Barely Hanging On
November 2, 2005 • By Ed Wrather
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. - Jude 1:20-23.
Reportedly, an apartment building in Sydney, Australia is now hanging over a huge hole. How did it happen? It is believed that there was a rockslide in a traffic tunnel under construction beneath the building that allowed the earth supporting the apartments to fall away. The rockslide created a crater 33 x 33 feet, which is also next to a major street and is causing traffic problems. Sixty people have been forced out of the three-story building. In an effort to stop, the collapse of the building and street, truck after truck are pumping concrete into the hole. Police superintendent Doreen Cruickshank said, "There is a reality that the building will collapse. I think we can see from here that there is structural damage."
What do you do when life blows a hole out from under your feet and you are left hanging on for dear life? What do you do to help someone else when it happens to them? Jude gives us some directions for helping ourselves and others.
First, Jude says we are to be "building yourselves up on your most holy faith." If you think back to the hanging apartment building, you see that this is what they are trying to do. They are trying to restore the foundation by pouring in the concrete. Whether you are hanging on by a thread or you are yet to experience life almost blowing you away, either way, you need a strong foundation. Our foundation should be built on what? Jesus says, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock (Matthew 7:24)." You could say that Jesus says to build your life on the Word of God because as He also says, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).'" The Word of God, that is how we maintain our foundation and that is what should be used to repair a life's foundation.
Second, Jude tells us that we should be "praying in the Holy Spirit." In the battle against the Amalekites (Exodus 17) as long as Moses held up his hands the Israelites were winning the battle. However, when Moses grew tired, and his hands dropped the Amalekites began to win. To keep the hands of Moses held up Aaron and Hur each supported the hands of Moses until the battle was won. We need to be praying for ourselves and others but in the face of the battle we sometimes grow tired. We should never be ashamed to ask others for prayer because it is a holy privilege to pray for others. Never forget your need for prayer and the need that others have for your prayers.
Third, Jude says, "keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." We should always remember that we are sinners saved by grace and that all have sinned including ourselves (Romans 3:23). As such, we should walk humbly with our Lord (Micah 6:8). We have been forgiven much and as our Lord says, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you (Matthew 6:14)."
Fourth, we are told by Jude, "And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh." We are to hate the sin but not the sinner (2 Peter 3:9). We also must be careful not to be drawn into the pit of sin as they have been. At the same time, we should extend the love of God and try to save them from destruction.