by Paul Tautges | August 28, 2019 2:11 am
But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. (Jude 20–21)
Meditating on the love of our triune God is a remedy for anxiety. We rest in the Father’s steadfast love: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1). We also remember the Son’s love for us, which was dramatically displayed in his voluntary death in our place (see John 10:18). And we appreciate the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who reassures us of God’s love by testifying to our spirits that we are children of God (see Rom. 8:16).
In light of such a display of divine grace, we find a curious phrase: “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21). Jude commands us to remain within the circle of God’s love. This does not mean that your eternal salvation is dependent on your keeping yourself saved. Jude makes this clear in his greeting: “To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ” (Jude 1). Believers in Jesus are already being kept for him by God. Other Scriptures testify to this security.1 Instead, this phrase means maintaining God-centered focus while prayerfully obeying the Word and waiting for Jesus to return. Jude teaches us that his main command to “keep yourselves in the love of God” is carried out through three disciplines.
Building yourself up “in your most holy faith” means growing in your understanding and application of sound doctrine. It means to be “rooted and built up in him and established in the faith” (see Col. 2:7) so that you may mature in Christ (see Eph. 4:13–14). Christian maturity is like a building’s solid foundation. Worries may come and go, but they won’t overrun us, because we’re grounded in Christ.
Praying in the Holy Spirit means praying according to the Word. As you submit your heart and life to the authority of the Scriptures, the Spirit fills (controls) you (see Eph. 5:17–18). One fruit of his control is a life that is soaked in prayer. Persevering in prayer is essential to arming yourself against the devil (see Eph. 6:18) and against all the worries that plague you. Through all this, you can confidently rest in the Spirit to pray for you (see Rom. 8:26–27). A worry-filled life can be prayerless. But a prayerful life takes every concern to the Lord out of confidence in his care (see 1 Peter 5:7).
Waiting for the Lord’s return is not passive; it requires living with constant expectancy. No man knows when Jesus will come again (see Mark 13:32). Rather than setting our eyes on the temporal concerns of this life, and thereby growing our anxiety, we set our focus on the end, when Christ will return. This expectancy fuels holiness and hope in the believer (see Luke 12:40; Phil. 3:20; 1 John 2:28). It’s a countermeasure to our worries.
We keep ourselves in the love of God through these disciplines. However, as Jude helpfully concludes, God ultimately preserves our faith. “[He] is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (Jude 24).
*This post is a chapter from my new book: ANXIETY: Knowing God’s Peace (31-Day Devotional)
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