state in order to carry out our mission, which is an active mission:
Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. (Jude 1:22-23)
We have to get ourselves healthy so that we are not so preoccupied with ourselves all the time. We need to be healthy because we are in the rescue business as partners with our Father. We are co-workers in the salvation of this world before the day of destruction. What good are we if we are always in the hospital ward ourselves? There are those who need rescuing and the Father has called us to do the work along with him. We are neglecting our duties when we allow ourselves to grow thin and sickly in our relationship with our Father. We are called to be mighty warriors, spiritual giants, men and women who understand their purpose and give themselves fully to it. But that only happens when we understand that the work begins with our daily work out, with building up our faith in the same way that rescue workers must build up their muscles and stay in top physical condition. This doesn’t happen with eating potato chips on a couch in front of the television. We will not stay spiritual fit by filling ourselves with junk food instead of the meat of God. Do yourselves a bit favour, take out the Word today and give yourself an excellent work out. You will feel better for doing it and you will be better prepared for today’s assignment.