This morning I went back and looked at some of my old writings. As I looked through the list I stumbled on this one that I wrote in October of 2015. It speaks to our need to Persevere. I was compelled to share it again… with a few additions that I felt led to add as I reviewed the scriptures and devotional. It originally began with the October 21 devotional from “Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers.
“Utmost for His Highest”, and Where It Lead
I reread Utmost for His Highest today (Devotional for October 21) and looked at the leading 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. But what got my attention were the words of Jude…
Obedience of Jude
I have always felt for Jude because his desire was to speak words of encouragement, but God had called him to speak a word of warning to the chosen… and he was obedient.
Jude warned the Christians of his day in his introduction. That warning still applies today. 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. They ask questions like, “Did God REALLY say this or that?” Others share only what they hear and do not search for the truth in their own study. They rely on people to tell them the answer. They test nothing against the scriptures themselves and set themselves up to be deceived. Even the best preacher can only teach what they know and understand from God’s Word. We are under obligation to test everything. I like what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 (ESV).
“16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.”
He reminds us of what to be mindful of…
Jude verse 9 is another great illustration. It pokes holes in my pride and from where I get my strength.
“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.”” Jude 1:9
As I read this verse it is very humbling. The archangel Michael, standing against the devil, does not presume to stand alone. He knows that source of infinite power comes from God alone. If he trusts that to be true, how can I not do the same? We are in a battle of light and darkness… truth and lies… love and hate… I want to be certain I stand with God.
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… Even more, we need God’s Word for our spirit to thrive.
Jude does offer encouragement in the end of this letter…. In my translation, the English Standard Bible, the heading of the closing section is “A Call to Persevere”. It begins in the 20th verse…
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; 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.” Ephesians 6:11 (ESV). What a serious warning that is. If we truly believe the Word and recognize that we are in a war, we must train. But not physical training, but spiritual, “12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 ESV).
I give thanks for God’s Word. Some days I really struggle to study. I have such difficulty with keeping focus. But I thank God for helping me in those difficult times and the reward He shares with me when I study and pray… even if it is only a verse or two… I am blessed. God is good.
I liked the close of the devotional in, “Utmost for His Highest”, for October 21. It is very encouraging to me and a reminder that we must hold on to Christ Jesus and trust in him in all things; big and small…
“We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises— human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God— but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people— and this is not learned in five minutes.”
It takes me back to Ephesians 6:11-13
“11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
God bless and keep you!