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May 1, 2013

Text:  “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

Our modern society places a great emphasis upon good physical health. Healthful foods are advertised and encouraged, unwholesome foods are berated and discouraged. Health clubs and spas offer memberships, equipment, and instructors to  pound us back into shape and keep us there. Health foods and vitamin supplements have a huge market. There are magazines and books that supply regimens and rigors to help us discipline ourselves to maintain better bodily health.

But what of the health of our souls? Are we as concerned about our spiritual well-being as about the soundness of our material bodies? Do you value your soul which will live eternally? If so, then you should pay strict attention to its fitness for its heavenly home. You should maintain a spiritual regimen and nourishment.

Jude, possibly the brother of Jesus, offers saints some brief remedies for keeping the soul fit. These are good spiritual practices that strengthen and grow the soul, keeping it in the proper fettle to meet the demands of the Christian life and to pass the ordeal of the judgment.

Knowing the proneness of mankind to take a leisurely approach to higher spiritual attain-ment, Jude urges saints to the effort of “building yourselves up in your most holy faith”. It cannot be done for you. So you must do it yourself!  Our college had a shot putter on the track team. “Big Ed”, as he was called, was a large man, and worked hard to maintain bulk and strength. A year or two after he graduated we received word that he was  ill with some strange disease and his powerful legs were wasting away. The doctors were baffled. Later the report came that Big Ed was not in danger. His legs were atrophying because he had ceased his rigorous training.  Without maintaining a spiritual exercise program, one’s soul weakens.

The second exercise for a healthy soul, writes Jude, is “praying”. To the saints in Thessalonica Paul wrote: “Pray without ceasing.”   I Thessalonians 5:17  Make prayer a habit.  Study prayer, and then do it! James encouraged saints, “Pray for one another” James 5:16 Pray for your own needs, but also pray for others. Make a prayer list. Prayer refreshes, uplifts, shows thanksgiving, and builds your relationship with God.

The third exercise says this: “Keep yourselves in the love of God”. God’s love for you is eternal. He will never revoke his love. However, it is true that you can reject his love! In Jesus’ letter to the church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) he reprimands them because they “abandoned” the love they had for him at first. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  When a person disobeys God’s commandments, he shows that he disrespects and hates God. There are no two ways about it. God’s love is still existent, but  your disobedience nullifies your covenant with him. Maintain your love for God.

Last of these four prescriptions is, “Waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The mercy of God is eternal. It is a gift that draws us to God because we sinners need mercy. Mercy is a beacon that invites us to the eternal home. Keep it in your heart.

These are great principles from the Great Physician.

One Comment
  1. Thank you, Randy, These things should be practiced until they are second nature!

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