When I look at our world today, it’s easy to get a bad case of discouragement. Seeing a news story that makes my heart sink. Watching relationships damaged and broken. Hearing the faithless with shattered spirits utter the word no each time God knocks on their heart’s door.
It’s enough to dump a heaping load of darkness in even the most joyful day.
Even before we knew what we would face in our world, God knew. He gave us direction through Scripture that would teach us, inspire us, equip us.
I have a confession though. And I’m a little embarrassed to share it.
There are some books of the Bible I tend to skip over, because they make me feel - how should I put this?
It’s true. But I’m trying to do better. I’m praying and asking God to help me see those words with new vision. In His grace and loving-kindness, He is answering that prayer.
The book of Jude is a perfect example.
Jude begins with a harsh reminder about what happened in the past to those who rejected God. One word comes to mind when I read Jude…
I know. It’s not a popular word. He also tackles this reality. There are still people today who will face the same fate as those in the past. Truth like that can sure make the future seem bleak.
However, just as we think things are looking discouraging, Jude ends with a clear description of how we persevere through it all.
And it’s pretty simple.
I’d like to share with you these 5 things we can do when we look at the world and get discouraged. I found hope in these words, and I know you will too.
1. Build ourselves up in the faith.
“But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith…” (v. 20 NLT). God gave us a great gift when He taught us to encourage ourselves, and one another.
2. Pray in the Spirit.
“...pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,” (v. 20 NLT). We can feel the comfort of our Holy Spirit as we take every care to our Heavenly Father in prayer. He generously offers peace and hope when we feel down.
3. Keep ourselves in God's love.
“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life,” (v. 21 NKJV). We have a hope and expectancy for what will come. And today we have God's love to keep us in perfect peace and comfort.
4. Have mercy on those who doubt.
“And have mercy on those who doubt;” (v. 22 ESV). In the previous verse, Jude mentions the mercy of our Lord, and then follows that with a call for us to also have mercy to “those whose faith is wavering” (NLT).
Lord, gives us the strength to show mercy as Jesus did.
5. To others show mercy mixed with fear.
As we share the love of our Savior, we are also called to walk in a reverent fear of the Lord. The NLT version puts it this way. “Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.”
As we respond with mercy, let’s ask for God’s wisdom to guide us with a healthy balance of grace and truth.
And let’s also hold onto this concluding promise, “Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.” (v. 24)
Thank you, Lord, for the promise of your glorious presence.