God knew that we would need edifying and building up regularly to prevent us slipping into a negative attitude and frame of mind. He knew how hard it was going to be at times to keep standing in the midst of opposition, the busyness of life, and the doubts that so often hammer away at our spiritual life. But God doesn’t want us to beat ourselves up, but to build ourselves up.
So He said to do some things to enable us to keep running our race, and to remain strong and healthy. God gives some clear guidelines in the bible on how to stay strong and how to live out our faith everyday. Jude 20-23 explains some things to focus on pretty simply.
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (NKJV)
v22 “Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way.”
v23 Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.” (The message)
I always find it helpful to break down each part of God’s word into bite size pieces so that I can digest it properly and not miss what God is wanting to tell me. It’s line-by-line, precept-by-precept, and day-by-day that we grow and become strong, much like how we become physically fit and strong in the natural. If we rush trying to read it, and don’t bother to study out and seek to understand God’s instructions and guidance we will miss things.
The first part of that passage in Jude 20 says, “building yourselves up on your most holy faith”.
How do we build ourselves up? There are a number of ways to get strong, just as there are numerous ways to build muscle in our physical bodies; but some methods prove to be more effective than others.
When building up our faith there is no more effective way than to read and study the bible, and seek to build upon what we already understand about God and what He says in His word. Then He says go and live out what it says.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
25 But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.” (James 1:22-25 The Message)
I find it helpful to:
Read different bible translations to look at what God is saying from every angle. The New King James, New Living Translation, The Message Bible, The Amplified Bible, The New International Version and more line my bookshelf, and regularly all get laid out on my bed as I study out a verse.
Listen to preaching that builds your faith and trust in God. God uses others who are more mature in an area of their faith to help us grow.
Surround yourself with faith filled people who actually believe God and what His word says.
Seek to discover and grow in an area of your life that you know you may need to strengthen up in.
If you worry, go to God’s word and find out why He says not to worry. If it’s struggles with sickness, seek out why and how Jesus says He is your healer. If it’s your relationships, kids, or work, go to God and his word and get understanding, wisdom and strength in what He says.
I’ve discovered that people can have it all according to the standards of the world. They may look amazing; have a wonderful partner, kids, a home, and money to spend on whatever they wish. But if their spiritual and faith life is lacking, and in a weakened state then all the trappings of a “successful life” don’t amount to much. They don’t have the resources of a strong spiritual life to undergird their life, and all the “success” in the world can’t help them when they are faced with the real challenges of life. Sadly the more depleted or empty we allow our spiritual life to become, the greater the emptiness and inability to deal with “real life” becomes. God wants better for us, and if we just listen and take the time with Him, we can become far stronger and more capable than we could possibly imagine.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29)
Today, examine where you at spiritually; be honest with yourself and God, and understand that He doesn’t want you to be in a stagnant state, or worse remain empty inside. Make a decision today to do something about building into your spiritual life by asking Jesus to fill the void. Then choose to concentrate on building your faith little by little, day by day. Believe me if you do, very soon you won’t recognise yourself for the spiritual heavy weight you have become.
Prayer: Lord help me to face facts and be honest about my spiritual condition. I ask that you help me to build my faith and trust in you as I spend time with you, and reading your word today. In Jesus Name Amen.