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Our pastor asked us to read Jude this week to help reinforce his message to us. One part of Jude really stood out to me in my reading. Here are the verses from The Message:
20-21But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!
22-23Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.
24-25And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating—to our one God, our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master, be glory, majesty, strength, and rule before all time, and now, and to the end of all time. Yes. (Jude 1:20-25)
The heading caught my eye first. In my Bible (The Message-NKJV Parallel Bible) the heading says “Maintain Your Life With God.” This has been an issue with me. Working in the church as the nursery director means that I have been to church in the last year less than 10 times and I can see that this has a huge effect upon my relationship with God. I tell people that I am okay and that I can keep my relationship fresh by studying about Him at home, but it is not the same thing. I can tell a difference in my walk and life with Him.
The first thing that struck me in these verses is “build yourselves up.” Jude didn’t say that life with God would be easy. He said we have to build ourselves up in our faith by praying. How is my prayer life? Pretty non-existent for the most part.
The next part that hit me is “staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready…” Do I stand ready? Are my arms open and outstretched, ready for Him? I would like to think so, but I imagine that my arms are crossed and I am running around trying to do everything, rather than standing and waiting on Him.
“This is the unending life, the real life!” Do I live as if loving God is my main purpose? I show love to others, but that is not all there is to it. I once heard a preacher say, “Keep the main thing the main thing.” Do I live as if God is first in my life?
“Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.” How many times do I turn away from sinners? I am called to love them. Not their sin, but them. Am I tender toward them?
“And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating…” Only God can keep me standing. Many times I put my faith in self, rather than in Him. He can keep me not only standing, but also standing tall, fresh, and celebrating. Who wouldn’t want to describe their life in that way?
What hit you about these verses? Do you do everything possible to maintain your life with God? If not, you are in luck. God’s mercies are new every single day. What could be better than that?
Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you*,