REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on August 8, 2015, is provided by Joanna Tzen, a friend of AMI, who attended and served at Grace Covenant Church for a long time.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Digging Our Spiritual Heels in Anticipation of What Will Surely Come”
But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
Every fall at Grace Covenant Church (Philadelphia), we have an event called Mini-Olympics. The event that everyone waits for is the tug of war. Participants are usually weary at this point, as it is about five hours in and is the last event. It is such an epic event because you can see large men digging their heels into the mud, grunting and straining not to go down. But sometimes even when they put in all their effort, it’s still not enough.
Jude knew about circumstances when human effort is not enough. This passage tells us this: It is certain that the church will face difficult times. There will be mockers and scoffers and those who seek to divide. However, Jude does not advise us to react with human wisdom or effort. Jude’s prescription is not active or passive or offensive; instead, I would call it defensive. Jude suggests we should build up our faith and rely on the Lord instead of ourselves. He exhorts readers to establish their faith in truth, pray in the Spirit, and keep themselves in the love of God. By no means does Jude suggest that we keep to ourselves in a holy huddle. After we are strengthened in Jesus, he commands that we look outward, showing mercy, compassion and humility as we share the salvation that comes through Jesus.
Isn’t this a tall order? How is this possible? This is only possible from the work of the Holy Spirit. Only when we are filled with the Spirit, can we be like Christ and offer Christ to others. So, as we start each day, let’s earnestly ask the Lord to fill us with the same Spirit that was exerted in Christ when God raised him from the dead (Eph. 1:20).
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me when I try to rely on my own efforts and think it is enough. Help me to humbly keep myself in the truth, love and mercy of Jesus. I know it is only when I sit at Your feet that I can be used for the kingdom of God. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 64