“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 21
This is an active word. It denotes “to watch over, persevere and is related to observing and giving heed unto as of keeping commandments.”
We are to be actively keeping ourselves in such a position - living inside the parameters of the love of God by obedience as his child. We are admonished to do our part (keep ourselves) obedient. Then there is the promise of verse 24 – “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling…” We do our part by obedience and God does His part!
As life’s trials tempt us to throw off integrity, honestly and faithfulness, we are to recognize that the mercy of God is there to give us strength to endure and keep ourselves where we should be and doing what we know is right and acceptable in the eyes of God; keeping ourselves inside His love and protection.
It might mean we need to add some things to our lives. It might mean we need to subtract some things, but no matter what adjustments we are called upon to make, we make them in order to show our love and obedience and to stay in His will.
Do you need to make some adjustments in order to keep yourself in the love of God?
“...to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
Jim Berg, in his book, Changed Into His Image, challenges the believer to examine all areas of his life to see if they are “flesh-free”. He makes the analogy of fat-free foods to paint a picture of the spiritual life void of potentially harmful substances. The Book of James says that a truly religious person will hold holiness and separation as a principle of life. Being “unspotted” is to live cleanly, to live untainted, to live on a different plain and by a different set of standards.
Music is but one area where the world makes a spot in our lives. DVD’s, movies, and other entertainments spot us. Attitudes, priorities, and goals that do not match God’s Word also reveal spots. Fashion and “alternative life-styles” try to dictate our manner of life. All of these things are the world’s attempt to pull us away from purity and bring us away from God’s standard.
We are not to be monk-like hermits, but our lives and loves should be different. Our pleasures should be found in Christ more than in what the world has to offer. Our deepest joys should be found in service and fellowship. The world should be a temporary place – not a comfort zone.
Is your life “flesh-free”? Or, do you have some harmful “fats” in your life that are causing spots?
“...keep in memory...” I Cor. 15:2
Paul was admonishing believers to keep in memory the gospel, which had been preached to them. This gospel had given them eternal life and a solid foundation upon which to stand. Isaiah also tells us to remember where we came from – a pit.
We were lost and without hope until the Rock of our Salvation lifted us up and put us on solid ground. “Hearken unto me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” Isaiah 51:1
Sometimes we can get so full of ourselves as Christians that we forget we are simply sinners who have been forgiven. We get too prideful or too complacent about our position in Christ and become judgmental, hard, and unforgiving. We fail to keep the gospel in memory. We lose our lustre and savour.
A humble person is one who recognizes his place. He knows where he came from, why he is here, and where he is going, but he knows it is all from grace – not merit. He serves so as to reach out and offer the same opportunity to others. He keeps in memory the gracious forgiveness of His Saviour and from there he follows on.
Do you need to revisit the cross? Do you need to take time to reflect on where you were when Christ found you? Have you grown judgmental and hard? Keep in memory the pit from whence you were digged!
“But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected.”
I John 2:5
Obedience is one of the key elements of a Christian life, yet one with which so many struggle. We are quick to say that children should obey their parents. Few would argue that employees should obey their employers or that citizens should obey the law. Yet, many adults struggle with those two simple points alone! We complain about rules and regulations and thwart authority trying to get our own way.
And when it comes to Bible, we all like to think that we are obedient - yet many times we are guilty of using God’s Word deceitfully as we try to twist it just enough to allow us to do what we want, or to make us look right.
If we are going to keep His word faithfully and see God’s love maturing in us, we must move to a higher level of obedience. We will need to judge our actions and motives by His Word and we will have to agree with God. There is no place for arguing and debating with His Word. There is no place for mixing His truth with worldly or faulty philosophy. God’s Word can seem hard – but the fruit is sweet and the reward sure to those who keep His Word.
The obedient Christian shines like no other not only in the home, but also in the workplace and community. Obedience brings about it’s own blessing, and according to this verse, God’s love is matured and revealed.
What is your obedient quotient? How are you doing in your attitude of obedience? Are you keeping the law – the law of your employer, the wider community – in order to let your light shine forth?
“Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” I Peter 4:19
No one likes to suffer, especially when it feels undeserved. But suffering is a part of the will of God. Suffering does not always mean that we are doing wrong personally. Sometimes it comes a part of growth, sometimes as a result of another’s mistakes, but however it comes, Peter gives us an attitude or position from which to endure.
Commit the keeping – set before or entrust – your soul to God. It has the idea of submitting. You are saying, “Lord, I know and believe that you are faithful. You are my Creator. You know what is happening. I can trust you to take me through. I will not fight against your will!”
A little quote that is pinned up by my computer reads, “Don’t confuse your path with your destination. Just because it’s stormy now doesn’t mean that you aren’t headed for sunshine.” If we are going to commit the keeping of our souls to God, we must believe that He has everything under control even in the midst of a storm!
Then Peter adds an active instruction – well doing. It simply means doing good especially for the benefit of others. When time of suffering comes, we are admonished not to let the focus be all on ourselves! Tiegreen put it this way, “Do not let the pain become bigger than the Comforter.” Get up and do good!
Instead of nursing your hurts, seeking revenge or falling apart, accept the suffering for what it is – a test of your faith in God. Set self aside and entrust your soul to him. Then, go out and do good. Do the next right thing for the benefit of others and for the glory of God.
What hurts or injustices do you need to commit to God? Are you wallowing in self-pity? Are you doing good for others, or waiting for others to do good to you?