Jude 1:20, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, . . .”
I truly love how Jude starts this section now as it relates not to apostates or false teachers, but rather the chosen of God. This is the second time he writes, “But you, beloved . . “ which as you can tell is tying in with what he previously wrote to what he is about to state. This is a continuation of his thoughts already established, yet departing because they are meant to be of particular use to those in the Church, those walking in Christ Jesus.
He told us as believers to remember the teachings of the apostles and of the Lord Jesus Christ and now he goes on to instruct us in four ways or steps in which we can live in the fellowship established in the previous verses. I sincerely love the way he has laid this out.
The first, “building yourselves up on your most holy faith.” In other words, our faith as it is based on Scriptural and Christian principles. You might ask how do we build ourselves up and yet that is a foundation of our salvation and continuing sanctification. We do it today by fellowship with one another and by reading AND studying the Word of God AND by encouraging one another in that Word.
I have said it an awful lot lately it seems with my ministering to others as a whole, but you cannot know the written Word OR the Living Word if you do not spend time in the written or with the Living Word of God. It is that continued fellowship and familiarity that draws us closer to Christ Jesus and thus to our Heaven Father which is the ultimate purpose and goal. If you leave either one of these “communions” out of your life, you are only living a partial life and NOT the life Christ Jesus meant for you, in abundance.
Constant and continual familiarity with the Word guides us positively in the ways of righteousness and it warns us of possible and likely perils and dangerous paths along life’s journey. If you are relying strictly on what you believe is a trusted source other than the Word for yourself, there is absolutely no way you can determine that other “source,” whether it be a person or article is truly trustworthy. You have to be familiar with the TRUTH of the Word for yourself because when we stand at the final judgment for believers and have to give account, telling the Lord “but I got that idea from this source or this person,” is NOT going to cut it in the end!
The great writer, Shakespeare in his play, Hamlet stated this often quoted (and paraphrased) statement; “To your own self be true.” While this is not a Scripture, we each are going to be accountable for our own actions and beliefs. They are either based on the TRUTH of the Word of God, or on what others may have said is that Word and truth. The fact remains without the personal knowledge yourself, you are playing an eternal form of Russian Roulette. The only true Judge in the end, will be the Living Word, Jesus Christ, The Word of God!
The second step that Jude lays forth is that a believer should be “praying in the Holy Spirit.” Now, contrary to my Pentecostal and Charismatic brothers and sisters of whom I count myself as one to a degree (I’m sorry, but apart FROM the denominations), Jude is NOT talking here about praying in your personal individual Spirit tongue. (Sorry to my OTHER mainstream denominational brothers and sisters who DON’T believe in this gift.)
This is where it is so important to actually STUDY the Word and I’m not talking about digging into the Greek and so forth, though it is helpful if you do, but rather cross-checking Scriptures with other Scriptures dealing with a subject and taking those Scriptures in the CONTEXT of which they are written and thus inspired BY the Holy Spirit.
Here for instance, Jude is referring to the practice of praying in a direction or in accordance with the will of God, our Heavenly Father as written countless times in the Word, the Bible, AND/OR as you are “in tune” with the Holy Spirit, to follow His guidance and direction in what to pray for specifically. We must always remember to pray according to God’s will and to pray fervently and sincerely whenever we go before the Father for our requests.
Now, this is in contrast to prayers which are recited mechanically, prayers that are prayed by rote or memory because you have done it so long, you don’t actually need to think about them or as happens often, prayers that are just “spun off” without any real or sincere spiritual involvement because they SOUND pious or religious.
Now I’m going to give you an example here from my past to show you what I mean. I’m truly sorry if it offends the sensibilities of my TRUE brothers and sisters in a few denominations, but if you accept the truth, you should be freed from any bondage, religion has tied you up in.
I was saved, born-again, spiritually reborn, however YOU are comfortable with a term, right before my seventeenth birthday, oh so many years ago. I was born to Catholic parents (though my mother who died when I was three went to other churches – I think I got it from her), and my dad and (step)mom seen that as a family my brothers and sisters attended the local Catholic parish regularly. Dad NEVER went, but he was staunch that we did. I went through all the rituals available to a youth my age at that time and even had thoughts of becoming a priest.
However, I remember VERY clearly saying my prayers like what is referred too as the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Apostle’s Creed and a couple of others and I had them down to memory by the time I was sixteen that I could recite them over and over and over again while thinking about other things completely. The became rather convenient during “confession” when given a certain amount of prayers to say so I could be “absolved” from my recent confessed sins. This was of course before I learned of 1 Timothy 2:5, which was the Scripture that the Holy Spirit used to open my eyes.
The point is, that while I could recite a number of prayers over and over, I gave very little thought to them and could only wait until I got through the list of them. Now, I know my youth had a play in that, BUT, there are those today, who are much older than I was who have confided in the same thing. It was like we were fulfilling an obligation, a religious obligation to be sure, but there was NOTHING spiritual about it at all.
Now I realize what is known as the Lord’s prayer was given not as an example but rather as a PATTERN and it has helped me tremendously in my prayer life unto this day. You LEARN how to go before the Father and you start to sincerely think about what is in your heart and how to relate that, not to sound pious or religious, but so that you are aware of giving the Father His honor due, glorifying Him sincerely and NOT just being greedy to run straight ahead for what YOU want. You learn to pray for His will and to trust that His will IS what’s best! You truly become focused on others and their needs and when you have prayed like that long enough, the pattern and NOT the words, become a part of you. You truly do start to COMMUNE with our Heavenly Father and not just “talk” at Him.
Romans 8:26-27 is a perfect Scripture for this and though many Pentecostals use this to confirm their belief that this means “praying in tongues,” I’m sorry but you need to remember WHY you pray in tongues. Of ALL the spiritual gifts, the so-called praying in tongues is SELF-EDIFYING. Did you catch that? It is the ONE and only spiritual gift given to build yourself up and NOT the Church as a whole or the Body of Christ. People have taken the one selfish gift (yes, I said selfish) to build a whole doctrine upon and while they are built up, the Church is falling down around them! My Pentecostal and Charismatic brothers and sisters NEED to go back and read about where the REAL Holy Spirit power is! And no, I am not denying the truth of the spiritual gift of an unknown tongue, but I AM telling you to put it where it belongs in the scope of the spiritual gifts for it is the LEAST of spiritual gifts, according to the Word of God! Many have made the “selfish” gift to be the greatest and have used it to confirm the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Oh people, get back in you Bibles and read what happened on Pentecost and then what happened thereafter. Read where the REAL Spiritual power lies and use THAT to confirm the Baptism of the Holy Spirit!
Sorry for the departure, but Paul wrote this, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” – Romans 8:26-27.
Now instead of concentrating on “groanings which cannot be uttered,” which means just what it says, concentrate on the key to the sentence. The Holy Spirit helps us because a weakness of the flesh is not knowing what or how we should pray. So HE, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf and it is He, not us, who makes the “groanings which cannot be uttered.”
When we have the Holy Spirit abiding in us, in our heart and spirit, God the Father knows the mind of His own Spirit within us and thus the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us concerning God’s will! This is a part of the acknowledging and walking in the Spirit! It has nothing to do with one of the spiritual gifts! It is no wonder there is so much division between denominations and why there is little unity and thus little spiritual power. Stop PLAYING church and start BEING the Church!
I am sorry if I lose friends and brothers and sisters over this truth I have taught. However, I DO pray and I do follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and I do my best to follow not just the “letter of the Word, but the actual Spirit of the Word.”
Take to heart what I’ve written, search the truth for yourselves and do not rely on the traditions you have followed for so long, no matter how well-meaning they have been. The Bride of Christ needs to arise with the Power that she has because of her closeness to Christ Jesus, the Bridegroom.
God Bless until next time.