Daily Readings & Thought for June 20th. “BUILD YOURSELVES UP …”
There is a fair amount of promotion of the need for body building and physical fitness these days. It is a pity there is not as much – indeed more – emphasis on being spiritually fit, it is far more needed – and vital for our own eternal well-being. Our thoughts were provoked along these lines as we read today the 25 verses of the short letter of Jude.
He starts by telling us he is the brother of James, so it is usually accepted that he is another half-brother of Jesus. In Matthew 13 v.55, we see that Jesus had a (half) brother, Judas is well as one named James. We assume he is writing in his old age, he addresses ” those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ” [v.1]. Jude sees much evidence of declining faith and writes “appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” [v.3]
There is one true faith – a right way of believing and living, but some “pervert the grace of God into sensuality …” [v.4] and this in effect means they “deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” We show we believe not only by our words but by how we live and Jude gives examples from history of so many who, although they made ‘offerings’ to God “walked in the way of Cain” and of Balaam and Korah (son of Aaron) who all had intimate knowledge of things divine but who acted in evil ways. [v.11]
Jude was obviously living in the last days of the Jewish nation, but his warnings of the approaching end are very applicable to today. “You must remember,” he writes, “the predictions of the apostles … they said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers … who cause divisions, worldly people. But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith … keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” [v.18-21] Only by such building up will we gain eternal life.
The result of genuinely doing this will be a real living relationship with our Lord “who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.” [v.24] Let us build ourselves up to a genuine state of spiritual fitness, feeding on God’s word every day is an essential part of our diet.