Build yourself up!
“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life…. [He] is able to keep you from falling….” NIV
We all go through times when our faith burns low, when we just don’t sense the presence of God about us, when we just don’t feel very spiritual, when the promises of God seem a distant reality. It’s hard to say why we go through those times but I think it has to do with all the doubt and unbelief that is constantly coming against us. Our eyes and our ears are constantly being bombarded with so many ungodly things that it wears us down spiritually. Add to that the worries and cares of this life and it’s not surprising that we find ourselves spiritually flat at times.
But we are not helpless and we don’t have to stay that way. Jude 20 shows us how to fight back: it says, “build yourselves up in your most holy faith.” That means encourage yourself in your faith, speak words of faith to yourself, keep reminding yourself of what the Lord has done, what He is doing, what is to come. And pray.
Look how the men and women of God in the Bible learned to encourage themselves when their faith burned low: In Psalms 42, one struggling man of God kept speaking to himself, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God….” Another one encouraged himself by declaring, “I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Ps 91:2). Every time he found himself slipping into worry and fear, he kept reminding himself that God was his refuge and his strength. So when they found themselves weakening spiritually, they encouraged themselves and found faith to rise up, to press on.
A dear friend and man of God shared with me that when he begins to sag spiritually, he gets alone and repeats out loud to himself the promises of God – that he’s loved, saved, blessed, highly favored, that all things are working for his good, that all things are possible, that greater things are still to come. And then he repeats over himself words of prophesy that he’d been given over the years. He said you have to reaffirm yourself because no one’s going to do it for you. It’s a great way to build faith and stay encouraged.
The early Christians also found that there was no substitute for praying in the Holy Spirit. It was prayer that sustained them, built them up, kept them strong in the faith.
And we can do these things too. Whenever we find ourselves in one of those spiritually low times of our lives, we can turn things around by encouraging ourselves in our faith. I find that getting alone with God and praying in the Holy Spirit, and just worshipping Him, can be so uplifting. I immerse myself in some of those wonderful old hymns of praise and worship. I listen again to great sermons that inspire and encourage. I remind myself of the promises of God. I seek out the company of people of faith. And then I begin to soar again spiritually. All these – the nearness to God, the word of God, the worship of God – have great power to lift us out of those “down” times and build us up.
Are you in one of those spiritually low seasons of your life? Don’t stay down but rather build yourself up in your most holy faith, and pray in the Holy Spirit! Start worshipping God; fill your mouth with the sound of His praises; let your ears be filled with His Word and let your heart rejoice over Him. Soon you’ll be soaring again.