November 4, 2022

Intentional Faith: How You Can Stand Strong

By Skip Heitzig

Falling down is part of life. Every human being does it when they're learning how to walk. But just as certain conditions make falling down easier physically, there are certain conditions that make falling down spiritually easier, too.

I believe the church today is more susceptible than ever to people falling away. There is an enormous amount of biblical ignorance and illiteracy. Discernment, depth, and doctrine have given way to dazzle. Yet we need the real deal. We need Bible truth, full strength, holding nothing back. So how do we stand strong when others are falling? The New Testament author Jude gave us some principles I want to draw your attention to:

1. Keep building your faith. "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith" (Jude 1:20). Most things in life require regular maintenance or they fall to ruin. So it is with our spiritual life. Christian growth is not automatic; it must be intentional. When other people are forsaking the faith, you and I need to be fortifying our faith.

2. Keep praying with fervor. Verse 20 continues on to say, "Praying in the Holy Spirit." Why is prayer so important, especially when God knows your needs anyway? Because He loves dependence. He loves to be asked. He "resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5). And to pray in the Holy Spirit simply means to let the Holy Spirit guide you so that you're asking not for your will to be done in heaven but for God's will to be done on earth (see Matthew 6:9-10).

3. Keep living in favor. "Keep yourselves in the love of God" (v. 21). Jude here wasn't saying to keep yourself saved, because you can't. Nor was he saying to keep yourself in a place where God can love you, because He loved you when you were at your worst (see Romans 5:8). Jude was saying keep yourself in a place where you are experiencing and enjoying the love of God. Let the thought that God loves you dominate your life. Remind yourself of it frequently. And even more than that, respond to His love by obeying Him.

4. Keep expecting the future. "Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life" (v. 21). Jude here was referring to the coming of Jesus Christ for His saints. We should be eagerly anticipating and longing for that return. In fact, this is one of the most purifying ways you can live (see 1 John 3:3).

5. Keep reaching the faithless. "And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh" (vv. 22-23). Jude was saying that those who pose the greatest menace to the church can often become the greatest mission of the church (see James 5:19-20). If someone is wavering in the faith, we don't antagonize them; we have compassion and evangelize them. If they're obstinately rebellious, we're more confronting—"Your house is on fire—get out."

The bottom line is that falling into water isn't what drowns a person; it's staying in it. In the same way, it's not falling into sin but lying in it that will destroy your soul. So if you have fallen, you can get up. The solution is to turn around and follow the Savior. Confess to Him your doubts, your fears, your rebellion, and let Him deal with it all. Believe me, He can handle it, and He's longing for you to come home.

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