This morning I came across an old devotional I had posted in October of 2015. It is too much to explain how I came upon it or why I wanted to share it, but I did want to share it again with some small revisions.
I read Utmost for His Highest today and looked at the opening verse. It was Jude 20, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,” and I had to dig a bit deeper into Jude.
The devotional was excellent. It speaks to holding on, in all circumstances, to God’s grace. However, what got my attention were the words of Jude.
Follow the Holy Spirit
I have always felt for him because he desired to speak words of encouragement, but God has called him to speak a word of warning to the chosen, and he was obedient. Instead of sharing what he desires he follows the will of God.
Jude warns us in his introduction of what we face.
Jude 1:3-4 (ESV)
3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
What an ominous warning he shared. But it is true. There are so many that speak false doctrine and mislead people. Some are malicious and manipulate people with false doctrine. They ask that questions “Did God REALLY say this or that?” Others I think to rely on people to tell them the answer instead of seeking the truth for themselves, deceiving themselves.
He reminds us of what to be mindful of, and one of my favorite verses in this warning is verse
Jude 1:9 (ESV)
9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”
That verse reminds me that I do not battle with my strength. My strength comes from God. It is not myself that I must rely on, but in God and I must place all my trust in Him.
There is this battle raging, and it seems so many are unarmed. The only hope is to know God thru His Word. To cling to Him, but so few have time. They don’t like to read, or they are too busy, but we need food and water for our bodies to thrive and even more, we need God’s Word for our spirit to thrive.
Jude does offer encouragement at the end of this letter. In my Bible it is titled “A Call to Persevere” it begins in the 20th verse.
Jude 1:20-23 (ESV)
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
There are so many that strive to mislead. They twist the truth to make their point. Their only power is that which we give them. God warns us “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Eph 6:11 (ESV). That is so much more than relying on someone else to tell us what to think. Nowhere in that passage does it say that.
I give thanks for God’s Word. Some days I struggle to study. I have such difficulty with keeping focus. But I thank God for helping me through those difficult times and the reward He shares with me when I study and pray… even if it is a verse or two, I am blessed. God is good.
Father, help us hold fast to your Words in Jude. Let us not get careless with our hearing when people try to share false doctrine or mislead us with half-truths. Father, please help us always test everything we hear or read against your Holy Word, our only true source of truth. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen!