“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 1:20-21).
It seems there are so many opportunities in this earthly existence to be “torn down.” It is hard to maintain a consistent attitude of optimism and faith in the middle of all the chaos and bad news that pummels us daily. The world is getting worse, the enemy feels nearer, and our flesh certainly doesn’t cooperate! If it’s not another “creak”, “crack” or ailment of the physical body, it’s the emotional and mental attack on our self-esteem and confidence in ourselves from many outside sources: peers, family, work, school, you name it. And it seems, at times, to be never ending.
So, what is the answer? As with all things, we look to the Word of God for our direction and understanding. The Bible tells us that King David “encouraged himself in the Lord” when being threatened with death by stoning. Paul said that he “thinks himself happy.” And lest we think that it’s all about just positive thinking, we can see that the Bible teaches us how we can “build ourselves up.” Let’s look at three things that we can utilize to encourage ourselves in the Lord:
In Acts 20:32, Paul says: “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” The first thing we can utilize to build ourselves up is the WORD of God (called “the word of his grace” in the scripture above). It’s no secret that the Word of God builds us up. It is so important for all Christians, but especially newer Christians, to build a habit of reading, studying and memorizing the Word of God. People, before coming to God, filled their life with many activities that are not conducive to “building up”. These activites must be “replaced” with Spiritual things that will strengthen, encourage, and help us to grow in grace. Time spent daily in God’s Word is vital.
Our opening Scripture from Jude gives us insight into the next two things: FAITH and PRAYER. We must build ourselves up ON something – on faith! We are now learning to trust in God, not in ourselves. We don’t lean on our own understanding, but lean on God’s ways and God’s thoughts – which are much higher than ours. And let’s be honest, faith isn’t easy. Faith doesn’t make sense. Faith might seem a little radical. Just ask Peter – it is physically impossible, and against the laws of physics, to “walk” on the water. But Peter did it, by faith – and by keeping his eyes on Jesus! And don’t forget, we are taught in the Word that we “walk by faith, and not by sight.” If you are feeling the need to build yourself up, to encourage yourself in the Lord, try walking by faith – trust God again.
And finally, Jude teaches that building ourselves up can be accomplished by “praying in the Holy Ghost”. What does this mean? First of all, daily PRAYER is also vital to our spiritual existence. We must spend time each day talking with God, which includes (don’t forget!) listening as well! God desires a relationship with his children. Daily communication with Him builds up our spirit, as well as our understanding and clarity of His purpose in our lives. But what does it mean to pray in the Holy Ghost? It means that each day we should yield ourselves to the Lord in prayer until we speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gives utterence. Praying in the Spirit helps tremendously in building oursleves up. Feeling a little down? Get alone with God and pray until you are speaking in other tongues. Let the Lord intercede through you. Build yourself up by yielding yourself to God!
One final thought: the Bible says that “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Sometimes we allow guilt and condemnation to tear us down, because we know to do these things and don’t do them…so we feel that we’ve sinned. Make up your mind today, YOU have the power to build yourself up, to think yourself happy, to encourage yourself in the Lord, simply by doing what you know to do! Let us encourage one another, pray one for another, and build each other up! YOU CAN DO IT. God knows you can. I know you can. And YOU know you can. Be blessed.