I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Meron Asnake (WITHIN Devotional Contributor)
As a child, I excelled in doing everything right. I was what you call a “by-the-book” type of girl. I did my homework on time, made good grades, stayed out of trouble, and did my chores. In addition, I was mostly an honest child; my mom knew everything I was always doing. Shockingly, it was by choice. I told her about who I was with, where I went, and what I did. If there were instances where I knew I had to lie, I removed myself from those situations, and kept a low profile. In doing so, I made sure she was not worried about me. I deduced that my brother was enough of a “problem child” for a single mama. Obnoxiously enough, I was a responsible child. Although there is nothing wrong in being a responsible child, there is something wrong in finding worth in that. Furthermore, what I did not share in the prior statements, is that I was compared with my brother. As a result, I interpreted the comparison as rejection that introduced longings to be accepted and affirmed in all spheres. Hence, I triumphed in my role of being a “goody two shoes.”
So, you can imagine my shock at the finished work of Christ. For a long time, the upside-down Kingdom of God did not make sense. It meant that I no longer needed to perform to earn God’s love; it was foreign concept to my actress soul, which thrived in applause. In some ways, I still find myself working for God’s approval. I occupy myself with things of God just in case He is keeping scores. Because when He finally realizes that I am a sinner, have fallen short, and in need of a savior, He may review his scoreboard before He revokes my adoption. However, it does not work that way for those of us who are CALLED. We are BELOVED in God the Father, who KEPT us for JESUS CHRIST (Jude 1b). And that deserves a shout of praise and a hallelujah!
In his letter, Jude identified the recipients as those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ” (Jude 1b). He spoke into the identity that was bestowed by no man and can never be taken away. It then begs the questions to what He is trying to communicate with his audience. Why are they called, how are they loved, and who is keeping them? “To those whom God has called have been summoned into fellowship with Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9). God’s call is not merely an invitation to know Him, but it is a call that inevitably leads to faith in Him (Romans 8:30). And this calling deals with our past, present and future” (1).
As a result, His great love with which He loved us (Ephesians 2:4), is experienced in our daily communion with Him. Once we are born again, we are forever kept for Him and in Him. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3-4). Thus, we rest in the assurance of our inheritance in heaven that is secure and safe. It cannot be moved, or taken away (2) and that is a promise from God.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Questions to Reflect on:
For more detailed and in-depth study of the book of Jude, please refer to bible study, Jude: Contending for the Faith in Today’s Culture, by Jackie Hill Perry