"But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying 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."
I was extremely anxious on my daughter's first day at school. I was not sure if she’ll be alright without her parents being near her. My little girl’s hand was firmly clasped in mine as we crossed the threshold of her classroom. And guess what? I was not alone. A dozen others, parents like myself, were as anxious as I was.
Jude, like an anxious parent, was very concerned for God’s children. He was concerned for their salvation and eternal life. He knew that they had faith, but there were also many threats that they would face that could harm their faith, thus their eternal life (v.19). To this, Jude urged the Christians: keep yourself in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. But how were they to do it? Jude gave two key instructions:
- By building yourself in the most holy faith
- Praying in the Holy Spirit
The first implied a personal responsibility to build and strengthen our faith. If you understand strength or stamina development in physical exercises, you will realize that building faith requires a certain amount of pressure (tension). Meaning, to build faith you need to be put in a position where faith is required and practiced. It is in this time of testing that we will develop a greater dependency on the Holy Spirit, and God’s Word. Faith is forged and refined in difficult and challenging situations. Remember this, God will supply your faith with His strength by His Spirit and Word.
The second implied our position and identity we have in the kingdom and family of God. To pray in the Holy Spirit means that we have a relationship with the Father in the identity we have received by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:15-16 tells us that we who have received the Holy Spirit call God, “Abba, Father.” And this same Holy Spirit helps us in our prayer and weaknesses. This prayer life in the Spirit helps us to recognize our true identity, belonging, and source of power, thus anchoring our faith in Jesus. Remember this, God hears the call of His children; those who know Him and are known by Him.
Friends, these may be familiar advice but we do well to take them to heart and apply them regularly. I am a parent and have a habit of repeating some basic advice to my children because they are fundamental to their growth and present-future success. The same goes with today’s reading from Jude. Whatever is repeated in the Bible requires our attention and action. In this case, build your faith and pray in the Holy Spirit always.
The Lord be with you. Amen.