Jude 1:20-21 “ But you, dear friends, build yourself up in you most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you eternal life.”
Keep yourselves in God’s love. I won’t bore you with the fine points of Greek grammar behind Jude’s words, but I will point out that the Greek makes “Keep yourselves in God’s love” the main idea here, the point of both the building and the praying. Here is the central secret to spiritual survival as we wait for Jesus to bring us to eternal life.
It’s not so much about what we do: some kind of discipline that we practice or a set of activities we follow. It is more about “where you are,” and “what you have,” and “what you experience.” It is showing up for the free give away. God’s love is an established fact and can’t be changed. He gave us our existence. He gave us our world. He gives us each breath. When we became sinners he gave us his Son. He gave up his life so that he could give us salvation. He gives us forgiveness. He gives us immortality. He gives us heaven. As we have already said, he gives us faith. And that gives us hope and gives us joy, and gives us peace. If you want to explore it further, the list of gifts God gives us in his love goes on and on. There are new discoveries to be made every day.
On the Friday after thanksgiving, millions of Americans will flock to malls and stores for “gifts” they have to pay for–a cheap flat screen TV, or the latest “I-something” gadget. “Keeping yourselves in God’s love” does not involve camping out in the cold, a competition to be first in line, and forking over your money for the privilege of taking it home. It is as simple as finding yourself in the places where God’s love is being given.
We find it when we gather for worship, where we sing about his gifts, read and preach about them, or find them hidden in a handful of water, and wrapped in a wafer of bread and sip of wine. We find it at Bible study, where we get to go deeper into the word, and comments and insights of our fellow students take us further into the meaning of his love. We find it in the quiet moments when we are reading our Bibles at home, in our private meditation and devotion on God’s word.
In such places God fills, not just our hands, but our heads and our hearts with his love. In these places, not so much we, but he tends to our faith as we wait for Jesus’ mercy, the same mercy that will deliver us from this spoiled and broken world to eternal life with him.