To Him Who Is Able To Keep You From Falling
If you struggle to train your children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), it is so important to remember that the Father who loves you more than you can comprehend has a perfect plan for them – and for your family! No matter what struggles you may be going through, the Word of God can help you to be completely triumphant in Christ Jesus. Every day brings us closer to the Lord’s return. Are you preparing your children to walk in faith for the rest of their lives on this earth? Do they know how to stand against the temptations and trials that the enemy will send their way? Is your family a light on a hill that is leading lost people to Jesus? The book of Jude has some powerful instructions and encouragement for us in these last days:
"But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, ‘In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.’ These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 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. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen" (Jude 1:17-25).
There are some clear ways that we can take this passage of Scripture and live it out in ways that will transform our families. First, however, we must examine how to protect ourselves from the ungodly who would divide us and lead us away from doing the will of the Father. Verses 17-19 describe how the enemy would try to trip us up and render us ineffective for the kingdom. These are perilous days that we live in, and treacherous times are ahead. It is vital to train our children in righteousness so that they can walk in victory.
• "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires" (2 Peter 3:3). There are many who do not want to embrace the absolute truth of God’s Word since it would mean a change in their own behaviors or lifestyles. They criticize and blaspheme the Lord. Will your children listen to them?
• "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons" (1 Timothy 4:1). This is happening at alarming rates because we are not passing on faith that our children embrace as their own. As many as three in four of our children are walking away from their faith when they leave our homes. Children must have their own walk of faith that is firmly grounded and separate from ours.
• Timothy goes on to say, "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them" (2 Timothy 3:1-5). In our hedonistic culture, these things are not surprising to us. It is more difficult than ever for believers to be pure and holy when everything around us screams "indulge yourself, put yourself first, spend more…" among many other damaging messages. Our children and families are bombarded continually in the media, in schools, and in our neighborhoods with messages that believing in Jesus is only for the weak and uninformed. How do we stand firm in the midst of the "scoffing"? Jude gives us some powerful ways to combat the work of the enemy in our midst:
1. "Build yourselves up in your most holy faith" (Jude 1:20a). It is vital that Christian families stand together in strong faith, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and that what He says is absolute truth! How do you build strong faith in your children? You must determine that the priority of your household is to follow Christ. Our culture lives by what can be seen…we live by faith in the One we cannot see, except with the eyes of our hearts: "We live by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7).
• Our faith will continually be tested: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-4). Teach your children how to persevere in their struggles by demonstrating it to them with your own lives. For their sakes, you must stand firm when trials come. They will know if your faith is weak or strong.
• Faith is a strong defense against the enemy: "In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one" (Ephesians 6:16). Teach your children to put on their armor! Strong faith will help your family to stand when the enemy tries to steal, kill or destroy! There will be times of difficulty in life, and training our children how to handle such struggles will give them a firm faith: "Resist him [the devil], standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast" (1 Peter 5:9-10).
• Because of Jesus, we have full access to the Father: "In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence" (Ephesians 3:12). We can come to Him anytime. Sometimes we just want to sit in His Presence and enjoy being with Him. Other times we come to have conversation with Him. We can ask Him to strengthen our faith, because it is in His will to answer such a prayer! Here are some good prayers to pray for and with your family to build faith: "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…" (Ephesians 3:14-17a). "With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).
2. "Pray in the Holy Spirit" (Jude 1:20b). Another way to combat the working of the enemy in your midst is to continually remember that the Holy Spirit lives in all believers as a teacher and a comforter. We can count on the power of the Holy Spirit to be available to us whether we are weak or strong, confident or uncertain: "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will" (Romans 8:26-27).
As we stand firm in faith, we are instructed to pray very specifically on all occasions and for all believers: "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18).
3. "Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life" (Jude 1:21). Loving God is the primary focus for every believer. This relationship is to be above all others. Our children will learn this as they see it demonstrated in our lives: "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
The teaching of Jesus is clear: "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:35). Jude has also given us the challenge of loving those who do not yet know Jesus in a personal way:
1. "Be merciful to those who doubt" (Jude 1:22). "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36). If we love others, we will teach our children to do the same, and to demonstrate God’s mercy to them through our lives. Lost people need the Lord’s love, and their only way to experience that love may be through their contact with us.
2. "Snatch others from the fire and save them" (Jude 23a). "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers" (1 Timothy 4:16). Teach your children how to give their testimony so that they can share it with others. We never know when someone will be ready to give his or her life to Christ, and we should always be prepared to show them the way.
3. "To others show mercy, mixed with fear – hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh" (Jude 23b). It is easy to have compassion for the lost, or for believers who have lost their way. The difficult part is to show mercy and care for them without being tempted by or drawn into their sin. We must be careful to know that we are as prepared and as strong in our faith as possible before we attempt to reach out to those whose behavior could possibly taint our own. It is definitely possible to "hate the sin but love the sinner"; however, the association we make with those who are struggling with sin must be from a position of God’s strength working in us. First Corinthians 15:33 says, "Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’" Teach your children to keep good company while loving and praying for those who are not.
teach your children to love God and others, and help them to develop a strong
faith that will hold them in good stead for the rest of their lives on this
earth, may Jude’s expression of praise to the Lord strengthen your resolve to
press on: "To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you
before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God
our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our
Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen" (Jude 1:24-25).
If you would like to read more articles by Kim Butts, please visit www.harvestprayer.com.