By Robert Halsey Pine
Jude wants us to jump in over our heads: “But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on some who are wavering; save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies.” (Jude 17-25 NRSV).
Expressions like this are very powerful. This one impresses us as we read it. We say, “Yeah, that’s right on target.” We then immediately forget every word and go back to our old ways. When we really try to apply these things in our lives we give up because we think that they are over our heads. Somehow we don’t qualify. The fact is that we must constantly work toward qualification.
Jude says that we must build up our faith. We must pray. We must recognize and be in the love of God. We must repent and accept God’s forgiveness through Christ, who is our salvation. We must have mercy on others whose faith is weak. We must reach out to those who are giving in to the evil world. We must communicate to our brothers and sisters that sense of fear that causes us to run from the distractions and evil of the world, lest we miss the joy of God’s eternal kingdom.
There is no way to accomplish these things except through a discipline of constantly seeking a closer relationship with God through Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We must take time each day to work on this relationship. We work on human relationships as if it were a life and death matter. Our relationship with the Lord doesn’t always take priority. It’s the part of our day that we try to squeeze in, if in fact we are trying at all.
Father God, I am at my wit’s end. I am unable to see how I can work You into any more of my life than I am presently doing. I just don’t seem to be able to discipline myself. There are so many other priorities, pressures and distractions. I pray that You help me find those moments throughout my day that I can connect with You. I pray that You give me a new vision of how I can come closer to You and do Your will. Through Christ and the Holy Spirit I pray. AMEN.
Robery Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.