In today’s tumultuous world, many Christians find themselves struggling to effectively apply their faith to their life. However, it does not have to be that way. It should not be that way. Jude provides us with a simple model for successful Christian living in a difficult world.
In sports, the goal is to be successful, to win. Achieving that victory requires a winning game plan. However, a winning game plan alone is not enough to ensure success. The players have to apply it!
In Jude 20-23, Jude lays out God’s winning game plan for believers, providing five biblical keys for achieving spiritual successful as a Christian. Applying these keys will help you achieve the spiritual success you are seeking!
1. Effective Bible Study (Verse 20)
The first key to achieving spiritual success as a Christian is continuously building your knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. Jude’s use of the word “build” paints a picture of constructing something substantial, such as a home. So many Christians stop their construction project early, having only laid a foundation or a first floor. However, Jude exhorts us to continuously build up our faith. In other words, we need to add a second story, a garage, a third story, and so on. We need to be building spiritual skyscrapers, not shacks. In the past, you and I may have gotten away with only a foundation. However, in this day and age of false teachings, a little knowledge and understanding is simply not sufficient to produce successful Christian living.
2. Effective Prayer (Verse 20)
The second key to achieving spiritual success as a Christian is continuously praying in the spirit. This means a prayer life that is Spirit guided, not man guided. We need to be praying in accordance with His will, not ours. How do we accomplish this? Effective prayer requires developing an understanding of God’s character and desire for us. We find this knowledge in the living Word ‘” the Bible (See Key #1). Effective prayer also requires consistency. It must be a priority in our life. Finally, effective prayer requires separation from our active, noisy daily lives. We need to make time each day to step away from the cares and burdens of this world to spend a little time communicating with the Lord in the spiritual world.
3. Effective Relationship (Verse 21)
The third key to achieving spiritual success as a Christian is “keeping ourselves in the love of God.” How do we do this? We accomplish this piece of the game plan by continuously developing our intimate personal relationship with Christ. If we are walking in fellowship with Christ on a daily basis, we will keep ourselves in the love of God. When we fail to do this, we will find ourselves straying from the path He has called us to walk. This also requires confessing our sins whenever we falter. This confession re-establishes our relationship with the Lord.
4. Effective Anticipation (Verse 21)
The fourth key to achieving spiritual success as a Christian is continuously living in anticipation of Christ’s imminent return. (cf. Titus 2:13; Philippians 3:20-21) Why is this vital to our success? Because, if we believe and hope that Christ could return at this very moment, that belief will impact the way we are living and serving Him. Procrastination goes out the window because we know this may be all the time we have left. We (and a world full of unbelievers) may not have tomorrow to do what we should have done today. It makes us realize the urgency of not only our personal walk, but of reaching out to the lost. Athletes always turn it up a notch in the last moments of a game. By living in anticipation of Christ’s return, we too will perform at our best.
5. Effective Outreach (Verses 22-23)
The final key to achieving spiritual success as a Christian is continuously sharing our faith with the world. Having an effective witness is the culmination of our spiritual development, requiring all the other keys. The ultimate goal of Christians should be to share the life changing message of Jesus Christ with unbelievers.
In life, there are generally two kinds of belly-buttons: “innies” and “outies.” In terms of our faith, Christianity is definitely an outie! Our ultimate success is not to be found inwardly; rather, it is to be discovered through our faithful witness and service to others, based upon a solid foundation that has been built through our first four keys.