“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).
LIVING IN A HARD WORLD, THERE ARE SOME DECISIONS THAT HAVE TO BE MADE. If we have obeyed the gospel of Christ, we must decide to grow strong enough to meet life’s challenges. It is good that we have started the journey, but we need to be doing what Jude recommended: “building yourselves up in your most holy faith.” The apostle Peter wrote that it is by the addition of certain strong virtues to our faith that “there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5–11), and he said that we must “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
Keep yourselves in the love of God. There is a sense in which God’s power must keep us (1 Peter 1:5), but there is also a sense in which we must keep ourselves (2 Peter 1:10). Paul’s advice to young Timothy was this: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16). It is, above all, in the love of God that we must keep ourselves — determining not to leave its shelter or the commands that flow from it (1 John 2:4–6).
Waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. As we keep ourselves in the love of God, one thing is always uppermost in our minds: Christ is coming back. Even though the Christian stays busy helping others in the here and now and sharing with them the gospel of salvation, it is not wrong to say that the Christian’s life is one of waiting. And John says, “Everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:3).
Life will always have its ups and downs. Although we know God’s purposes will surely be accomplished in the end, what will happen to us between now and then has not been revealed. But regardless of what happens, there is one thing we can always do: we can determine that we will be faithful. We can keep ourselves in the love of God. That is the decision we can — and must — make. And it is not just a one-time decision. It must be made continually.
“God has not called me to be successful; he has called me to be faithful” (Teresa of Calcutta).