20-21 But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!
– Jude 1:20-21 (MSG)
On Friday, we focused on the ‘A’ in JENGA; concentrating on ‘A Time To Build’. Doesn’t matter what you do, you can’t run away from the fact that YOU are BUILDING a house. Your life is your home. What is your home built on? What’s your foundation? Is it solid? Can it collapse, crack, and/or crumble? Will it remain during the storms and winds of pain and suffering? You may think that the stories of your home, paint on the walls, trim work inside, etc. are built through your successful accomplishments in life, but you’d be wrong. True accomplishment comes through the strengthening of the walls, solid roof, wind-resistant windows, building on that solid foundation that His Word and the application of that word give us.
In Jude 1:20-21, Jude has come up against some not so nice people that are using the church and not really standing on the message of Christ. After explaining the situation, Jude addresses how we are to build upon the solid foundation we have in salvation through Christ. He protests that we pray in the Holy Spirit – asking the Spirit to intercede and guide our very footsteps and actions. He claims that we should remain in the center of God’s Love – meaning we must consciously remember that we live in His Light. It is possible to step out of that light and still be forgiven and saved by His Grace. Yet it is better to remain in God’s direct light bearing and producing fruit to share with those around you. Accepting mercy and knowing you need mercy are two different things. Remaining in His Light reminds us of the need to stay grounded in Him. Keeping us focused on him with our arms outstretched to Him instead of Him chasing us.
I often use a daily devotional entitled, “New Morning Mercies” written by Paul David Tripp. On Wednesday morning, the first line of the devotional was this, “God is at the center of HIS creation, and when you put yourself there, it only ends in relational brokenness and personal disappointment.” I thought this was a pretty profound statement. Even as Christians, it’s pretty easy to focus on building, creating, growing, etc. instead of just being HIS. Just stopping and allowing HIM to be. To be there in the darkness, be there in your struggles, be there in your joy, be there in your life.
See the stars, the sky, the moon, the plants, the animals, they all know what they are to do. They’ve all been programmed to be what they are and to do what they do…according to HIS creation. But HE chose us to be enlightened, like HIM, in HIS likeness. He designed us knowing we would have to choose to be like the rest of creation. We would have to choose to rely on him, instead of it just automatically happening like the day and night, seasons changing, tides rising and falling, etc. Once your foundation is laid in HIS Word and through HIS salvation, you must continually choose HIM and HIS ways daily to continue building and expanding the house he’s given you.
Truth is, there are going to be times when the storms crack a window, destroy a room, or strip the roof. But as long as that foundation is in place and we continue to focus on HIM, keeping those arms outstretched and focused on HIS Love…HE will not only repair those things – but HE will make them better than they originally were. Solid, shiny, made new through HIS everlasting Love. That devotional went on to point towards Daniel 4:28-37 as further reference. In that passage, even King Nebuchadnezzar, a pretty vile dude, came to see God as the center of the universe and learned to kneel before HIS glory and majesty. Once the foundation is laid, let HIM take over. Keep your heart open to HIM, your mind in tune with HIS, and your arms wide open to receive HIS Love…because it’s time to build HIS Kingdom, here on earth, as it is in Heaven.
On a Side Note:
Kaylee Goodman gave us a great example of what it looks like to continually allow HIM in…what it visually looks like to soak up his WORD one drop at a time. With blue food coloring and a glass of water, she showed us all how time spent praying to HIM and studying HIS WORD can transform us one drop at a time (turning that clear water to a solid blue).
As we reflect on our time at camp, knowing it’s now time to build. May we all use God’s creation as an example, choosing HIM daily to automatically do what the rest of creation does. Know HIM, rely on HIM, revere HIM, depend on HIM. Because if creation does, ” So Will I.”