Like most people in similar situations, we overestimate our abilities and underestimate the recommendations of people who designed those heavy items. We think we know better and believe that those labels are for “other” people. When we start depending on ourselves, we tend to lose perspective and overestimate a lot of things in our lives.
The same holds true with our spiritual lives. If we tend to rely on ourselves, God is slowly moved out of our lives and we begin to see ourselves as important and God as inconsequential. We begin to ignore others as well. When problems come up that are outside of our control, we don’t seek help from other believers or from God. We try to weather the storm and do things that may even make the problems worse.
As Christians, we can go to the Father in prayer. Jesus is the bridge that allows us to go to Him in prayer and ask for wisdom and guidance. God gives us strength or whatever we need to get through the situation. The other thing to consider is the power of numbers of Christians coming together and praying for one another and building a hedge of protection around those in need.
When you look at nature, you see perfect examples of this. When a predator tries to attack a baby elephant for example, the herd surrounds the young elephant and protects it from attack. The same holds true in our spiritual lives. When we are facing problems, Satan will pounce like a predator. He is looking for those who have been spiritually and physically drained by their problems. In that state, a simple whisper from Satan may cause doubts and fears to pop up that may ultimately draw us away from God.
Jude, in the book bearing his name, wrote, “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.”
Of all the items in our spiritual arsenal, prayer gives us the ability to ask God for help. It is one of the most powerful weapons we can use to combat Satan and it gives us strength to meet the challenges we face. I have personally experienced the power of prayer on many occasions. Things that I was unable to overcome by myself were brushed away by God’s mighty hand. Add the power of others praying for me and nothing stood in my way. Think of other Christians praying for you as a force multiplier. Your voice and needs are amplified by the voices of others. It is, indeed, an awesome sight to behold. I have seen whole church services become a prayer circle for those in need of help. Everyone in the congregation coming forward to pray for a person or family and laying hands upon them. That is why we come together as a family of faith. We support each other and give comfort to others. In time, we may find ourselves in need. It is so comforting to know that there are prayer warriors all around you ready at a moment's notice to pray for you and let you know you are loved.
The one thing that we must be on guard of is judging others who may have wavered in their faith and slipped a bit. We must show mercy and love for them and help them to get back on the path of righteousness. We all have our moments of weakness, but it is the help of those around us that gets us back on our daily walk with the Lord.
Jude later wrote, “And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.”
We are not to hate individuals who may have slipped a bit in their walk, but show mercy and compassion for them. We are to work tirelessly to help them with their wavering faith. Through love and understanding, we work to help them overcome whatever they are facing. We aren’t here to judge one another or hate them for showing weakness. We are to hate the sin that has engulfed their lives. We work to restore their faith and help them daily.
Going back to the analogy of the elephant herd, any one of them could be the unwitting target of a predator. It doesn’t take much for the predator to shift gears and go after another elephant. The predator looks for those who are weak or injured. But, the herd works together as a single body to protect the young, infirm or injured.
We must do the same things when it comes to our faith. We come together to pray for those in need and let them know that they don’t need to go it alone or feel that God isn’t listening. We show mercy to those who have slipped and help them get back on the path of righteousness.
When we come together in faith and love, there is nothing that we can’t do together when we have God on our side. We can prevail over all when we realize that everything comes from the Father. Strength, wisdom, guidance and, most importantly, love all come from God through His son, Jesus. We have nothing to fear or doubt with God leading us through our darkest valleys.
As you continue your journey with God in 2023, remember that you are not alone. God is there with you and you have a family of faith and prayer warriors ready to lend you their voices and help to see you through the toughest of times. Love and mercy will always be there so that you can stand firm in His grace.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
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