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Build, Pray, Keep and Wait

Jude 20-21
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. (NIV)

Opposition can be paralysing. We can be like frightened animals, hiding and motionless while danger threatens. But that was not the example of Jesus or the Apostles. Jude saw how the church was in danger of being swept away from true faith by the false teachers, but also recognised the danger of spiritual paralysis as faithful believers might be tempted to hide away. Instead they needed to keep building up their faith.

Building faith is like building muscles: the more you use them, the stronger they become. Lift heavier weights and the body will grow stronger. In the same way, opposition is allowed so that we may trust Jesus more and grow stronger. Instead of sinking into self-pity or being frightened of taking any action, we should pray; and when we do not know how to pray, we look to the Holy Spirit to help us (Romans 8:26-27). God’s love is our only totally secure place: believe it, keep there and trust Him. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Waiting should be one of the most active parts of our faith. When we are secure in God’s love, the waiting time is quiet and peaceful. It gives us the opportunity to be active in resisting the temptation to run, hide, compromise or sin by pursuing self-defence mechanisms. It encourages our prayer as we expect the Holy Spirit to reveal what is true, to comfort, strengthen and empower. Waiting in faith grows our confidence that God will win the victory and meanwhile will use the time of testing to strengthen our faith. The final chapter of the story is in God’s hands: it is His job to bring us safely to His eternal home. So whatever the dilemma you face, keep on facing it in the security of God’s love, learning to trust even though it hurts, praying in the Spirit, and waiting for God’s answer.

Loving Lord. Thank You for Your unfailing love which is revealed most strongly during times of difficulty and opposition. I am sorry when I allow problems to overcome me and make me ineffective in Your kingdom. Please help me to trust You more when I face opposition of any kind, and help me to see that You allow difficulties in order to make me stronger through Your love. Help me to look to the Holy Spirit so that I will pray in line with Your will, and to grow in faith as I wait for Your answers. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams