So, this is my first entry in my journey to understand (as well as I can) what God has to tell me from the book of Jude. I’m not a pastor, nor do I hold any theological degrees. I don’t read Greek or Hebrew, and I have not been to seminary. So, if you are looking for a definitive understanding of Jude, then I am afraid this may leave you wanting. I will likely make any formally educated people cringe with some of my word choice or examples, but please know that I write from a heart that seeks to glorify God in my words.
As I said the last time I wrote, I feel that God has brought me to this book for a journey into my own past and to better understand how He has allowed some things in my life for the purpose of helping others. I might not be the smartest person when it comes to explaining God’s Word, but I can definitely speak of how God’s Word has worked in me through times in my life where I have dealt with some of the same issues I see Jude has experienced.
The plan is to go through each verse individually to break down observations of the passage and then applications for my own life. My prayer is that I grow and heal, and hopefully share something that can help others do the same. If my applications work for you, great! I’d love to hear them. If something else pops up, I would love to hear that too! Please let me know either in the comments or by e-mail.
First, a little history of Jude: Most likely written by Jude, half-brother of Jesus and full-blooded brother of James. There are a few other possibilities, but none as widely accepted as this.
- Probably written after 2 Peter was written and before the fall of Jerusalem (AD 65-70). Some have placed the time later than that, but again, this is the most commonly accepted time frame.
- There are similarities and common themes between Jude and 2 Peter. 2 Peter gives warnings of false teachers (apostates) who will come and infiltrate the church to lead people astray. Jude tells us that they have arrived and we need to be watching for them and be ready to stand against them.
- Apostates are people who renounce God and His principles. They present themselves as spiritual, but they have no allegiance to God. They work in the body of believers as if they too know Christ. Sometimes they are thought to be a person who has walked away from Christ, but in reality, these people never knew Him. They just learned how to deceitfully follow a script.
“Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved of God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.” – Jude 1
- Jude was humble. – He was not a name dropper in the sense that we are familiar with today. He was half-brother to the Son of God, but he referred to himself as His servant and only claimed his familial link to James (who coincidentally started his letter in much the same way). He was definitely not trying to puff himself up just because He was also Mary’s son.
- Jude knew his audience. – He was writing to fellow Christians. While it might have been written to a specific church, the message applies to all churches past and present. It was written with both a specificity and a generality that would carry past those days to ours.
He also wanted his audience to know that they are loved by God and kept for Jesus. These were tumultuous times in the early church. Persecution was rampant from both Rome and the Jews. There must have been many who were living in fear and were turning to the church for help and encouragement. Jude wanted to reassure them that God had not forgotten them. He was still there!
Application for me:
- Talking too much
- Not listening to others as they share their stories
- Looking for advantages in my relationships
- Demanding to be right or heard
- Selfish behavior
- Attention seeking behavior
- Tearing people down behind their back
- Making sure people know about my sacrifices – real as well as perceived
- Name dropping or claiming affiliations I may not have a solid right to claim
- How about false humility (Ouch)
Any of these sound familiar? I would imagine it is a list that many of us can unfortunately claim at one time or another in our lives. It’s not a list to be proud of.
Jude chose a path of humility in his greeting where he placed Himself where he belonged – as a servant of Christ. No bells or whistles. No trumpets or fancy robes. Just a guy who serves God with his brother and has a message for other servants .
We are heirs with Christ, and I think sometimes as believers we get a little too proud of that pedigree. We like to get in our circles with other Christians and talk about how blessed we are and how sinful the world is. When we do that, are we really reflecting the attitude of Christ? The Son of God who gave up His heavenly throne to come down here and die in order to give us life? No. Not even close.
How much better would it be if we made a choice to keep it real and see that we are just people loved by God because He is good, not because we are special? We aren’t special in and of ourselves. We are special because of the love of God for us. Let that sink in. It’s pretty contradictory to everything we are fed from society today. It’s not about you.
So, it isn’t about me. It’s about God. It’s about bringing others the message that God has for them. It’s not about me. It is about obeying him when He asks something from me. It’s not about me. It is about getting to know God better so I can see where He is working and join Him there. It’s not about me. It is about reaching out to others to help them know Him more.
I want to live a Relentless Life. I don’t want it so people can look at me and tell me how wonderful I am. While that may feel good, it can’t be the goal. I want to live relentlessly for God because while I can never repay Him for what He has done in my life, I want Him to know I don’t take it for granted. I want Him to be lifted up.
How about you? What areas of pride are alive and well in your life? I mentioned some that I have and sometimes still struggle with, but what is your list like? What steps do you need to take to get your perspective back where it belongs? We need to do it, and we can do it together.