Ours is a sad era of displaced values and misplaced priorities. In our modern computer saturated dispensation, (which is nowadays commonly referred to as the information age and fully surrounded by incredible and awesome technological breakthroughs in every imaginable sphere of human endeavour), superficiality and shallowness still reign unchecked. But why is this so, and why must it be this way? Why is it that most people spend their life as if there is no heaven to gain and no hell to shun? Why do some people expect to be spoon-fed with information when they could very easily access it? Why do most people abnegate their mental and spiritual development to others to handle for them? And why is it that most people still wallow in superficiality and shallowness?
A lot of believers subconsciously take it for granted that it is the duty of their pastors to build up their spiritual life. The question that bothers my mind is why this must be so? While it is largely true to some extent that it is the duty of pastors to feed their flock, suffice it to state here categorically and clearly that the pastorís role in building the believer is limited to the extent that he has access to the individual, and to the extent that he has opportunity to interact with the believer on a one-on-one, face-to-face basis.
This became quite apparent to me while reading through the book of Jude. The distant era and the church to which the Apostle Jude addressed his epistle are much similar to our own era, and not much different from our present church of today.
Jude who wrote from the reference point of an elder Christian statesman implied that the endtimes would be characterized by a lot of shallowness and superficiality. And looking at the sorry state of our present churches today, we cannot easily gainsay his accurate prediction.
Jude also painstakingly painted an elaborate picture aimed at warning the Church and urging her to awake to godliness and holiness, to stay ready to do spiritual battle, to resist the strong wave of apostasy that was fast creeping in and encroaching on the Church, and to vehemently oppose the overtures of the antichrist that was and still is ominously looming on the horizon. To ensure that the Church of his dispensation understood his distress call, Jude admonished them by employing the use of several imageries and relevant word pictures that were quite compelling, very evocative and truly revealing.
In the twentieth verse of his one chapter epistle, he admonished the first century Christians on the need to build up their spiritual life both as a matter of personal spiritual responsibility and a delightful duty largely by drawing and relying on the strength of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God Almighty.
It is imperative to note that because we live in a godless age and among a godless society, we are called upon to arm ourselves and to stay ever ready for battles in the defence of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, the Gospel of God has come under severe criticisms like never before. The godless heathens around us try to discredit and ridicule our Christian faith. But this is a situation which is not destined to last for the long hurl nor stand the test of time. This is simply because the same people who are undermining our faith today will inevitably and ultimately turn to us, (the believers in Jesus), for valid answers to many of the perplexing questions and humanly inexplicable phenomena that shall soon be visited upon the earth by the Almighty God.
If you look around you today, you will discover that every measure put in place to check, suppress or stamp out corruption, graft, and other societal vices that have eaten very deeply into our moral and ethical fabrics have greatly failed to yield desirable and lasting results, both in the low and high places of organized societies. Therefore, sooner or later, the world will haplessly turn to us, (the Church), to seek for strong solutions. They will approach you as individual believers for answers.
Jude predicted that when those times eventually come, only true believers who are spiritually sound and in very good shape will be able to brace up to the occasion.
How then do we begin to put ourselves in proper shape, and how do we build up our spiritual lives so that we can be better positioned as beacons of hope that the destitute people around us can run to for credible answers?
Jude emphasized that we must begin by cultivating intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit through qualitative investment of the truths of Scripture into our recreated human spirits.
In Galatians 6:7-8, we are told that everything we invest into the flesh, (or the carnal man), will not be able to stand the true test of time; but everything we invest into the spiritual man will abound with everlasting positive results.
I therefore encourage you, my Dear Reader, to begin today to invest Godís word into your spiritual life Ė spend qualitative time in prayer and diligent study of Godís word; avail yourself both as a tool of witness and of service in the hands of the Almighty God, and learn to fellowship with other believers of like-mind in order to gain renewed strength and fresh spiritual insights.
As you begin to do all of the above on a daily and consistent basis, you will discover that you are being thoroughly and adequately prepared well ahead of time to provide relevant, valid and credible answers to a sin-saturated people of the world that desperately need the Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. May yours and my generation never fail the world in this hour of need! Amen.