Monday, March 2, 2020

Called, Loved, Kept

Jude is often overlooked as a treasure of biblical beauty, but something that he says ought to catch us and make us take a second...and third...and fourth read. It's something we ought to think about, to pray about, to ponder, letting it sink into our hearts and shape our relationship with the Lord. What Jude says is this:

You are called, loved by God, and kept for Jesus.

It's one of those phrases in the Bible where the words are deliberately chosen and structured to convey something important about our life of faith. There are many such passages, and they always illuminate something we aren't often thinking about. Or aren't thinking about often enough.

Let's look at what Jude is saying.

You are called. There is a God who knows your name and uses it. He knows your gifts and values them. He knows your heart and treasures it. There is a God who wants you to be part of what He's doing in this world, and He's gone to great lengths to extend the invitation. When He created you, He put a burden on your life that would develop His story in the world, put a passion in your heart that would fuel His fire. This God knows everything about you and chooses you, chose you from the very beginning, and continues to whisper in your ear. Yes, you are called. But you are not just some tool in God's cosmic plan, not just some cog in a wheel....

You are loved by God. This same God who knows everything about you, the hairs on your head, and calls you by name doesn't just want to use you; He loves you. He cherishes everything about you. See, what love does is takes this relationship and makes it two-way. His love makes it so that you can come to Him. He wants you to. He wants you to talk with Him, to tell Him what you're thinking about, to share your problems and your triumphs. To work through things with Him. He wants you to come and sit in His lap, learning not just to obey Him but to trust Him and to love Him back because you understand, through His love, His heart. The fact that you are loved by God is not just about Him knowing you; it's about you getting to know Him. And then....

You are kept for Jesus. Jesus is God-in-flesh. He is the human-Son who walked among us and still does and will again. Jesus is God-with-us, and the fact that you are kept for Him means that He wants to be with you, too. That's one of the things we often forget about Jesus. We think He came 2,000 years ago and walked with those persons, got to be with Galilee, hung out in Jerusalem. Sometimes, we think how cool it would have been if we'd gotten to live in that time and place, if we'd actually gotten to be with Jesus. But the thing about Jesus is...He is, not He was. And He wants to be with us. In fact, you and I are being saved for this very reason - so that we get the chance to walk with Him, too. We are being kept for Him.

These kinds of passages in the Bible are vitally important. It's easy to read right past them. We live in a culture of repetition (I'm even guilty of it myself), where we are trained that lists that sound like these are written for effect, to really pound something into us. But in the Bible, these things are developing revelations. They build on one another. They come together to create a bigger picture, not simply a single one. Jude gives us a beautiful gift in these words.

We just have to slow down and take the time to really read them. 

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