This is the devotional I shared at the CSAUP on Saturday. Found at devotional published by New Lisbon Church. Goods words to reflect on. Have out Pax at the end to pray for this week. If you were at CSAUP, remember to pray for the number ahead of yours.
Jude 17But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
Many often overlook the little note that Jude wrote. That’s really all it is, a note. Believers tend to focus on the bigger books in the New Testament Library. We got to the Gospels and Acts for the rich history and powerful stories which contain our Christian roots. We look toward Paul’s letters for church doctrine, or John’s writing for Christian love. Yet, here we have a powerful little note from the brother of James to a church or churches. Jude, in his counseling to those who are enduring difficult periods shares four things they ought to do on their journey if they are to persevere the times.
First, build. We are to build ourselves and others up. I don’t often think of faith as a muscle. But that’s really what it is. We say people have strong or weak faith so in a way we already refer to it as a muscle. Jude tells us to work our muscle of faith, much like a body builder. We can do this through good deeds, through Bible study, evangelism, or Christian community. Building ourselves in disciplines lead to a strong faith which brings us to Jude’s second point.
Second, Pray. Prayer is a discipline and tool given to us by God. As disciples we ought to pray like we ought to work a job, or we ought to love our families, or we ought to eat. Without eating, we starve ourselves. Our bodies give us warning signs that we respond to and we say, I’d better get something to eat. Well, we can starve our lives of God by not praying. We ought to desire to speak to our creator and perfecter like we ought to desire to eat food. And we pray in the Holy Spirit meaning, he is the one who connects us with the Father. He is our phone line or wireless signal. Without him, we are simply roaming.
Third, Keep. I find this odd. Keep yourselves in God’s love. This phrase does not mean keep your love for God, but keep in his love for you. I ask, “how do I remain in his love?” especially when Paul in Romans 8 says nothing can separate us from God’s love? I’m vexed by the idea that our work determines the measure of God’s love yet that seems to be what Jude is saying. The only explanation I can offer is that you remain in God’s love by choosing to remain. This is the struggle, the daily choice to die to self and let Jesus be Lord. This is “working out your salvation with fear and trembling.” This is running the race or fighting the good fight or being the salt of the earth. Our work and effort matters and weighs heavily on abiding in his love. But keeping is not measured by the number of works done, but by the motivation to Love God and Love Others. So we keep on keeping by loving to love.
Fourth, Wait. I don’t like the word wait very much. I like the antonyms: accomplished, fast, achieved, finished, now, immediately, satisfaction, trending, and instant. To wait is to have patience. It is to put aside my natural inclination for immediate satisfaction. Yet, Jude implies in the waiting a sense of hope. For there is one who is carrying us as we build, as we pray, and as we keep. In our lives it is so easy to get caught up in the building, the praying, and the keeping. We lose sight of the end. We feel like the Christian life is a one sided struggle toward perfection yet really it’s a team sport. It is us and God working toward the same end. For we build, pray, and keep but it is only the Lord Jesus Christ who can bring us across the finished line and into eternal glory. And in that wait, I have great hope.
As men of God and Disciples of Jesus, we should build, pray, and keep. But if we forget to wait, and let our desire for achievement, accomplishment, quickness, or completeness then our building, praying, and keeping is in vain. So as we go about the work of our lives remembering what Christ has called us to. Let us build strong Christian Families, let us pray for wisdom and guidance to lead as men, and let us keep the mission to Love God and to Love others by making disciples of all nations. But most of all, let us wait on God’s timing, and he will carry us to heights and places we never imagined. Won’t you wait with me?
For your word says,
Jude 24To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!
This week let’s pray for King Pin, Stogie, Gavel, Breaker Breaker, Sargento, Bed Pan, Boudin, Roadie. Lift these men and their families.