There are so many things that can and do come against the modern family. Modern life has a way of competing for the interest of husband, wife, sibling and child. Temptation meets the carnal nature of each one of us in some way or other at any given moment, and all we can do is “contend for the faith” (and our families) if we’re cognisant of it.
The book of Jude targets this issue of contending for the faith in insightful and challenging ways. It mounts an argument in truth that there’s a common source behind everything that comes against us, not the false teacher, but the power behind them--Satan.
Satan’s not interested in us worshipping him; his sole interest is us not worshipping God. That is his sole intention, his very purpose of existence--to fool us into thinking there is no God. And look at how many times he succeeds, and with not only atheists, but with those who sit the theological fence to those who worship many gods (including Christians).
Satan is especially delighted in materialist, comfy, pharisaic Christians, for at one extreme the Christian’s faith is impotent. It does nothing for the kingdom. At the other end the Christian is so fervent in their knowledge they put every would-be convert on notice not to believe. People of good sense smell the rot of legalism from miles off.
Today’s nuclear family is blissfully unaware of Satan’s wiles and more is the pity. Dad’s more interested in how his footy tips are going than growing spiritually, and often times he’s even roped Mum and the kids into ‘the tipping comp,’ so football is the prevailing focus of a week leading up to the weekend--and the weekend of course. Dad’s also either got much too much or much too little on his mind.
For Mum, she’s often working hard during the week so she doesn’t have a lot left over at the weekend. Perhaps she enjoys a drink? In fact, both Mum and Dad are likely to be affluent enough that that’s what carries them to the weekend--a few ‘cleansing ales’ or a ‘smooth red’ or five.
The kids aren’t left out. What with Wii, DSi, MySpace, Facebook (and many, many more) there’s not much of a risk they’ll venture outside to either exercise or invigorate their imaginations. So much ‘easy’ entertainment can’t be good.
We’re all victims... or are we? Like the cute family dog, we roll over and play dead it seems.
There’s got to be a better way.
Jude urges the faithful to stand against the people and things that are devoid of the Spirit, the things causing division in households (v. 19). He urges an awareness to well up within us as to what’s actually happening, before it’s too late.
Satan is into propagating the generational curses that are in your family, and mine. His tricks are very, very subtle. There are none wiser than Satan, bar God himself.
But Jude says, “build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on some who are wavering; save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies” –Jude 20-23 (NRSV).
This passage says a lot. It exhorts us to contend for our faith (v. 3) and hold on and not backslide (which is literally the same message of Hebrews). We must look forward for that day of literal redemption, though many of us haven’t given it serious thought in years. And we live eternally now, looking ever forward, Spiritually.
Even more importantly, this section guides us in how we’re to contend for others’ faith. We are to have mercy on the strugglers and stragglers, and to take the courage to do what the Spirit whispers for us to do. Finally, we’re to assuage guilt that the enemy loves to inflict. We do not subscribe to guilt. We are not to be bound by our previous, condemning beliefs.
The best thing for the modern family is a united mother and father; united in faith; united in Christ. For when these circumstances combine they conspire for us and against the enemy and his pathetic strength is shown for what it is--transitory and mute, in comparison with God’s.