Much has been said of the time in which we now live…socially, politically, environmentally…Words like “unprecedented,” “strange,” and “historic” have been used more in the last few months than I ever remember in my life time.
I am a housewife. I live on a quiet street. My routine is filled with the basic, unadorned tasks of laundering clothes, washing dishes, searching for socks (we never seem to have enough of those), teaching subjects such as math and grammar. If I am honest, I feel unfit to answer the questions I find buzzing in a low and constant hum in the back of my brain. How do I fit into all that is happening in the world? How do I fight the evil that the news seems to tell me is looming at my front door? As I look to the future, what is my role in fighting against the injustices that I see around me? And how do I not grow weary in the midst of what—at times—looks like an impossible battle?
I find the answer to these questions in the compact epistle of Jude, verses 20-25. Having spent more than half his letter warning believers of false teachers who have “crept in unnoticed” and of the need to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints,” Jude, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, begins to teach his readers what “contending” looks like in their daily lives.
“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. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” (vv.20-23)
We are told first to “build ourselves” and to “keep ourselves.” In other words, STAY FAITHFUL. One foot in front of the other—day in and day out, in season and out of season. Keep reading God’s Word, keep searching the Scriptures. Keep praying—as husbands and wives, with our children, with our church. Keep loving, keep teaching. No matter what the world around us looks like—KEEP ON.
Jude goes on to say that we must keep each other. “…have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire…” We must keep each other faithful—hold each other accountable. We must not cease to come together—even if it is through unconventional means at times—we must continue to stir each other up. We must go after weary brothers and sisters in Christ. We must bear one another up, rejoice with one another, weep and sing and pray with one another. Scripture makes it clear that the Christian life is not to be a solitary one…we are going to continue to need each other.
But it is his final thought that is truly the most comforting to me.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (vv. 24-25)
As we work to keep ourselves and to keep each other, we find that, in the end—all along, it has been our great God and Savior who has been keeping us. From before the foundation of the world, He has known us. He has called us His own. And He has promised to never let us go. The answers to our questions are not to be found in politics or social science or education. The answers have only ever been and will only ever be in our Savior. So how do we fight the growing darkness around us? We live in the light. We love our neighbors better than ourselves. We meet together under the teaching of God’s Word. We spend our time and money on things of eternal value. We show mercy to the lost world around us, because God, in Christ, has shown mercy to us. We train and prepare our children in every available moment—as we do the dishes and fold the laundry and search for socks.
Our victory is sure. He has promised it to be so, and He is always faithful. By His grace, may the same be said of us.